After Killen: What's Next For Mississippi? | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

After Killen: What's Next For Mississippi?

(Unabridged version)

See Kate Medley's full photo gallery of the JFP's coverage of the Edgar Ray Killen trial from start to finish.

PHILADELPHIA, MISS.—Rita Schwerner Bender traveled back to Mississippi last week in search of justice for the murder of her first husband, Michael, who was brutally murdered by Klansmen in Neshoba County on Father's Day 1964 for working with his wife and other activists here to register Mississippi blacks to vote. Justice, of a fashion, came Tuesday, June 21, when the mixed-race jury returned guilty manslaughter verdicts 41 years to the day after the three men were murdered on Road 515 south of Philadelphia.

The Schwerners, fresh out of college in New York, came to Meridian in January 1964 to help Mississippi blacks help themselves in a state with the worst and most entrenched Jim Crow segregation laws in the nation. They met a wall of resistance bolstered by a strong coalition of Ku Klux Klansmen, law enforcement, everyday people and the business establishment.

The two young idealists—he was 24; she was 22—also urged local blacks to take on a governmental system that kept segregation in place with voting poll questions like "How many bubbles are in a bar of soap?" standing between them and equality. The Schwerners were two people at the heart of a non-violent movement that ultimately believed in the good in people—including in a state where segregation was the most legally and socially entrenched.

But, despite the delay in justice for her husband, Bender used her time in Mississippi for this trial, which began June 13, to try to tell the world that there were "many, many acts of violence" here during the Civil Rights Movement that need to be faced. "This case is not the only one, and it's not the most important one," she said on Day 3, standing in front of the Neshoba County Courthouse under a magnolia tree.

'A Model Program'

"We came to Mississippi to work in the Civil Rights Movement, to work at establishing a community center in Meridian," Bender testified on Day 3, June 15. She was the prosecution's first witness in its case against Edgar Ray "Preacher" Killen for planning the murder of her husband, along with James "J.E." Chaney and Andrew Goodman, by Klansmen on June 21, 1964.

The community center was a place for young blacks, where they could hang out, play ping-pong, read. "There were thousands of books," Bender told the jury. Her husband and his new friend, black Meridian native J.E. Chaney, built the bookshelves themselves. They hosted a children's story hour, "a precursor to Headstart, a model program." They had hoped to start the next community center—or "Freedom School"—in Neshoba County, both to help children who were segregated into substandard schools and to help adults get ready to tackle the arduous—and unfair—literacy tests that stood between them and their right to vote.

But such a noble-sounding goal was a threat to too many Mississippians' "way of life"—which meant segregated and separate-but-unequal facilities and schools, as well as complete power over the political system. And white Mississippians weren't about to give up so easily. Angry men and women called the community center continually to taunt and threaten and cuss at the workers, to accuse them of being "communists," to make clear their sentiments about "Goatee," as Schwerner was called by whites here because of his "radical" facial hair. Bender remembers vicious phone calls, with voices telling her that her husband was dead, or soon would be.

The Schwerners had to keep moving, staying with black families who were threatened for helping them, renting homes from black owners every few months. For a while, they stayed in black businessman Charles Young's Meridian hotel—but had to go in and out the back entrance because they were white.

The threats soon proved to be real. The Klan—according to testimony by former members—would organize in Meridian and Philadelphia in response to the Schwerners' work. Using a license plate number and other information disseminated to law enforcement by a state agency, the Klan would carry out a detailed plan to execute Schwerner and his friends, bury them, dispose of their car and then cover up the scheme.

Bender, who was in Oxford, Ohio, for a nonviolence workshop when the three men came up missing, heard that the burned-out car was found three days later while waiting in the Cincinnati airport to get back to Mississippi to help look for her husband. She had run into Mississippi civil rights matriarch Fannie Lou Hamer in the airport, and they were talking when someone found Bender to tell her the car had turned up in the Bogue Chitto swamp. She knew then that they were dead, Bender testified. She and Hamer embraced and started crying. "Our tears mingled," she said. The bodies, however, were not found for 44 days, buried under an earthen dam outside Philadelphia.

'Patriotic and Christian'

The conspiracy to kill the three men, informants testified in 1967 and again this week, was planned by Preacher Edgar Ray Killen. Then 39 and in vibrant health, Killen was a loquacious Neshoba County personality, as well as a known Klansman in his younger years, known for intermingling his faith in God with the practical goal of maintaining white supremacy.

"Preacher Killen told me this was a very patriotic and Christian organization," now-deceased conspirator James Jordan told a 1967 court convened by the federal government to bring civil-rights charges against 19 conspirators. Seven of the conspirators, including Jordan (who pled guilty in exchange for testimony), served time in federal prison; however, Killen walked free thanks to one juror who later said she "could not convict a preacher." A portion of Jordan's testimony was read into the record in this trial.

Informants like Jordan who were recruited into the Klan by Killen, a "kleagle" (meaning "organizer" in Klanspeak), made it clear that preventing school integration—and thus race intermingling and, ultimately, understanding and mutual respect—was at the heart of the Klan's goals then. "We were opposed to integration. We were opposed to the coloreds going to white schools," he said.

Cross burnings, beatings and "elimination" were ways they used race terrorism to prevent such societal integration, much as the organization first used sheets to scare blacks out of exercising their new right to vote during Reconstruction. An early goal of the Ku Klux Klan, started by Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest in 1865, was to terrorize blacks into thinking that "ghosts"—the first "night riders"—would haunt them if they tried to exercise the rights they gained after the Civil War.

Jordan's testimony laid the foundation for what happened on the evening of June 21, 1964. Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman—on his first full day in Mississippi—drove to Neshoba County from Meridian that Sunday to look at the remains of the Mount Zion Church in the Longdale community. Neshoba and Lauderdale County Klan members had burned the church and beaten the parishioners on the evening of June 16 because they heard they had been talking to "Goatee." Testimony in 1967 also indicated that they hoped to lure Schwerner to Neshoba County in order to ambush him there.

That plan worked. After they left the church June 21, Deputy Sheriff Cecil Price pulled the men over for speeding and then put them in jail. While they were there, and not allowed a phone call, Jordan's and other testimony indicated that Preacher Killen gathered some two dozen men in Meridian and Philadelphia to help put his plan into motion. According to testimony, he ordered Jordan to get rubber gloves for the men, told everyone where to meet and when, and then left the conspirators in order to establish his alibi by paying respects to Alex Rich at McLain-Hayes Funeral Home. (A funeral home register book in the possession of former Neshoba Democrat editor Stanley Dearman showed he also signed the register as "Rev. Edgar Ray Killen" that night in the next parlor over. He stopped into visit the family of a little girl in the next parlor, whom father members said Killen was not close to—perhaps to solidify his alibi.)

The afternoon of June 21, Jordan said, Killen had told the men that the three civil rights workers were waiting in the Neshoba County Jail and that he needed "some men to tear their rear ends up." But when the mob arrived in Philadelphia, they would learn that bulldozer operator Herman Tucker had a fresh grave waiting for the men on the property of businessman Olen Burrage near the Neshoba County Fairground. Their bodies would be interred there until informer and highway patrolman Maynard King, now deceased as well, led the FBI there 44 days after they were killed—on Aug. 4, 1964.

Because They Were White

The petite-but-powerful Bender—now a regal, white-haired Seattle attorney, remarried with two grown children—made it clear 41 years after her first husband's death that she did not come to Mississippi to talk about her feelings and to use emotion to elicit easy sympathy from a jury. In fact, she steadfastly refused to answer any question from media that started, "How do you feel?"

Bender came back, instead, to watch a Mississippi jury—with nine whites and three blacks—convict a conspirator for the first time of a State criminal charge in the case that made a nation pay attention to race brutality in the South. But standing in front of the courthouse, Bender emphasized that none of us are in Neshoba County this week due to the fact that James Chaney, a native Mississippian and a black man, had been killed.

"You're here, you're interested in this trial as the most important trial in the Civil Rights Movement because two of the men were white," Bender told the media. "You're still doing what was done in 1964."

Regardless of the outcome, Bender's message throughout her visit to Neshoba County was that this case, while important, is not enough. "The discussion about racism in this country has to continue," Bender said. "If this is a way to do that, then this trial has meaning."

'This Could Be the End'

Sitting in the Coffee Bean across from the courthouse later that day, James Chaney's younger brother, now 52, echoed Bender's sentiments. Ben Chaney—who was only 11 when his brother was killed, with TV images of him tearfully singing "We Shall Overcome" seared into many Americans' consciousness—has been critical of this case, primarily because the state is only prosecuting one man, instead of the seven conspirators who are still alive. He calls the case "incomplete."

"It's good they went after Killen," he said in a lengthy interview. "But I'm afraid this could be the end. … [The trial] gives the community a chance to exonerate their guilt, but it can also bring another level of distortion."

