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,