Uncle Pete Gombault

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Uncle Pete Gombault
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Gombault, Uncle Pete
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Called "Mulberry" as well as "Uncle Pete," Gombault is "a lean clean tobacco-chewing old man" who was enslaved before the Civil War, and became a U.S. "marshal" during Reconstruction (190-91). A salesman of illegal whiskey before, during and after that appointment, as late as 1925 he was still "fire-maker, sweeper, janitor and furnace-attendant to five or six lawyers and doctors and one of the banks" (191-192). He is contemptuous of the various Federal agencies with abbreviated names that came into being in the 1930's, calling them "XYZ and etc. . . ." (190). The title "Uncle" is a reflection of his status as a black man in a white supremacist culture. The nickname "Mulberry" derives from his unofficial job as a bootlegger, and his life-long practice of hiding the illicit whiskey that he sold "beneath the roots of a big mulberry tree" (191).