He believes the state is focusing on Killen because "he is so unrepentant" and because the Klan is now such a lightning rod, even among people who used to defend them. "People hate the Klan because it represents the worst of the community."

But, like Bender, Chaney does not want to see too much focus on the Klan. That would obfuscate the reality of what was going on in Mississippi on every level of white society, from the governor's mansion to the Citizens Council, the Sovereignty Commission to white Mississippians who wouldn't speak up against race hatred and violence.

"In the '60s, good people did nothing," Chaney said.

To truly move forward and away from the past that many Mississippians still prefer not to talk about, Chaney said, we must do what makes us uncomfortable: face the truth. And that truth can hurt—it means that simply blaming a few rednecks in the Klan for Mississippi's ugly race history is inaccurate and, indeed, "incomplete," as Chaney calls it. It also means not learning the lessons that can keep history from repeating itself—as it did in Jasper, Texas, when young white men dragged a black man behind their pickup until his head detached in 1998, or in Laramie, Wyo., the same year when young homephobes left Matthew Shepard tied to a fence to die.

Chaney talks about continuing race discrimination and economic oppression, as well as homophobia, when he warns that a less-than-complete accounting for the past will not bring change. Through the James Chaney Institute for Human Rights, which is about to open an office in Meridian, Miss., he works with young people to train new leaders and help open their eyes to accurate history, he says. "That's my job—to make sure history doesn't repeat itself."

The transplanted Mississippian—who moved with his mother, Fannie Lee Chaney, to New York City after his brother's death—said black Mississippians still suffer under the pain and legacy of lynchings. The race terrorism wasn't simply brutality by a handful of violent people; it served as a strong deterrent to keep them from economic and political equality, and helped instill the economic inequalities that still exist today. He points to the recent anti-lynching resolution in the U.S. Senate—and Trent Lott and Thad Cochran's absence from the signature list—as evidence that many white Mississippians still don't get it, or won't admit it if they do.

"They blew it," Chaney said of Lott and Cochran. "They have a responsibility; they dropped the ball. They're still defending those acts."

'The Toughest State'

"You can cut years off the fight throughout the South by concentrating on Mississippi and showing how there can be progress in the toughest state," Michael Schwerner said in April 1964. The quote was handwritten on a poster tacked to a tree at a Memorial Service to the three last Sunday at the Longdale Community Center east of Philadelphia.

"It's good that Killen is being prosecuted," said civil rights veteran Diane Nash, who helped lead the early Nashville lunch counter sit-in in 1960 as a founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. "But what about the others? What about the eight men found when the FBI was looking for their bodies. … Mississippi is protecting racist white men and needs to stop."

What is difficult for—or simply unknown to—many state residents is that Mississippi was the worst offender by nearly any standard. We had more reported lynchings. We came out of Reconstruction with horrendous "Black Codes" designed to yank away any rights blacks had won after the Civil War. Jim Crow laws were not to be bent even by critics, and the law was there to enforce them.

Then there was the implicit and explicit agreement by every level of government and society to keep blacks stratified into a separate-but-unequal status. Blacks could vote—technically—but were harassed away from the polls, or beaten or killed or cut off from their welfare checks when they tried. Or they were asked how many bubbles in that bar of soap. They were taxed, but couldn't vote.

African American taxes even helped pay for a state spy agency to ensure that they would never demand their rights under the U.S. Constitution. The state Sovereignty Commission—established by the Legislature in 1957 to counteract the "threat" of school desegregation—was supported by taxpayer money until 1973, as well as financing from members of the white Citizens Council. That group was known as the "uptown Klan," as newspaperman Hodding Carter Jr. called the group of business leaders that boycotted his business, and many others, in the 1960s for his support of civil rights.

Sovereignty Commission files (now available online) show that state investigators tracked the civil rights activities of the Schwerners and provided their license number to police officers and sheriffs (and, thus, the Klan, which was "riddled" with law enforcement, as Bender put it). "Investigators" did everything possible to discredit the movement and, perhaps most alarming, stirred up race hatred around the state. The file contains letters from prominent businesspeople, most Citizens Council members, who donated money to the effort.

In myriad ways, the state government fed directly into the violence that occurred on Road 515 as well as other civil rights violence.

Bender said on Day 3 that truth should start with acknowledging that the state of Mississippi itself was a conspirator in her husband's murder. "There needs to be a discussion about how the government of Mississippi created this atmosphere where violence was permitted and, to a great extent, encouraged," she said, adding, "The state has to acknowledge its responsibility."

A 'Peaceful' Klan?

But even as public sentiment now rejects the Klan and its more notorious figures, acknowledgement of just how bad the state was on "the race question" and the complicity of white citizens—including loved ones and role models—is an extremely arduous task.

A common, and easy, response to race-dialogue efforts today in Mississippi is that there is racism everywhere, so why should Mississippians keep apologizing, or be constantly under the microscope. Killen defense attorney James McIntyre used this argument during closing arguments this week. "The state of Mississippi needs to go forward, not backward," he said, adding, "This has done nothing but agitate all the citizens."

But truth can be, and often must be, agitating. Thus, it can be easier to live in denial and hurl "opening old wounds" excuses rather than face the past. This week, former Philadelphia Mayor Harlan Majure, taking the stand in defense of Killen, made headlines when he told the court that he remembered the Klan being "peaceful" and doing good deeds. This was particularly galling to many because the Klan tends to pop up as the more vitriolic—if not outright violent—response to strides toward race equality by blacks, as well as Jews and other groups, now including homosexuals.

It's hard for a student of Mississippi, or American, history to buy the "peaceful" label for the Klan, but it's easy when you grow up amid uncomfortable silence on such issues—perhaps not learning until you're 14 that a very famous murder case happened in your hometown when you were 3. You might be told that the extremists (or "communists" or "outside agitators" or, these days, "liberals") overblow the rhetoric. You hear that Forrest, a military hero, started the Klan for pure, Christian reasons. It was a gift to scared blacks who preferred being separate then and later during the 1960s. Or, as Killen and others have told the media over the years, those young men came down "looking for trouble" and "got themselves killed."

You don't know what you don't know. At least until you become more educated.

That's what happened to Deborah Posey, 50, a white nurse on the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indian Reservation. Posey grew up in Philadelphia amid the de facto code of silence just like everyone else did. She had never been an activist, and her family didn't really talk about race issues very much. But one day last year she saw a story in the Neshoba Democrat about a group of local people coming together for "redemption and reconciliation."

"Those were words that resonated with me," Posey said, sitting in the back row of the courtroom after closing arguments and the case went to the jury. "But it didn't feel like people in the city wanted to deal with it."

The nurse joined the Philadelphia Coalition, a multi-racial group that called for prosecutions in this case, and her personal education began. She started understanding the hollowness of the rhetoric used by attorney McIntyre in his closing statement. "Old wounds, old wounds, old wounds," the nurse said. "A wound can look healed and not truly be healed … eventually you have to open it up and let it be drained."

'I Believe in Prayer'

Posey is quick with her reason now for joining this effort to bring better racial understanding to Neshoba County. "I believe in prayer, and I've been praying for a long time for my city. I want to see my city heal and go forward." She is adamant that it can only do that once the past is squarely faced.

Education is absolutely essential, Posey said—including about the hard stuff that might even agitate people a little at first. "I've met people I did not know," she said of her involvement with the coalition, which has drawn blacks, whites and Choctaws on all economic levels. It has also drawn ire from civil rights veterans like Diane Nash who say that descendants of racists are now trying to "profit" off civil rights history, and aren't willing to be completely honest about the past.

Posey, though, said she now wants to hear the truth, all of it, from the large to the small stories that helped her understand that other people have different perspectives. She recalls learning from a Choctaw friend in her 40s that as a little girl, she thought that a "white only" sign in a local store meant she could only order white, or vanilla, ice cream. It was a small story, but one that shows how a third race can easily get left out of the attempts for understanding.

"You need to walk in someone else's shoes to know how somebody else feels," Posey said, adding that facing fears and shame isn't easy. She advises other Mississippians: "Face those fears; I've had to face mine."

Posey is quick to say that this effort must not end with Killen, regardless of the verdict, even though she expects that some members of the coalition might get back to their normal lives once it's over. "It's still a process, still a process of healing," she said.
Despite criticism such as Nash's, coalition members are working to push the work forward. On Wednesday through Friday of this week, June 22-24, they are hosting an education summit for teachers at Philadelphia High School—the "Chaney, Goodman, Schwerner Living Memorial Civil Rights Education Summit"—a free event with workshops on how to incorporate more complete civil rights studies into curricula, as well as a keynote address by civil rights veteran Lawrence Guyot. And the coalition announced after the verdict that they are going to push for a larger racial-reconciliation effort in the state for a fuller accounting of the state's racist past and more public atonement for past crimes.

