Larry’s Career in the entertainment world began as a DJ at WABB, Mobile’s top 40 station after graduation from Semmes High.
His radio career included his own radio show, The Larry Black Show which aired on 125 radio stations.
His acting career was launched after appearing in ‘Earnest Goes to Camp’ with the part of the camp counselor, Mr. Tipton. This led to more than 40 roles in TV shows, made for TV movies and future films.Some of the films he has appeared in are Ernest Scared Stupid, October Sky, Pure Country 2: The Gift, TV series I'll Fly Away and In the Heat of the Night.
He is the founder of Gabriel Communications, specializing in the production of “Reunion Video’s.” He is the TV producer of Country Family Reunions, and Larry’s Country Diner, (his own show) as well as other Reunion Video’s.
Larry’s Country Diner is a country variety show that may be seen on RFD TV and is recorded as it is performed at Ray Steven’s CabaRay Dinner Theater in Nashville.
Larry is married, has three sons and lives in Nashville, TN, after having traveled to many cities in his DJ career.
The place where it all Began- Semmes High School
“I didn’t grow up in Semmes School like so many of my class mates, but I never felt like an outcast or like I didn’t belong; when my dad became the pastor of the Moffett Road Assemblies of God Church, I was half way through the 11th grade. Normally that would have been rough to come into a new school, but that was not so at Semmes.
All of my high school days I’d tried out for every play that rolled around, but never got a part. At Semmes, I took Mr. Cole’s Speech Class and the Jr. Class was in the middle of rehearsal for their play.
Buddy Porter had the lead in “The Truth the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth.” It was (as I recall) about 2 weeks before the play was to open when Buddy decided he didn’t want to stay in the play. Mr. Cole asked me if I would like the part. It was something I’d always wanted to do and here it was being handed to me, of course, I said yes.
The success of the play was great, it enabled me to show-off in front of the whole school and by the end of the play everyone knew me. This laid the ground work for what was to come.
Mr. Posey, the band director asked me to announce the half-time show at the football game. It was a themed event and scripted. I did and the next day my Algebra teacher, Mr. Gossett, complimented me on the half time show and said “have you ever considered radio and entertainment as a future vocation?” I think he knew from my Algebra Grades that I wasn’t going to be going into mathematics. That statement stuck with me and I became a DJ actor and producer.
And to think it all started with a lead role in the Junior Class play at Semmes High School.
Mr. Cole and Semmes High School, Thank you!
Alumni & Friends of Semmes School, Inc. /aka Semmes Heritage Park is in the process of revising and updating the original Scrapbook of Memories that was published in the fall of 1996, now out of print.
The goal is to have the new book, Semmes Scrapbook of Memories 2019 Legacy for the Future published and ready for sale by December, 2019. Great Christmas Present!
This new book contains stories from the Past of Semmes, those now in the present, and gives a glimpse into the future. Just imagine what you see today, will become tomorrow’s history!
Thank You to those who have been willing to share stories, and donate items making it possible for museum displays and our archives to continue to grow for future generations.
New Members are welcome! Check out our Face book page-Semmes Heritage Park. Just a reminder, we are all volunteers!
This is the new book cover that was created by
Dr. Philippe Oszuscik
Rusty Glover-Teacher-Leader- Senator, Legislator
Rusty (Benjamin Nash Glover III) was born April 17, 1966 in Mobile. He graduated from B.C. Rain High School. He attended Faulkner State Community College and The University of South Alabama earning a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education, M.A. in History and a M. Ed. in Secondary Education.
He is a retired high school teacher, having taught history for twenty five years at Mary G. Montgomery High School located in Semmes.
He has written a book, “A Treasure Chest of Hidden History.” This book was born out of the love of history and the desire to ignite curiosity and a love of history in his students. The book is a collection of, “Fun Facts and Serious Episodes That You May Have Missed In Your American History Class.” The presentation style is unique in that after each entry, credit is given to the source making it possible for the reader to do further research. It truly is a treasure that will peak your interest in history.
Here is just one of those tidbits: The world’s first completely electric streetcar was running the streets of Montgomery in 1886.
Salmond, John A., The Conscience of a lawyer: Clifford J. Durr and American Civil Liberties, 1899-1975. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 1990, p5.
