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Mississippi


  • Originally published 08/08/2013

    Jesmyn Ward: A Cold Current

    Jesmyn Ward is the author of the novel “Salvage the Bones” and the forthcoming memoir “Men We Reaped.”DeLisle, Miss.There are moments from childhood that attract heat in our memories, some for their sublime brilliance, some for their malignancy. The first time that I was treated differently because of my race is one such memory.As a child of the ’80s, my realization of what it meant to be black in Mississippi was nothing like my grandmother’s in the ’30s. For her it was deadly; it meant that her grandfather was shot to death in the woods near his house, by a gang of white patrollers looking for illegal liquor stills. None of the men who killed her grandfather were ever held accountable for the crime. Being black in Mississippi meant that, when she and her siblings drove through a Klan area, they had to hide in the back of the car, blankets thrown over them to cover their dark skin, their dark hair, while their father, who looked white, drove.Of course, my introduction to racism wasn’t nearly as difficult as my mother’s, either. She found that being black in Mississippi in the late ’50s meant that she was one of a few who integrated her local elementary school, where the teachers, administrators and bus drivers, she said, either ignored the new black students or spoke to them like dogs....

  • Originally published 06/13/2013

    Martha Bergmark: Remembering Medgar Evers

    Martha Bergmark is founding president and CEO of the Mississippi Center for Justice, a nonprofit public interest law firm committed to advancing racial and economic justice.On this day, 50 years ago, I was a white teenager in Jackson, Mississippi, absorbed most of the time with the typical concerns of childhood. But I vividly remember 12 June 1963, because that night my family and I heard the news that Medgar Evers, a well-known civil rights leader in our state, had been shot and killed in the driveway of his home, just a few miles from where we lived.

  • Originally published 06/04/2013

    Civil rights museum planned in Miss.

    Mississippi is hoping to make history again — this time with the nation's first state-sponsored civil rights museum.This fall, officials will break ground on the civil rights museum and the companion Museum of Mississippi History in hopes of having both ready in time to celebrate the state's bicentennial in 2017.There's one catch — $30 million is needed to finish the inside of the buildings, which share a common area.Under the law, the state has agreed to a 50-50 split between state and private funding for 50,000 square feet of exhibits for the museums. Archives officials estimated the acquisition and creation of the exhibits at $14-$16 million....

  • Originally published 05/07/2013

    Letters from Civil War donated to Ole Miss

    Richard Bridges seemed like a typical college kid in his letters home: He tells his family he may need more money and definitely more clothes, talks about hanging out with old friends from home and sounds a little homesick at times.Through his letters, this one-time University of Mississippi student has returned to the Oxford campus 150 years later.Mike Martin of Madison, his sister Pat Owen of Rankin County and two of their cousins in Memphis — Bridges’ great-great nephews and nieces — recently donated to the university the 27 letters that Bridges wrote when he served in the University Greys, the unit organized by students to fight in the Civil War....

  • Originally published 04/01/2013

    In Mississippi, a gray area between black and white

    CLEVELAND, Miss.—The Illinois Central railroad tracks that once separated residents, white from black, have been torn out to make way for a landscaped promenade.Cleveland's largest high school, founded in 1906 exclusively for the children of white residents, now has nearly equal numbers of black and white students.But nearly a half century after a federal judge ordered Cleveland to begin school desegregation, government attorneys have returned to court to argue the district must, once and for all, "fully dismantle its racially identifiable one-race schools," in a legal battle that is again dividing the town.Public schools east of the former railroad tracks are still virtually 100% black. Schools west of the former racial divide remain predominantly white....

  • Originally published 02/22/2013

    13th Amendment ratified in MS!

    Mississippi lawmakers have officially ratified the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which banned slavery in 1865.One hundred forty-eight years after three-fourths of the states voted to approve the amendment, Mississippi's legislature finally took steps to fix the glaring oversight last month. According to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, the decision was inspired by the Oscar-nominated film "Lincoln," which depicts the 16th president's efforts to enact the amendment.

  • Originally published 02/11/2013

    Confederate flag mistakenly raised over Mississippi Supreme Court building

    The Confederate flag was mistakenly raised for a few hours over the Mississippi Supreme Court in Jackson on Friday.A replacement was needed a Mississippi state flag that was tattered and torn, Kym Wiggins, public information officer for the state Department of Fiance and Administration told the Clarion-Ledger.Calling the incident, "highly unusual," Wiggins explained to the paper that a local vendor was tasked with the job of purchasing new state flags to replace the one that was torn. Wiggins claims they were given two boxes labeled "Mississippi State Flag," but the boxes actually contained Confederate battle flags. After a maintenance worker raised the flag, the mistake went unnoticed for a couple of hours....

  • Originally published 02/08/2013

    Who Killed Emmett Till?

    Emmett Till was one of the 3,446 black men lynched in the United States between 1882 and 1968, but his story is not just one more statistic. How the death of a boy from Chicago galvanized the civil rights movement and changed the world.