Leroy Clemons, the 43-year-old black co-chairman of the Philadelphia Coalition and head of the local NAACP, said that "we are not done here." With the multi-racial members of the Philadelphia Coalition standing behind him just after the verdict on June 21, Clemons described the conspiracy between the state, the Sovereignty Commission, the Citizens Council and the KKK in a way seldom done in the state. "These facts have been little understood by Mississippi citizens," Clemons said, calling on "honest citizens in every county … to answer the call." The coalition's renewed purpose, he said, is to "seek truth, ensure justice for all and to nurture reconciliation … to see this journey through to the promised land." He added, "We must understand the system that encouraged it to happen, so we can dismantle it."

"This is one of the major steps in the beginning," Posey said of the Killen case. "It is not the end."

The Good People's Time

Ben Chaney is impressed with forward-thinking children of Mississippi who have not left, or who have returned, to help mend racist rifts, even as he has been critical of the Philadelphia Coalition, especially for allowing Gov. Haley Barbour and Rep. Chip Pickering to speak at the 40th anniversary commemoration service for his brother and his two fellow activists in 2004. He pointed to the state flag pin that Barbour wears on his lapel that contains a symbol of a way of life that his brother died to change. At last year's event, Chaney held a press conference outside the Mount Zion service, criticizing the coalition for edging out long-time civil rights veterans and for bringing "negative people" like Barbour to the podium.

Still, Chaney seems to have mellowed a bit by this year, and is complimentary of Mississippians—including young whites—who are working for reconciliation. "Good people have been intimidated for too long," he said to the group gathered under huge trees outside the shell of the Longdale Community Center Sunday (it burned in recent years). "So many young people turned 18, 20, then found out what their neighbors did. The first thing they did is left the state." But, he said, some are coming back and "fulfilling their obligation to the state, to their motherland." This retention and education of young people is key, he said.

"I'm afraid if we don't train young people to take the lead, it'll be another 40 years until the name 'Olen Burrage' is brought up," he said. Chaney is particularly concerned with men he calls "millionaires" who play behind-the-scenes roles in race problems—whether the Citizens Council boycotts of newspapers and progressive business owners or rich businessmen (like, allegedly, Burrage) allowing graves to be dug on their land. (Burrage was acquitted in 1967; he still lives in Philadelphia.)

Chaney believes the reconciliation effort must be multiracial; yet, he wants it to be brutally honest, and he wants leaders held accountable for their role. He calls for the state Legislature, with its large number of black members, to establish a statewide Truth and Reconciliation Task Force. The group would both detail and acknowledge the state's role in civil rights atrocities, as well as gather information into one place on unsolved race murders and demand prosecutions of killers who are still alive. It would gather legal resources, identity race-violence victims and their families and be a way to call in the Justice Department for investigative assistance (which he strongly believes Attorney General Jim Hood should have done in this case).

"It would promote a fundamental premise of justice," Chaney said of his task force idea. He doubts that the state's leadership, including Barbour and Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck, would buy into the idea, but he calls for the legislators, especially the House, to act on behalf of the people.

Cleaning Mississippi's House

Chaney has roundly criticized Susan Glisson, the director of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at Ole Miss, for her role in allowing Barbour the podium last year at the first county-wide event to honor the three men, which was organized by the Winter Institute. However, this week during the trial, she and Chaney and many others were echoing very similar sentiments about the need for the state to face all its demons. She particularly liked Chaney's idea for a legislative task force to help the state get past its "willful amnesia."

"That's a phenomenal idea," she said when told of Chaney's idea. "I think everything ought to be on the table to have the conversation." She also wants to see race forums in every county in Mississippi, creating a "safe environment" for difficult discussion. And, like Chaney, she does not believe that a truth and reconciliation effort should include amnesty for old race crimes—which some supporters call for in order to get people to talk more easily.

"First justice, then truth is established within," Chaney said at the Coffee Bean. He and Glisson believe that communities coming together to call for old prosecutions can, and must, then go further toward revealing the entire truth—not just what the prosecution decided would help the case against one of many conspirators.

Chaney joins others in Mississippi like the former newspaper editor Stanley Dearman (who calls Killen the "first among equals" of the conspirators) in wanting Killen's verdict to be guilty. Yet, it is just not enough. "I don't think this one case is going to clean Mississippi's house," he said.

But the younger generations can do just that, Chaney said—adding that Mississippi is the "safest" place for him and is a "shining example" of young blacks and whites working together. They just have to work harder to bring more people into the light.

Derrick Johnson, the president of the Mississippi NAACP, is trying to do just that. Standing on the Neshoba County courtsquare on Day 1, with his young son standing at his side, he said that the "quiet game" must end and that the state of Mississippi needs to acknowledge its past sins regardless of Preacher Killen's fate.

"The state of Mississippi should be held accountable for its actions," Johnson said.

So must the country, Bender emphasized. This isn't just a Mississippi problem—the rest of the country must face the question of race as well, she said under the magnolia tree. "In some ways, maybe the country is on trial," Bender said.

Clemons said after the verdict that it is time to step up and do the right thing. "As a state and a nation, it is time to answer the call," he said, then sending a message to other Mississippians: "We challenge our fellow citizens to join us in an honest appraisal of the past."

Donna Ladd grew up in Neshoba County.

Read the JFP's blog about the Killen trial here.

CORRECTION: In the print version of this story, Lawrence Guyot's last name is spelled incorrectly due to a typo by the writer. We regret the error.

Previous Comments

ID
78088
Comment

Donna, this is a beautiful story, great writing. Almost made me cry. For some reason unexplained I'm not angry as normal after reading an article like this. You have my award for this. I will keep a copy of this article until death.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-06-22T15:03:14-06:00
ID
78089
Comment

Thanks, Ray. I filed it right under the wire from the media room at the trial yesterday with a press conference with the victims' families and the attorneys for the prosecution right next to me. It was very meaningful to be able to do that. ;-) But be sure to print up the print version to see Kate Medley's downright amazing photos of Killen and the trial, and Jimmy Mumford's amazing cover spread on this story. Also see Natalie Irby's column about the closing statements, which makes me tear up every time I read it; I think it's one of the best columns we've ever printed. Also a big shout-out to Thabi Moyo who was on the scene shooting video footage, and the home teamóled by Caseyówho put out the issue so that we didn't have to miss a thing from the trial. This issue was really a team effort, and a special one to all of us here.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-06-22T15:43:54-06:00
ID
78090
Comment

Joyce Brewer from WAPT just e-mailed this: Just wanted to inform you of a special report tonight where we'll have in-studio analysts, including Derrick Johnson of the MS NAACP: A local trial that made national history...Our cameras were allowed to go where other stations were not permitted, but we couldn't reveal what we saw and heard...until now! A 16 WAPT News Special Report...The Killen Verdict: Behind the Scenes, tonight at 7pm only on 16 WAPT.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-06-22T15:45:40-06:00
ID
78091
Comment

I believe this ties into your other thread on Bill Moyer's speech on the haves (big business) and the have nots (the common American citizen). I dream of a future where we come together as one UNITED human race and fight the corruption in our system. My dream scares the hell out of the corrupt ones in our society, and that is why they will always try to divide us, "dumb us down" in substandard schools, and play up our racial differences. But we must keep the faith, work to heal old wounds, and spread peace, love, and respect (nod to my friend Nickel G).

Author
Steph
Date
2005-06-22T15:51:41-06:00
ID
78092
Comment

Wonderful, Donna, beautiful writing. And darn, I wish we had Channel 16 up in the north end of the state.

Author
C.W.
Date
2005-06-22T19:07:34-06:00
ID
78093
Comment

So... I should stock up on sackcloth and ashes, then? I don't mean to be snippy, sorry. Just tired of living here.

Author
Ironghost
Date
2005-06-23T08:36:32-06:00
ID
78094
Comment

more to the OP, I fully believe we'll keep plodding through the backlog of cases, working to solve them to the best of our ability. Not because outsiders say we should to expunge our collective guilt, but because it's only fair to see everyone get the justice due them.

