Well, I fixed my problem.... bought a new ESC K7VTA3 v.8 motherboard with an Athlon XP 2000+ CPU and an NVidia GeForce 2 MX video card. Just booted from Redhat boot diskette, made configuration changes, and booted up just fine. While watching the boot sequence the problem appeared to occur when Linux tried to load the default font. My motherboard had caching of video ram enabled so turning that off might have helped had I tried it.
But, hey... an XP 2000+ is far better than my old AMD K5 500Mhz system any day.
Thanks for the response.