We moved to Mississippi when I was three. I’ve grown up here and it’s the home I know best. My heart has always been drawn back to Belize, though, where I was born. The jungle, the water, the people, and oh my goodness, the food. I’ve only been back twice, but I’ve missed it every year. I never imagined myself actually staying in Mississippi for the rest of my life when there are so many other places in this great big world I could go. However, plans change and my signed scholarship requires me to be here for another - one, two, three… - ten years. Subconsciously, I’ve found myself growing very fond of Mississippi. The evening runs to Kroger, the walks downtown, the delicious Cups coffee shops, the Art museum…all of it.
So when I watched The Help the other night with my husband, my eyes and ears perked up when Jackson entered the picture. WLBT. Woodrow Wilson Drive. and Medgar Evers. Wait, I knew he was an important figure in Jackson’s history, but I was curious to know the whole story behind his murder. So I go to Wikipedia and read his page. I know Wikipedia is not to be cited in universities (etc, etc), but it definitely provided me insight into this brave man and his work in the Civil Rights Movement. I am proud to know his story. And proud to be from his state. Evers story provided me links to other civil rights figures like James Meredith. What a legacy he has. I would very much like to meet Mr. Meredith and thank him for his stand and perseverance. Maybe I’ll run into him someday…
This small research I did also lead me to a page I did not appreciate: Ross Barnett. After reading about how he was so adamantly racist, rude, and cruel, I cannot see how he could have been governor of our state. And secondly, how can we have a huge tourist attraction, The Ross Barnett Reservoir, named after a man as terrible as him? I’m sorry, people, I don’t care that he was the governor of Mississippi when the Reservoir construction began. He was not worthy to have anything in this fine state named after him.
When I visit the Reservoir again, I know my silence will be in remembrance of the brave people who suffered and lost their lives in Mississippi fighting for their rights.
They give me a reason to be proud of this state I call home.