Author
Ironghost
Date
2005-06-23T08:38:38-06:00
ID
78095
Comment

I will never understand dumb Mississippians' preoccupation with what outsiders think of us. Outsiders think we're backward, racist, and dumb because we were; and, by and large, still are. I'm sick of this running from the truth. If you don't want to be called racist and backward then stop exhibiting the evidence and characteristics. All you have to do is reject the knowingly stupid falsehoods your mothers, fathers, grandparents, and teachers taught you. Excuses, additional feigned oblivion, and flight from the truth won't help this situation. Mississippi, and Amrica, have run from the truth for decades and centuries, to no avail. God's truth is superior to man's lie and always will be.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-06-23T08:52:50-06:00
ID
78096
Comment

Ray wrote: If you don't want to be called racist and backward then stop exhibiting the evidence and characteristics. All you have to do is reject the knowingly stupid falsehoods your mothers, fathers, grandparents, and teachers taught you. I don't think truer, or more straightforward, words have ever been spoken in this state. You're right; it's time to stop complaining and just do it. Every single person who hears the excuse-makers make excuses know it's an excuse. And this certainly applies to some uneducated folk right now running around Jackson hiding their own racism in their cherrypicking about crime. Call them out, all. We can be better than those people. They cannot, must not, should not continue representing this state on behalf of the rest of us who have the good sense and the courage to reject the race rhetoric of the past. Step up.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-06-23T09:15:27-06:00
ID
78097
Comment

Iron, it's not about "outsiders" and never has been. It's about what we think of ourselves. The "outsider" thing is just an excuse for not doing the right thing then or now.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-06-23T09:17:06-06:00
ID
78098
Comment

Ray, I must add another thing. It is confounding and ironic that the people who seem to be the least willing to mothball the habits of their parents and grandparents are the same ones who yap all the time about "personal responsibility." Yeah, it's always about "personal responsibility" of the other guy. Speaking of, anyone see the dumbass editorial in the Northside Sun this week about this case? That paper gets worse, and more out of touch, by the week.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-06-23T09:18:57-06:00
ID
78099
Comment

Ladd: I think we're starting to realize that we haven't been, well, fair to everyone. That doesn't sound right, but it's all I can think of. I think Beckwith and Killen are two parts of a push to finally make sure everyone gets the justice denied them years ago. The good thing (among others) about the group in Neshoba County doing this, is that there aren't any "outsiders". It will get easier once everyone sees other Mississippians doing it on their own.

Author
Ironghost
Date
2005-06-23T09:30:06-06:00
ID
78100
Comment

Suerly you're right Donna. Iron, we have always known we weren't fair to everyone. Our racism wasn't and isn't accidental.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-06-23T09:39:27-06:00
ID
78101
Comment

I totally agree, Iron, that the entire nut is cracked from within. Mississippians have abdicated our responsibilities for so long and in so many ways. That's what allows someone like Haley Barbour to get elected and then start cutting the efforts put there in the first place to equalize public schools that were so unequal for so long. There's a lot of work to be done, but that doesn't mean it can't be done. It just means it's time for each person to start taking that personal responsibility to their part. Many have; the others need to start stepping up. As Natalie so beautifully says in her column this week, old coots like James McIntyre, with their backward ideas and stereotypes and stupid rhetoric, need to "hold on to their seats," while the rest of us get together and move the state forward. The funny thing is, when we finally really decide to do that, the rest of the world will start looking at us in awe. But that's NOT the reason to do it. We do it because it's the right thing, and right for Mississippians. Let's the rest of the world tend to their problems; let's tend to our own. We've got a great chance to -- right now.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-06-23T09:40:20-06:00
ID
78102
Comment

Well... I could say that politics has interfered with Mississippians ability to fix things ourselves. Once we realize we can do things on our own, like rebuild our economy, fix race relations, elect reasonable officials to public office... well, we might have a chance. We think we have to follow tradition, and now we realize that's not a good idea in all thing. Maybe we can quit singing that line in Dixie, "old times are not forgotten" and forget the old times and make better ones. Maybe we'll realize it's up to us to get it done.

Author
Ironghost
Date
2005-06-23T09:51:29-06:00
ID
78103
Comment

Iron, we just must reject the politics of raceówhether it lingers in crime discussions (can you believe McIntyre played the Jackson race-crime card???) or in policy decisions about welfare, education and health care. Now, as for your Dixie line†ó I absolutely do not think we should forget the old times. Understanding what happened, and how it happened and who was complicit and how they convinced everyone to go along with it, is key to not letting it happen again. However, we certainly must stop revering the old times. It's truly not hard to admit that Mississippióand its elected agentsóhave been wrong many times and apologize for it. That's the first step to setting it right. Of course, there will always be the closet racists (who might not even recognize their own racismóafter all, the Citizens Council, the Klan and now the Council of Conservative Citizens tell you they're not "racist") who try to stop progress, but they must be exposed and marginalized. And these days that means exposing race-coding and calling out the naked emperor for what he is: a bigot.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-06-23T09:58:02-06:00
ID
78104
Comment

Amen Iron. Despite America's undisputed dark history of white supremacy here and abroad; in America and Mississippi we still have this great opportunity to become a true beacon and light for the rest of the world to marvel at. To do this we have to face and exorcize our demons. The whole world knows about Mississippi's demons. McIntyre's actions redisplayed them, and our silence is allowing them to refester and lay dormant to the next opportunity.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-06-23T10:03:39-06:00
ID
78105
Comment

Amen Donna.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-06-23T10:09:01-06:00
ID
78106
Comment

I read all this, and all I can say is, PHEW! This is all so deep - I hope I don't give myself a coronary. There is so much work to be done, but the only way to get it done is to get started. There's only one way to find a needle in a haystack...remove one straw at a time.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2005-06-23T11:34:44-06:00
ID
78107
Comment

Isnt it nice of Ms Bender to come all the way from seattle to tell us "why" we care about the trial. For her to say "we" (whoever "we" is supposed to be) only care about the two white men killed is very presumptuous and stereotypical on her part. I am saddened and embarrased for the state the three human beings were killed regardless of race. I, of course, sympathise with her loss and am disgusted by the acts of these "Patriotic Christians" 41 years ago. I am glad Killen was convicted and believe justice should be served on all those who committed the acts in the 50's and 60's. But as a Mississippian i am soooooooooooooo tired of people outside the south preaching at us about "what we need to do" or "why we care" about certain things. If Bender is so concerned about the state of Mississippi then she ought to move down here from Seattle and offer her time , pro bono, to help bring these other conspiritors to justice. But if all she has to offer is "high-minded-psuedo-intellect" preaching then i wish her a safe and speedy trip back to Seattle.

Author
JacksunGuy
Date
2005-06-23T11:58:33-06:00
ID
78108
Comment

JacksunGuy, she said that because she knows countless black folks were killed by the klan and other racists and nothing was ever done or said about it. If you don't think she was mostly right then you're blind and stupid. If we're too cowardly and hypocritical to say what outsiders do say when we know it's true, then outsiders ought to say it. You seem angrier at her than Preacher Killer. Sorry I meant Killen.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-06-23T12:10:45-06:00
ID
78109
Comment

Ray, how you presume to know what I am angry about or how knowledgebale or stupid i am is as blind and knee-jerk as Bender saying that the only reason people in Neshoba County care is that two whites were killed. Have you, or Bender for that matter, polled the population of Neshoba county? How do you presume to know what a majority of Mississippians think? I think anyone who commits crimes should be held accountable whether they are "hate crimes" or not. A crime against a person is a crime against a person. You, sir, seem very angry at the people of Mississippi, 90% of which I am sure you have never met and talked with about how they feel. If you quit using tired quips and snippets you might realize that MOST people are glad the old goat got convicted.

Author
JacksunGuy
Date
2005-06-23T12:17:01-06:00
ID
78110
Comment

Jacksunguy, I can surmise, feel, infer, and discern how happy everyone is from the unusual silence and your barely controlled anger. Moreover, I can tell what some people think and feel from the ones who are bold enough to talk. You can't fool me. The fact that most Mississippians allowed these crimes to go unpunished for years speaks volumes about what most Mississippians think. The sad refrain about "not bring up the past" and "letting a dead dog lie" likewise, speaks volumes about the sentiments of people. Bring it on JacksunGuy. I'm up for the challenge.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-06-23T12:29:20-06:00
ID
78111
Comment

JacksunGuy, I'm not angry. I'm honest to a good fault. Prove I'm wrong and I'll gladly change.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-06-23T12:31:38-06:00
ID
78112
Comment

By the way what poll did you use to know most people are glad he got convicted?

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-06-23T12:33:01-06:00
ID
78113
Comment

Ray it appears you are trolling for a fight so I will let you "win" and continue with your "super appologist" self rant. I do not pretend to speak for others, I have simply noted that most people I talk to are glad he was convicted (sure there are a few wing-nuts from the dark ages that wanted to see him go free). I however, and most Mississippians that i know personally have nothing to "appologise for". Killen never spoke for me, nor did the Klan, nor did Gub'na Ross Barnett. You, however, appereantly not only speak for, but know intimately the thoughts of all Mississippians so debating with you is senseless. Have a nice day :)

Author
JacksunGuy
Date
2005-06-23T12:42:06-06:00
ID
78114
Comment

Cheers, JacksunGuy. I can dish it and I can take it. The truth is the light. I don'tknow what most people of Mississippi think, but I can make a good guess since I was born and reared here. I'm always open to illumination and edification. I love Mississippi and has always said so. I spent 12 years away and always wished I was still here. I embrace the goodness of Mississippi and abhor the evilness of it. I will never lie for or on Mississippi.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-06-23T12:50:00-06:00
ID
78115
Comment

Guessing leads to "pre-judging". It's no different than a policeman saying "I would guess that black kid over there is up to no good cuz i have been a cop on this beat for years" You can't just lump a group of people together Ray. Just because someone looks a certain way or lives in a certain place. I believe (correct me if i am wrong Donna) that the editor of JFP hails from neshoba county. Is she backwards thinking and a racist?