A man of Character committed to promoting family values, education, and freedom for the betterment of all.
The first City of Semmes Park, Semmes Honor Park, is a park to honor all veterans, was founded under the leadership of Mayor Judy Hale. Mayor Hale was the first mayor of the City of Semmes.
The beautiful landscaped Park is located south of Moffett Road at 4100 Wulff Road East, in the heart of Semmes. The park has an Amphitheater that is used for memorial services and other community activities. Comfortable benches provide a peaceful quiet place to sit and reflect upon the great freedoms we enjoy.
American Patriotism has always been an important part of life in Semmes. There are numerous active and retired military that call Semmes home. Mary G. Montgomery High School has an excellent ROTC program.
Listed below is a small representation of the many veterans that have served beginning in the War of 1812.
War of 1812 -Indian Creek War in Florida
Samuel Vickers was born in 1792 and lived in the Lott Road and McCrary Rd. vicinity near Box Road and fought in the Indian Creek War in Florida, and the War of 1812.
American Civil War
Perry W. Allen joined Company 1, 21st Alabama Volunteers and was in the Battle of Corinth and Farmington, the Siege of Fort Morgan. He was taken prisoner and sent to New Orleans for two months when he was transferred to Elmira Prison for 9 months. He was paroled June 15, 1865 returning to Semmes (Albritton Precinct) and marrying Tempy Malinda Pierce on December 7, 1865. He died in Semmes on January 10, 1911 and was buried in his Confederate Gray to honor his old comrades in Allentown Cemetery.
World War I
Harry Felton Poole
John A. Lowery (Killed in Action)
Dr. Leonard T. Lane-Army Medical Corp.
Dual R. Tanner
World War II
Pollard Family -Five Sons
Air Force- James (Jack) Pollard
Army- Posey (Pete)
Navy-Hiram Pollard, Edward Pollard, Thad Pollard
Dodd Family-Five Sons
Air Force-Steve Dodd
Army- Bill Dodd, John Dodd
Scrapbook of Memories, 1996
Betsy Dodd-Dodd Family Nursery History
Tom Dodd Jr. May 4, 1915-May 7, 2009
Tom Dodd Jr. is known worldwide for his many contributions to the Nursery Industry. He developed new propagation methods and introduced new plants into the trade. Many of the plants commonly used in southern landscapes originated through the careful research and development by Tom.
He was especially fond of plants that were native to the southeast. However, Tom took many trips all over the world to other climates similar to the southeast in order to introduce something special to the industry. Many times the research plants would end up in the homes of friends, pastors or coaches homes all around the region.
A trip to Auburn University will reveal hundreds, if not thousands of plants all around the campus given to them by Tom Dodd Nurseries. Over the years the nursery generously donated countless plants to universities, schools, churches and gardens all over the United States. A great legacy of Tom Dodd Nursery is all the beautiful plants that were grown in Semmes and donated or sold far and wide.
Numerous honors have been bestowed on Tom Dodd, Jr. Among these are the Jackson Dawson Medal from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, the Garden Club of America Medal of Honor, He was an Honorary Fellow of Mobile College, Received the D. Todd Gresham Award of the American Magnolia Society, and is in the American Nurserymen Hall of Fame.
He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Auburn University. During World War II five of his brothers were serving in the military and he was needed at home to work on the family nursery.
Another interesting story about his college education concerns that his first year of college was at Spring Hill College. Money was short, but the family being farmers had made plenty of cane syrup so he asked could he trade buckets of syrup for his tuition and so he did.
Tom Dodd nursery has been operated by four generations of the Dodd family until it was sold in 2004 to Jack/John Williams who kept the family name.
Elizabeth Betsy Dodd- Daughter,
Auburn University College of Agriculture Directory
Floating around in 1966 Raymond Byrd, a 1959 Semmes High School Graduate experiences weightless flight in a Zero-G flight, a parabolic flight experiment.
In 1961 the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy announced the goal to be the first nation to land a man on the moon and bring him safely home. The Space Race was on. Much research and development had to take place to accomplish this goal.
The Naval Aerospace Medical Institute (NAMI) in Pensacola Florida was doing research under the direction of Dr. Ashton Graybiel. Studies on the effects of weightlessness and acceleration on human balance, spatial orientation, physiology and performance helped prepare America's astronauts for manned space flights.
