“The first stop on the tour [of the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte] is Bessie, a big Holstein waiting in her stall … to talk about Reverend Graham as a child. Bessie’s head mooves left and right, her lower jaw mooves up and down to approximate speech. She describes young Billy Frank’s cold hands on her udder. She tells us that he practiced preaching to tree stumps and sometimes while milking her….
“Here’s what really floors me: Bessie’s words are definitely spoken by an African American woman.
“Does this choice of voice strike anybody else as weird here in this mighty white shrine, especially given the South’s vexed racial past? The feisty delivery makes it like sound like this actress is enjoying herself — maybe she appreciated the irony or tone-deaf cluelessness of the casting….”
— From “Just As I Am Not: A Poet Visits the Billy Graham Library” by Michael McFee in Southern Cultures (Summer 2010)