Author
JacksunGuy
Date
2005-06-23T12:54:29-06:00
ID
78116
Comment

Guessing leads to "pre-judging". It's no different than a policeman saying "I would guess that black kid over there is up to no good cuz i have been a cop on this beat for years" You can't just lump a group of people together Ray. Just because someone looks a certain way or lives in a certain place. I believe (correct me if i am wrong Donna) that the editor of JFP hails from neshoba county. Is she backwards thinking and a racist?

Author
JacksunGuy
Date
2005-06-23T12:54:29-06:00
ID
78117
Comment

Guessing is certainly dangerous and can and does lead to mistakes. You get no argument from me on this. It's terribly wrong to stereotype people and I regret having done that. I happen to Know Donna and she knows me. We know that neither of us are racist. Unfortunately, we must sometime cautiously extends based on what we see. I'm far more cautious and mentally stable than you likely realize since you don't know me. I appreciate your comments more than you realize.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-06-23T13:01:21-06:00
ID
78118
Comment

Nah, your mental stability was never in question, you are just passionate about what you believe! Not a thing wrong with that ;) Lets both keep striving to move our great state forward!!

Author
JacksunGuy
Date
2005-06-23T13:10:50-06:00
ID
78119
Comment

Jacksun, I just read your first comment above about Rita Schwerner Bender. You are putting words into her mouth and in an offensive way. She is talking about America, and to all of the media from around the country. She's not just talking about Mississippi and the South. She is telling the media that theyóincluding Northern media back in the 1960sóonly cared about this case because two white men were killed, just as Andy Goodman's father said then. And it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that she is right. You're allowing your own defensiveness to keep you from hearing what a eloquent and compassionate and caring woman, whose husband was brutally killed here, had to say last week. That is very, very sad. I feel sorry for you if that's all you can hear.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-06-23T13:30:50-06:00
ID
78120
Comment

Ok, JacksunGuy, but you will have to forgive me for intellectually knowing and articulating the true history of America and Mississippi. I can't stop doing this until proven wrong.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-06-23T13:31:55-06:00
ID
78121
Comment

Jacksun, I just kept reading your comments ... unbelievable. How in the world did you twist what I reported above into this outright lie: ender saying that the only reason people in Neshoba County care is that two whites were killed. Jacksun, this is disgusting. Try a little reading comprehension here before you violate these forums any further with your defensive word-twisting. That is not welcome here.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-06-23T13:33:03-06:00
ID
78122
Comment

My post did have an offensive tint to it now that i go back and read it. I am just so tired of todays Mississippians (many of whom like myself were a decade away from being born) being dragged through the mud nationally by the media and by people who are not even from here and spend no time here. I still maintain that MOST mississippians are good, fair, and decent people. I dispute the thought that most "white folks" in the state wanted to see killen go free. And I dispute the fact that the Klan or Killen has ever spoken for me or that I should have to appologise to ANYONE from ANY state for his actions. The man is a gruesome murderer who preyed on peoples ignorance to manipulate them into killing three innocents. For anyone, media or otherwise to assume myself or any other Mississippian condones that type of behavior DOES anger me.

Author
JacksunGuy
Date
2005-06-23T13:38:11-06:00
ID
78123
Comment

Jacksun, I don't like those stereotypes, either. However, if you want to post individual links to media stories that are saying those things, then we can discuss them, and should. Otherwise, it might seem as if you are being a bit defensive and putting words into other people's mouths, as you did above on behalf of Rita Bender. For one thing, Bender made a point of saying that this is the whole nation's problem, not just Mississippi's. And she said right after the verdict how much she appreciated Neshoba County bringing this case and the good people of Mississippi who are not standing up and saying this is wrong. However, it won't do anyone any good for Bender, me, you, Ray, James McIntyre or anyone else to try to pretend that Mississippi has done the right thing all these years. The truth is, in the past, the majority of Mississippians did not stand up against heinous race crimes, and we have continually refused to do anything about many of them, especially if the victims were black, as well as take that hateful symbol out of our state flag. We have a governor who wears it every single day. We have two U.S. senators who will not sign a resolution declaring that lynching was wrong and that that body should have acted long ago to stop it. So if people outside here think that we are still chained to the hate of the past -- what are weóor our elected officialsódoing to change their minds??? And I promise, defensiveness doesn't help a damn thing. In fact, Mississippians are doing a lot, or many of us are. But we need the rest of the good people of Mississippi by our sides, not spouting off crime rhetoric about black crimes while trying to excuse away (or hide) suburban white crime or these heinous crimes we've never thought were important enough to prosecute. As a fellow Mississippi, I can tell you from the heart that the best way to overcome the shame of our past -- which I believe everyone share, to some extent -- is to face it and try to change its legacy. Denying it only makes one a bitter, angry person. And we all know them. They're no fun to be around.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-06-23T13:46:22-06:00
ID
78124
Comment

Barbour strikes again. Look what he said today in response to Ben Chaney's response to his lapel pin, especially the bolded statement: Ben Chaney, the younger brother of one of the murdered civil rights workers, after Tuesday's verdict criticized Barbour, saying, "Mississippi has a governor who embraces symbols of racism," saying he wears "a Rebel flag on his lapel." Barbour wears a pin that has the state and U.S. flags crossed. The state flag includes the Confederate battle emblem in one corner. Barbour said the crossed flags are the emblem of the state National Guard and, "I wear this pin every day. If somebody doesn't like it, that's tough." Another brilliant statement by a Mississippi statesman.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-06-23T13:50:57-06:00
ID
78125
Comment

JacksunGuy, if you are now reading what Ms. Bender said (instead of reading what you thought an "outsider" would have said), let me tell you that a lot of people in Mississippi, of more than one skin tone, agree with her. This case got the nation's attention because it involved two white men and not just black men - that much is obvious to a blind man, since all the black men who had been killed or just "disappeared" previously didn't make a ripple in the national consciousness. The presense of the two white men in that earthen dam with the black man is what caused the original notority and that is what has kept this case in the forefront. I'm sure you know (but it bears repeating) that a good number of bodies (of black men) were found during the 40-odd days that folks were looking for the other three bodies. Someone can correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think all of those bodies were ever even identified. Why were none of these making national headlines, and why have we not yet pursued justice in any of those? Unless we, as Mississippians, are willing to buckle down and clean up the place we live in, we can't complain too loudly about outsiders pointing out the old and rotten trash in the collective state backyard. If we don't show them who we are in a very visible way, old conceptions will still hold sway and we just did it to ourselves with our apathy.

Author
C.W.
Date
2005-06-23T13:56:20-06:00
ID
78126
Comment

This was said on t.v., too. JacksunGuy will get mad at me for saying this, but, he can't see the forrest for the trees - a blinding southern and Mississippi phenomenon.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-06-23T13:58:50-06:00
ID
78127
Comment

As Susan Klopfer said in another thread (http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/comments.php?id=6503_0_9_0_C), what's next Mississippi? How do we get justice done in every case that we can? Should we write the AG's office? the DOJ? Should the attorneys that peruse this site try to use their powers to open up other old cases? All of the above? Let's keep on keepin' on!!!

Author
Steph
Date
2005-06-23T14:02:35-06:00
ID
78128
Comment

He has to keep his buddies happy in the Council of Conservative Citizens (they may not admit publicly that they are the white collar Klan, but you know darn well they love it when we call them that).

Author
C.W.
Date
2005-06-23T14:03:21-06:00
ID
78129
Comment

If we don't show them who we are in a very visible way, old conceptions will still hold sway and we just did it to ourselves with our apathy. Amen, sister. And one hint is that being defensive doesn't show a damn thing. It's like getting pissed off at your neighbor because they know you're a scumbag you cheats on your wife. It's misplaced. Still, I will reiterate that we should not do anything simply to impress "outsiders." We do it because it's right, and for our own people. How about we all get together and make this state a place where too many of our smart young people don't run from the second they're old enough? How about ridding us of our inferiority complexówhich we get because we keep ourselves down and don't do enough as a state that we right here in the state can be proud of, not because other people tell us we're inferior. Confidence comes from within. And admitting past mistakes and making up for them will make our own citizens proudóand that matters a whole helluva bunch more than what some CNN producer thinks. I know that we're taught in the state not to do this. But you can love your parents and grandparents, and still see the errors in their ways, which were passed down to them as well. We just have to stop the cycle of denial and defensiveness and take on the remaining bigotry every chance we see it. I agree that most people in Mississippi are "good"óthey need to learn to speak up about what's right and challenge what's not. And there has never been a better time than today to start. As the people in my story said, this is a beginning, not an end. I don't see it as "closure"; I see it as a glorious opening. We just have to have the courage to step through.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-06-23T14:04:11-06:00
ID
78130
Comment

Steph, one thing would be to call on state legislators to start that task force Ben Chaney talked about to gather information about all the cases into one place. Another is to talk to EVERYONE you can about the need to investigate and prosecute all the cases. And, as Bender and others say above, it is time that we understand just how complicit the state of Mississippi was in the race intimidation, violence and economic destruction.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-06-23T14:06:56-06:00
ID
78131
Comment

Which legislators are receptive to entering a bill to form this task force? (I don't think I should start with Sen. Lotts' office!)