Raymond became a research team member under the team leader of Dr. Earl F. Miller II, Team leader of the Physiological Optics Branch, in 1966 through 1972 participating with parabolic flight experiments to create short periods of weightlessness.
Apollo 11 Astronauts, and many others; Such as Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin and Michael Collins participated in these research projects in Pensacola prior to spaceflight.
Semmes School Red Brick Building
In 1938, the red brick building which stood in front of the 1917 Stucco building was erected. The elementary grades moved into the brick building, and the high school occupied the stucco building.
Artist -J L Byrd
Semmes First Outdoor Mural was painted as part of the Celebrate of the Semmes All-Class Reunion that was sponsored by the Semmes Boys & Girls Club. The location is 3810 Wulff Rd East, the old Semmes High School building. The Mural depicts scenes from Semmes past. Blake DeWitt is the director of the Boys & Girls Club who now call the old high school home.
Morris Hill School/Crawford Community House
Morris Hill School was located in the Crawford Community on Alabama Highway 42 (Now called Highway US 98).
Changes came about in 1917 when the Mobile Co. Public School System Consolidated Morris Hill School with Semmes School when the new stucco building was built in Semmes.
Prior to the consolidation, in 1916, two of the teachers of Morris Hill, Mrs. Eta Lord, Mrs. Margaret Cogburn and Mrs. H. R. McCrary planned a Thanksgiving Supper for the parents and children of the school.
It was a great success, causing the community to decide once a month to have a community supper. Families of the Community would gather together, bringing large baskets of food to be shared by all at Morris Hill School. A Prayer was offered up prior to the meal.
Becoming a Community Club
In 1920 the community organized themselves into a Community Club. They purchased the grounds and building of Morris Hill School from the Mobile County School Board and named it Crawford Community House. Citizens came together and remodeled the Community House by donating their time for repairs. Money for materials was raised through lawn parties.
The Community Center was the heart of Crawford, providing a place to gather to catch up on the community news, visit with neighbors, food and fun activities, quilting parties; however, dancing was not permitted. Active committees made home visits to the sick. Education programs were presented by the Mobile County Home Demonstration Agent on improving farming and homemaking skills and political discussion took place.
As so many things have gone by the way side, so has The Crawford Community Club. The building was used by a various groups and torn down last year.
Source- Mobile Press Register, Sunday, March 11, 1951. “Crawford Community House to be Repaired, Remodeled”
Semmes Art Guild
The Mary Ward Art Guild is an all-volunteer group that was founded in May, 2011 to promote art, and to provide an opportunity for local artists to come together with like-minded people. Warren Gatwood was the first President, Jennie Bradley Secretary and Jeanette Byrd Treasurer and Activities Coordinator.
The current President is Lori Riley, Vice President- Cynthia Oszuscik ,Secretary -Philippe Oszuscik, Treasure and Activities Coordinator- Jeanette Byrd.
The guild is named to honor Mary Ellen Ward, a teacher who lived in Wilmer beginning her teaching career at Wilmer School and teaching Science, Math and Art at Semmes High School, MGM and Faith Academy.
Mrs. Ward’s love affair of art began in 1948 when she was teaching at Wilmer School and continued throughout her life until her death in 1998. She is remembered for her love, devotion and encouragement to all her students. Often heard in her class, “Never say I can’t, but I’ll try.”
Guild Membership is open to all adults interested in all forms of art. The Monthly meeting takes place on the first Wednesday of the month, 12 o’clock at Semmes Heritage Park. The meeting is a sharing meeting beginning with a covered dish lunch and featured artist demonstration, and the sharing of works of art and projects of attendees. New members are welcome.
The guild has from its conception sponsored a free open studio class for adults at the Semmes Regional Library in the Community Room. The class is the Third Wednesday of the month at 12 noon. The motto of the group is, “if you have always wanted to paint, or just would enjoy painting with a group we have a place for you.”
Please Note! Semmes has a Public Art Gallery, located in the Semmes Regional Library, The Semmesonian, where local artist may exhibit. The volunteer Founding Curator, Mary Rodding, is a local artist.
Preserving our History!