Monday, January 19, 2009

Mississippi 1964

In the summer of 1964, three young men - James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, were murdered while organizing for black voting rights in Mississippi. Chaney was black; Goodman and Schwerner were white...

***We moved from New Orleans to Mississippi during a very turbulent time. The very fabric of what was my home life was coming apart at the seams. Our country was too. Looking back on this time period in my life, and with thoughts of the inauguration of our new president at hand, and the celebration of Martin Luther King day,I have mixed emotions, thoughts, and memories, that somehow all mesh together.

South Mississippi was so different from New Orleans. In New Orleans my neighborhood of friends consisted of Chinese, Spanish, Mexican, French and Arcadians (better known as Cajuns). Although the schools were quite segregated, African Americans were a large part of the culture. I was quite used to being around people and friends of "color".

Fast forward to Mississippi 1964...well everyone looked just like me, at least in my NEW neighborhood. I was quite unaware up until this time that prejudices existed to the degree that they did.

I began to connect the dots. I rode buses alot in New Orleans, and in my childlike mind, I just thought black folk just like to sit in the back of the bus, I did not know they were MADE to sit there. I also went to the movies on Saturday afternoons and again wondered why just the black people "got to" sit in the balcony. Here I was, a little white girl, wishing she could sit way up high in the balcony, and these black folks were required to, if they wanted to see a movie.

Mississippi has been my home now for the better part of 45 years. I love it here and don't think I would live anywhere else. But there are parts of our history here that cause me great shame. No need to talk about it or dwell on it. History books will tell you all you need to know.

Strange world in which we live in. I'm happy things are changing here in Mississippi, we've always been just a little slow catching on, but thankfully even that is changing.

CHANGE...I guess that cliche' by now.

***Speaking of dreams..."I have a dream" too. That someday we could have a "Color Celebration Day"! Let's celebrate all the wonderful colors of man that God made. Red men, Yellow men, Black men, Brown men and White men...all precious in God's sight. I think that would even make Dr. King proud!

****Go out and hug somebody that don't look like you today!

Blessings of peace & all that is good,


Robbin with 2 B's! said...

I too have memories like that. My thoughts and prayers are with you today my friend. Much love!

Polly & Steve said...

Wonderful thoughts MeeMaw. I am like you I was raised in IL-IN from 4 til 16 with a period of 2 years in the middle in AL. When you don't know what is going on you wonder why all the fuss. I had friend from everywhere,(and still do) People from Mexico, China, African American's, Indian, and I just didn't know what the big deal was, I liked them all, they were my friends and we had wonderful times playing together. The song Jesus Loves me is the greatest, Red and Yellow, Black and White they are precious in His sight, Jesus Loves the little children of the world. If Jesus can loves us so much to give His life for us, can't we just love one another....? Treat everyone as y ou want to be treated... I am dribbling on you blog...sorry, I have missed talking to you.
Hugs and lots of Love.
Polly and Steve

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

i was in baltimore in 1964 and remember those riots...

smiles, bee

Kanani said...

I think it was 1966 or --I remember my Dad pulling into a parking lot to ask a question and getting tossed out. He told my Dad he had killed people "like you" in WWII and to GET OUT. I guess he mistook him for Japanese, what the ridiculous cretin didn't know was that my Dad had been a Sargent in the US Army. There was also a time we didn't get served in a Doggie's Diner (no lie-- and maybe we were lucky not to get any food in place called that!).

Still, I always say a person can stand behind the fence of racism or just scale over it, give it a good kick, and keep going on. History was history, and we learn from it but shouldn't be ashamed of any of it. It happened, now go on to craft a good world --make sure it doesn't happen again.

As for Obama --I recognize the significance and his term isn't going to be measured by race, it'll be done so by how well he does, and how well he listens.

Jenny said...

Well, I don't really remember the first time I experienced racism because you and Dad never were racist. However, I do remember when we moved to Laurel that all the children at school only played with people of their own race...I for the life of me don't understand Jesus was a deep deep brown...a jew...a race that was so hated by Hitler that he tried to kill every single one. It makes me so sad...However, there is a day coming where there is neither black or white...

PS Does it count if I hug Juan? ha ha just kidding...btw I hug lots and lots of people of different races each week. I would guess about 40-50...but they are all under the age of 13...;0)

Maxine said...

What a touching post for MLK day! I wish I could have read it then. As a black person, this truly touched my heart. Thanks, sister.