Author
Steph
Date
2005-06-23T14:12:01-06:00
ID
78132
Comment

oops. He's Fed anyway. I don't know that much about our state legs.

Author
Steph
Date
2005-06-23T14:16:09-06:00
ID
78133
Comment

Donna and C.W. are beautiful people and great writers. There is beauty like this in the truth, JacksunGuy. "People get ready, a train is coming, and it's picking up passengers coast to coast. All you need is (courage and) faith to hear the diesel humming. Have pity on those whose chances grow thinner for there is no hiding place from the father of creation." Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions wrote this in the late sixties. There is room for you, JacksunGuy. "Come on in the room."

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-06-23T14:17:12-06:00
ID
78134
Comment

Ray, you make me blush, but I love you to pieces, you know that. And I'm thrilled that we're all here right now to talk about this in our home state that we all love so much. And I love that song. He's right, Jacksun, just climb on aboard. There is so not any shame in feeling shame for our past and being sorry for it and trying to make things better. In fact, there is exhilaration and relief and a whole lotta love. Just come on. ;-D

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-06-23T14:23:15-06:00
ID
78135
Comment

"Don't need no ticket, you just thank the Lord"

Author
Steph
Date
2005-06-23T14:24:26-06:00
ID
78136
Comment

Steph, I haven't had a chance to follow up with legislators, yet, to find out who would be amenable. However, if I were y'all, I would start with the Jackson/Hinds delegation like, say, Jim Evans and Erik Fleming. After all, Erik is running for Lott's seat. And Sen. Gloria Williamson from Neshoba County is a progressive, although that side of the building isn't exactly living in the present, much less in the future, these days. But that chick can make some noise when she wants to. And it very well might be that noise is the main point right now. Keep us posted on what they say if/when you contact them.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-06-23T14:26:11-06:00
ID
78137
Comment

Thanks, Ladd. To everyone: Let's all get in touch with Jim Evans, Erik Fleming, and Gloria Williamson to let them know WE WANT THAT TASK FORCE! Let's ride that train right onto the floor of our state legislature!!

Author
Steph
Date
2005-06-23T14:35:33-06:00
ID
78138
Comment

Ok, so just which state legislators would consider chairing such a task force? Who are some likely people we could get to , oh, i hesitate to say this, step up to the plate. (there's gotta be a better metaphor, but for now, all I have.) I think there are lots of us who would donate hours of time for such an effort. It is a beginning for sure. It's happening in other areas now as well , and don't even let's mention Cochran.. As a former 'outsider' now here for almost 2 years, I know - well, I don't know anything. I'm just glad to be here now.

Author
sunshine
Date
2005-06-23T14:39:22-06:00
ID
78139
Comment

We need a JFP Lounge (or some other planning session) to get together and discuss our plan of action.

Author
Steph
Date
2005-06-23T14:42:21-06:00
ID
78140
Comment

picking up passengers coast to coast there's hope for all

Author
sunshine
Date
2005-06-23T14:45:16-06:00
ID
78141
Comment

Steph, I'd originally planned to have a Lounge tonight at Hal & Mal's, but didn't call it because I was away at the trial and didn't know how long it would go. How about June 30 in the Oyster Bar at Hal & Mal's, starting at 7 p.m.? I believe Charly said that was a good night.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-06-23T15:03:23-06:00
ID
78142
Comment

Sounds good to me.

Author
Steph
Date
2005-06-23T15:06:22-06:00
ID
78143
Comment

OK, that's a plan unless I announce differently between now and then in the LoungeBlog. We can chat about topics, serious and frivolous, that night. All are welcome.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-06-23T15:09:06-06:00
ID
78144
Comment

Sounds good, I'll be there. well, unless there's a terrible tornado. (meantime, - re-listen New World Order - Curtis Mayfield.)

Author
sunshine
Date
2005-06-23T15:10:04-06:00
ID
78145
Comment

LOL, thanks for your offers of "salvation" Ray. Believeth in him for he is the Ray, he will save you, for he alone knows the way Jingle made up on the fly by Jacksunguy. So basically if i dont become an "appologist" for something someone did, that the only thing i share with them is the color of my skin then I am doomed? The "RayTrain" wont love me? Donna, I appologise in advance for my overly sarcastic tone, but I just dont really get the gist of this guys rant. Perhaps someone can else can explain it to me. 1) Who exaclty should i appologise to for "our" past (i was born in 1973), in order to get my ticket on the "RayTrain"? 2) What act that i have done am i actually appologising for? That i was born in mississippi, that i am white? or both? 3) Should ALL mississippians appologise or only white ones? 4) If only white mississippians should appologise then isnt this stereotyping them by heaping this awful tradgedy on them simply because of the color of they're skin? 5) Should we hold Kenneth Stokes to the same standards that you hold Haley to when it comes to insensitive comments? (ok i had to throw that last one in there. My point is RAY and i will repeat this for the last time I AM GLAD HE WAS CONVICTED!! I HOPE ANYONE WHO COMMITTED CRIMES LIKE THIS IS BROUGHT TO JUSTICE. (and i dont ride trains, they are slow, inefficiant and outdated)

Author
JacksunGuy
Date
2005-06-23T15:10:22-06:00
ID
78146
Comment

I'm confused, Jacksun. You're already sounding like an apologist. I think Ray is suggesting that you NOT be an apologist. With all due respect, Jacksun, you are being ugly and not listening to what Ray, Mrs. Bender or anyone else is saying here on this otherwise very respectful blog. And your Stokes comment is so incredibly predictable in ways that I can see you are unlikely to ever understand. Please get on off this train with your ugly sarcasm. Honest and sincere dialogue are welcome here, whatever the the view, but your juvenile nastiness is certainly not welcome here. You're not looking for understanding; you're just looking for a chance to make fun of good people. And that's disgusting, especially on such a serious and comtemplative thread.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-06-23T15:14:40-06:00
ID
78147
Comment

Also, being that I know the owner around here, I will tell you that this particular thread is not going further down an ugly road. You can start your own thread if you want to try to derail this train; just remember to honor the user agreement in the forums as well. But, this is warning that another sarcastic post such as the one you just put above will be deleted without further comment.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-06-23T15:17:24-06:00
ID
78148
Comment

JacksunGuy, If I wasn't an eternal optimist, if could give up on you. Beauty, truth and love was here before me. I can't claim any ownership.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-06-23T15:17:56-06:00
ID
78149
Comment

Lighten up, JacksunGuy. We were all blissing here, and you ruined it!

Author
Steph
Date
2005-06-23T15:18:14-06:00
ID
78150
Comment

"Beauty, truth and love was here before me. I can't claim any ownership." -Ray cool. I'm blissing again with Ray........

Author
Steph
Date
2005-06-23T15:21:42-06:00
ID
78151
Comment

there was a really good piece in the mainstream CL by W. Raspberry about apologies, yesterday. I could go find it, but just look yourself, JG.

Author
sunshine
Date
2005-06-23T15:22:21-06:00
ID
78152
Comment

I suspect that was the intention, Steph. Mississippians have long been our own worst enemies. Remember that Marshall Ramsey cartoon after the flag vote when the Mississippi guy was aiming at his own foot and firing. For too long here, the habit has been to make fun of any effort to face and atone for the past, and then to whine when "outsiders" call us out for not doing what other states have tried to do. Bang, bang ... Meantime, Jacksun, allow me to demonstrate something that does not hurt one bit: To my fellow black Mississippians and to the families of Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner: I am sorry for what "my" people did to your people, supposedly on behalf of all "white" Mississippians. I am sorry that my parents and grandparents did not do more to stop the cycle and the hate. I'm sorry that my relatives in Neshoba County did not speak up and stop the harassment violence or demand prosecutions for the loved ones you lost because they were trying to stand up for what was right. I cannot understand the extent of your pain, but I will do everything in my power to feel empathy for what you must have gone through for the last 41 years, and longer. Most importantly, I will try to understand the legacies of this violence and discrimination and do what I can do to help repair it, so that everyone in our state can live in harmony and have truly equal opportunities. I want to work with you, not against you, to ensure that Mississippi has a bright future for its children. Please allow me to help in whatever small ways I can.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-06-23T15:26:11-06:00
ID
78153
Comment

http://www.pjstar.com/stories/062005/WIL_B6NUJ1V6.002.shtml ok, I found it. not the CL but the same piece. darn good. or very excellent. or thank you.

