Caussey's Corner

Are You The Preacher Man? The Adventures of a Bible Salesman

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In the summer of 1966, I had just finished my freshman year at Abilene Christian University. I was barely hanging on academically.

This was an era before government loans or easy access to scholarships or financial aid. I took 15 hours each semester, while working 25 hours a week in construction. Mostly laying bricks.

A friend told me about a company named The Southwester Company that hired salesmen to sell Bibles door to door throughout the U.S. during the summer.

The company hired and trained me in Nashville, Tennessee. We studied and trained at the Andrew Jackson Hotel for a period of time before receiving information about what part of the country we would sell. I went to Auburn, Alabama.

I had a small suitcase and my black box (case) that carried a sample of the Bibles to be sold. When I got off the bus at the station in Auburn, two deputy sheriffs questioned me. They threatened to arrest me for coming to their city to start trouble. They accused me of being from New York City and coming south to stir up trouble.

Finally, after listening to my Texas accent and noticing my country ways, they decided to let me go with a warning, “We are going to keep our eye on you, boy.”

I rented a small room at the men’s dorm at Auburn University. After buying a small, bright blue, girl’s bicycle for $10, I launched my selling career.

Are You The Preacher Man? The Adventures of a Bible Salesman


I peddled the streets of Auburn without much success, always being shadowed by the local police.

So I took my selling on the road, to the rural villages and hamlets around Auburn.

Some folks refused to open the doors because they were afraid of my black box.

“You sure you don’t have a bomb in that box?” asked an elderly lady through her front door.

One late afternoon, along a narrow, dusty road south of Auburn, several large men stepped out of the woods onto the road, blocking my way. I was terrified.

“Are you the Preacher Man?” asked the largest of the group.

“No, Sir,” I responded, “I just sell Bibles.”

“Can you read?” asked another.

“Yes, Sir!”

“Then you need to come with us. Leave your bike here. No one will bother it. Bring your black box.”

We stepped onto a trail, leading into a forest of trees and large plum thickets. We walked for about an hour. Suddenly, a large clearing appeared in front of us. There were about a dozen shot-gun houses surrounding a larger building with a sign, burned in wood over the entrance door. It read Emmanuel Baptist Church in Christ.

Large cotton fields could be seen just beyond the clearing, extending into the distance. A well with a hand pump was located near the center of the clearing. Each small house had a nearby garden and outhouse.

A large crowd stood out in front of one of the small houses. As I was led toward the house a small, older man approached me. He took off his hat and asked, “Are you the Preacher Man?”

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