Falwell’s father was a dogfighter

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2007:
LYNCHBURG, Virginia–Obituaries for
televangelist Jerry Falwell, who died on May 15,
2007 in Lynchburg, Virg-inia, not far from
where the Michael Vick dogfighting case was
breaking, skipped lightly over at least two
aspects of his early life.
Little mentioned was Falwell’s role as an
ardent segregationist from his debut on WBRG
radio in June 1956 until several years after the
Congress On Racial Equality tried to integrate
his church in 1964.
Not mentioned at all was that Falwell’s
father, Carey H. Falwell, a key figure in many
of his sermons, was at least twice convicted of
hosting high-stakes dogfights, at a time when
dogfighting, cockfighting, and pigeon shoots
were among the fundraising mainstays of the Ku
Klux Klan.

Falwell often mentioned his father–but not the dogfights.
“Carey Falwell was a flamboyant
entrepreneur who opened his first grocery store
when he was 22,” summarized Peter Applebome of
The New York Times. “He was soon operating 17
service stations, many with little restaurants
and stores attached. He built oil storage tanks,
owned an oil company, and in 1927 began American
Bus LinesŠLater, he turned to bootlegging
liquor, among other enterprises. His best-known
business was the Merry Garden Dance Hall and
Dining Room, which became the center of
Virginia’s swing society.
“Carey Falwell had no use for religion,”
Applebone continued. “He was left shaken forever
by an episode in which he shot his brother to
death. He became a heavy drinker and died of
liver disease at the age of 55,” but Jerry
Falwell claimed to have achieved a deathbed
The National Humane Review, published
1913-1976 by the American Humane Association,
reported in July 1938 that “Carey H. Falwell,
proprietor of the Merry Garden Night Club in
Lynchburg, Virginia,” was convicted of hosting
dogfights on February 6 and May 2, 1938.
Carey Falwell was also fined $100 for
having a gaming table at the May 2 dog fight. A
30-day jail sentence was suspended.
Testified Carey Falwell on the witness
stand, “I like dogfights. I would go to one
tonight if they were going to have one.”
The dogfights on Falwell property
involved participants from as far away as
Texarkana, Texas.

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