Author
sunshine
Date
2005-06-23T15:27:36-06:00
ID
78154
Comment

And , I would like to hear what people here think about that article! I have no compass.

Author
sunshine
Date
2005-06-23T15:30:49-06:00
ID
78155
Comment

Ladd, that doesn't hurt at all!! THAT FEELS GOOD!!!

Author
Steph
Date
2005-06-23T15:34:51-06:00
ID
78156
Comment

and p.s. JG, trains are great. well, light rail at least. it's the future. get on board.

Author
sunshine
Date
2005-06-23T15:44:02-06:00
ID
78157
Comment

Wasn't an apology requested and received from Germany along these same lines? But I guess that's somehow different?

Author
Johann
Date
2005-06-23T15:45:30-06:00
ID
78158
Comment

I think it's a powerful column, sunshine. He is absolutely right that it makes no sense to refuse so steadfastly to apologize for something awful in the past that was wrought or assisted by an institution, or your own government and tax money, as this crime ultimately. It's the refusal to apologize that it so tragic and symbolic that we haven't yet reached understanding. I can't even comprehend being so defensive about something so awful, just as I cannot comprehend why Lott and especially Cochran would refuse to sign that anti-lynching resolution. It says very clearly to me that they believe most Mississippians (at least who vote) are still racist, and that they are willing to pander to them. I just can't imagine living a life on those kinds of principles. Eek. I liked this section of Raspberry's column: Not very long ago, such a coalition would have been unimaginable, and anyone who proposed such a thing would have been visited by nightriders. Even now, it is well not to overestimate what is happening in the state. School segregation is widespread, thousands of whites having fled desegregated school systems for the so-called "seg academies." Racial fairness is still a dream. But there is movement. What was "Mississippi Burning" is, surprisingly often, Mississippi yearning. A lot of people in the state are apologizing for what used to be. They understand what seems to escape Thad Cochran: Institutions are more than their incumbents. Mississippi, like the U.S. Senate, is a continuing entity. If the entity believes it has erred, it isn't unreasonable that it apologize. Didn't Pope John Paul II apologize for the Holocaust? "Yearning" is a good word. So many of us yearn for a Mississippi not ruled by race codes and defensiveness and ridicule of folks who have rejected the bigotry. And it's up to us to make it into that Mississippi. No one else is going to do it for us. Sometimes I feel like I need to march out in front of these people, grab myself a handful of red clay a la Scarlett, raise my hand in the air, and say, "I grew up in the red dirt of Neshoba County, and my parents and grandparents and brother are buried in it. This is my state, too. I refuse to give up on it or to defend its ugliness. I'm not running anymore; I'm staying right here and talking back to you people who have kept us on the bottom for so long and made us think we can't stand up to you. I am going to celebrate how far we've come out loud and in print, even as I share the history all y'all tried to keep from us children of Mississippi so that we're deaf, dumb and stupid about our own history. I don't care about what you say about me or call me. I, too, am going to live and die in Dixie, but I'm going to do everything in my little bitty power to make it a better Dixie before I go." Well. I guess the speeches are coming a little too easy right now, so I will retire now and do some work. Bliss on, friends.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-06-23T15:47:33-06:00
ID
78159
Comment

I think every Mississippian can preach if they want. :) We'll all get there, one way or the other.

Author
Ironghost
Date
2005-06-23T15:54:37-06:00
ID
78160
Comment

Cochran: "I deplore and regret that lynching occurred and that those committing them weren't punished, but I'm not culpable.î Culpable - Fancy lawyer talk for: guilty, in the wrong, responsible, to blame, liable... I absolutely feel we all have a responsibility to do what we kind to make Mississippi fair and equal for all. If signing a resolution helps to ease the pain of the past, then by all means, DO IT! No one's blaming Thad, but there's that defensiveness coming out that we see so many times from so many people. I think the article captured that well.

Author
Steph
Date
2005-06-23T16:01:22-06:00
ID
78161
Comment

While I am enthused that Killen will spend the remainder of his days in prison, this is justice only in part, not whole! Next I would personally wish to see the state flag changed, but the complacency with which for too many of my fellow black Mississippians share will not allow for this to transpire.

Author
K RHODES
Date
2005-06-23T17:04:32-06:00
ID
78162
Comment

KRHODES, Tell all your fellow black Mississippians to call on state legislators to start that task force Ben Chaney talked about to gather information about all the old murder cases into one place. I am starting with Jim Evans, Erik Fleming (both Hinds Co. legislators), and Gloria Williamson (Neshoba Co.), as suggested by Ladd. Let's prosecute as many as we can!

Author
Steph
Date
2005-06-23T17:13:39-06:00
ID
78163
Comment

I think most people here agree with you wholeheartedly, krhodes, both about it only being justice "in part" ó or, as I wrote in the above story, "of a fashion" ó and I certainly agree with you about the flag needing to be changed. I do, though, think that not enough honesty had been put forth when that flag vote happened to make it happen. To me, the outcome meant that we had a whole lot more work to do, not that the issue was done with. That was a ridiculous read on it. So I believe we do the work, the story-telling, the discussion that needs to be done and then go after that confounded flag again, once our younger generations understand better why it's so disgusting. And the work is being done; let's just turn up the heat as much as possible. And talk, talk, talk. And, yes, Iron, Mississippians seem to be born preaching. ;-)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-06-23T17:20:32-06:00
ID
78164
Comment

BTW, krhodes, when I said "here," I meant on the blog in that instance. I don't want to overplay the attitudes of a majority of Mississippians. This is a work-in-progress.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-06-23T17:29:55-06:00
ID
78165
Comment

Yeah, whoever said Cochran was "culpable" of anything? How about compassionate and classy enough to sign onto a very important symbolic gesture? I'm over him.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-06-23T17:58:45-06:00
ID
78166
Comment

A good column by Neely Tucker today for the Washington Post, etc. It was, for a small town in a small place, a day of history. It was the first time anyone had been charged with murder in the slayings that gave this town its international reputation. (The 1967 federal trial, in which seven men were convicted of violating the dead men's civil rights, was held in Meridian, in another county about 40 miles south.) It wasn't pretty. It wasn't textbook. Mississippi small-town scraps rarely are. So: Guilty, they said, but with a twist. They convicted the 80-year-old Klansman of manslaughter, which didn't really fit the charges. The prosecution looked for an up-or-down verdict on murder in the first degree. But this jury wound up in between, saying guilty to charges that leave the part-time preacher and convicted felon (he did five months in prison in the 1970s for threatening to kill a man) facing a sentence of anywhere from three to 60 years.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-06-23T17:59:50-06:00
ID
78167
Comment

Ladd, Albeit to a lesser degree, I am a part of the younger generation, and the disconnect with the civil rights generation is profound. We need improved communication between both generations. In addition, I grasped what you were conveying in terms of ìhere" :-)

Author
K RHODES
Date
2005-06-23T19:16:09-06:00
ID
78168
Comment

Jacksunguy, I have a question for you, pretty easy, nothing too heavy. Is there anything about Mississippi or a particular Missississippian that you feel especially proud of? And if so, what or who is it and why are you so proud of it/them? If you can answer that, I'll tell you why I asked. Thanks.

Author
C.W.
Date
2005-06-23T19:37:04-06:00
ID
78169
Comment

oh dear krhodes - there is no disconnect. most of us are still here for pete's sake! and we are not going anywhere and we are not going away and we are not forgetting . I am, sorry, 59, ha. I remember quite a bit and I will continue to . And I hope to remember some really good things. turn up the heat. tell the stories.

Author
sunshine
Date
2005-06-23T19:52:27-06:00
ID
78170
Comment

There are so many posts on this thread, and so very many good ones, I want to comment on them all, but I know you all don't want to see fifty posts from me (and I am a little tired tonight, so I don't want to write that many). I do want to say a thing or two, though. First off, I want to say what a joy this board is, most of the posts on here are uplifting my spirit, providing me with food for thought, giving me so much hope for Mississippi and it's people and giving me mental energy for the work we all have yet in front of us! I can't match the beauty of the apology that Donna offered up, because there is ugliness in what I have to say. Perhaps, though, if I give my ugly apology, it will become easier for those with simpler apologies to speak up. Because some people I am kin to (now dead) gave me so much more information than I wanted to have, I need to say that I am profoundly grieved to know that distant relatives of mine killed a 14-year-old boy visiting Money, Mississippi; I am profoundly grieved to know that not so distant relatives (only two generations back) hanged a black man in some woods they owned. I wish I had not been so shocked and so horrified that I didn't find out who he was (I'm not even sure that the person telling me knew who it was, since he was only 12 when he witnessed it). Indeed, I spent many years trying to blot all those hated words from my mind, but now I am going to set them free. The most horrible thing was that he was not confessing, mind you, he was bragging. God only knows how many more there were, but I don't want to know, because those two I know about weigh very heavy. Beyond that I want to apologize for my own sins of commission and omission over the years - all the times when I was younger and still under the spell of my upbringing and said words or did not challenge words that should never leave a decent person's lips. I apologize for the times that I made another human being invisible and unimportant in my eyes. Then there were all the times I did not risk my life or go to work in those places that the freedom-fighters worked and put their lives and their bodies on the line. I met a few of those heroes and heroines of Freedom Summer last Sunday and I felt privileged to be in the shadow of that burned out community house, and literally in their shadow, listening to them speak on a Fatherís Day 41 years from the Fatherís Day on which those three martyrs had their young lives brutally snatched from them. For all the inequity, the hardship, the cruelty, the meanness heaped on the heads of African-Americans today and in the past and for the part that I and mine had in these actions, I offer my humblest apologies and pledge my best efforts now and in the future to bring a measure of justice and equality to the state I love - Mississippi.

Author
C.W.
Date
2005-06-23T20:23:13-06:00
ID
78171
Comment

C.W, I don't know how others who have lived here a long time will respond - being new here all I can say is thank you for what you said. that's just from me. I did not risk my life either (though I know some who did) and I did not challenge words.. we were so young and easy to impress but we thought a bit. didn't we, and now we can see. thank you for you post.

Author
sunshine
Date
2005-06-23T20:48:08-06:00
ID
78172
Comment

Donna and C.W., I can't thank you enough for those words. It does my soul good. However, I believe that as an African American, I should apologize on the behalf of others of my ethnicity who have said and done things against whites: I apologize for all the times those who belong to the Nation of Islam called white men blue-eyed devils. No one can help what eye colr they are born with. I apologize for the times Christianity was referred to as a white man's religion. How can that be if Christianity began in the Middle East? I apologize for the times that blacks said white people have no rhythm. It shows that we don't know enough about our culture since African dancers believe that everyone with a heartbeat has rhythm. I apologize for believing stories I was told as a child that white people's wet hair smelled like animal hair and that white people owned large dogs in order to commit bestiality. I apologize for the few moments years ago when I, out of frustration, would pull my purse close to me when passing by a white person so that "they" could see what it feels like. As you can see, none of us are free and clear. We all have misconceptions about each other that need to be cleared up. I am all for racial reconciliation from every side.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2005-06-23T21:14:17-06:00
ID
78173
Comment

Donna: I know that we're taught in the state not to do this. But you can love your parents and grandparents, and still see the errors in their ways, which were passed down to them as well. Philip: As a native Deep Southerner but not native Mississippian (NE Louisiana native, removed 70 years removed from Simpson Co.), I think Donna REALLY hit on a critical matter holding the region back. We're taught to revere and appreciate our elders - which is great. HOWEVER, that is altogether different from glossing over their imprefections (not just on questions of race). To say that criticism equals an insult is to say *You cannot love (or at least respect) someone unless they are morally perfect and wonderful -- given the people of the area pass up NO opportunity to proclaim how devoted they are to Jesus Christ, shouldn't this have at least some glimmer of irony???? *You cannot tolerate imperfections in others -- Ditto remarks about devotion to Jesus, who (according to Christian doctrine) died for OUR imperfections. *You effectively assume "stupid in one thing, stupid in all" (which our ideas of proper race relations is). This effectively says you cannot respect anyone who is less smart than God Himself or whomever else you consider the supreme creator to be (should you believe in one). While we are on the subject of tolerating imperfections....saying that criticism of others equals insulting others effectively means: *You are disrespect others who make stupid mistakes (again, which is what the long history of racism is) Another tangent: This culture-implanted fear of being seen as stupid may very well explain our region's reluctance to try new things IN GENERAL, new things that can move the region forward. Trying new things inevitably will lead to some errors due to lack of experience in the new field). See April 6th Post on this thread, for more - particularly the paragraph starting with the phrase ìCreative Destructionî

Author
Philip
Date
2005-06-23T23:12:21-06:00
ID
78174
Comment

Thanks L.W., Philip, et al. Love and the truth can free us all and start the first chapter of Mississippi's new legacy : "Mississippi is Truly Turning." The door to the train is still open. We have the power to throw off the paralyzing disease of racism.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-06-24T07:43:33-06:00
ID
78175
Comment

Saddam gassed the Kurds and you lynched the Negro - Does someone really think the trail of one killer will wipe the blood from the hands of today's residents. My company looked at putting a plant in Miss. just 4 years ago and the fact-finding folks came back and said, " No Way, they still don't get it"

Author
Waly
Date
2005-06-24T07:57:58-06:00
ID
78176
Comment

No, Wally, we don't think that. We think and hope that our new coalitions, networks, truthtelling, honesty, love, diversity, democracy, et al, will eventually atone for some of the bloddy hands of the past. We're not blaming today's innocent residents for the sins of the past. But, I certainly will blame today's residents for the sins of today and much of the future. I hope we indict and convict today's guilty residents for the bloody sins of the past. I , also, hope that we will start to "do the right thing" in larger masses.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-06-24T08:09:51-06:00
ID
78177
Comment

I leftout justice inadvertently.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-06-24T08:14:04-06:00
ID
78178
Comment

Good luck! My limited Mississippi experience is fresh (2001). The " We have finally addressed our past and put it behind us" rhetoric was too much for me. Forgive me if I keep Mississippi of my places to visit, but the ignorance and bigotry we found when talking to prospective employees and the local government officials was not far from the (1960s) context of this news article. The recent news reports with interviews of the state's AG were enough to cause me to send him and the governor a letter and find this site. I must get to work now (8am PDT) and I feel better having "spoken" to a Mississipian.

Author
Waly
Date
2005-06-24T08:56:38-06:00
ID
78179
Comment

Ray, please attend the tentatively scheduled JFP Lounge on June 30th. I feel this meeting will be the beginning of a new coalition for all the things you speak of in the above post. For the 40 years I have been on this planet, I have felt shame for the ancestors in my home state and what they have done. For 40 years, there has been a heaviness in my chest and, at times, it has smothered me, consumed me with depression over the state of affairs in MS. While driving home yesterday and reflecting on all the conversation here on this site, I began to realize all that dialogue was beginning to eat away at that feeling that has been with me all my life. That shame (and sometimes depression) is being replaced with hope...hope for my home state. The tears began to flow. Today is a great, and I'm looking forward to the future.

Author
Steph
Date
2005-06-24T08:59:28-06:00
ID
78180
Comment

Waly, when you return, meet with the people you have "spoken" to here via the staff at Jackson Free Press. They know where to find the progressive communities and prospective employees. And we will try to help out you if you want to start a business here. Please visit this site often.

Author
Steph
Date
2005-06-24T09:03:52-06:00
ID
78181
Comment

I plan to be there. What time is it?

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-06-24T09:14:41-06:00
ID
78182
Comment

Ladd said we'd meet around 7 pm at the Oyster Bar in Hal and Mal's. I expect we will see a post on this site sometime soon.

Author
Steph
Date
2005-06-24T09:21:42-06:00
ID
78183
Comment

That's right, Steph. Remember, all, this isn't a formal meeting. It's a gathering of people to talk and socialize, but I sure do expect next week's Lounge to have at least a small group of people sitting around a table continuing this conversation. But even those who want to listen or have a different conversation altogether are welcome. Nothing formal here. Waly, please note that the main people blogging here, black and white, are not saying that this verdict wipes anything clean. That would be impossible. What we are trying to do, and have been doing here for almost three years now, is to have a conversation that will help us open doors to better understanding and love and even justice. It is very shortsighted to think that any one action will "solve" our problems. That's what my story above is all about. And we invite you to join the conversation. C.W. and L.W., thank you for your honest stories. I had a dear (white) friend tell me his shameful story last night about joining a group of young men in Jackson who harassed James Meredith at the Woolfolk building back in the '60s. I truly believe this is the time to talk even if it makes some people uncomfortable. Those people can work through their own issues, and I suspect that our having public conversations will help many of them do just that even if they resist in the beginning. Please consider this a safe place to talk as long as you respect the rules and do not engage in personal attacks of other individuals. Remember: There is never shame in being honest and compassionate. And it is exactly what our very wounded state needs to heal.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-06-24T09:30:56-06:00
ID
78184
Comment

I haven't forgotten that some ex-pats (tortoise, dreamtraveler) wanted to get together. And I'm anxious to hear Knol's plans for a Diversity Day at the Jackson Zoo.

Author
Steph
Date
2005-06-24T09:45:07-06:00
ID
78185
Comment

Waly, looks like you are on pacific time, right? California? Have you seen the recent film CRASH? I've heard it's very painful to watch, the race and class relations in Los Angeles. Just a thought. I moved to Miss. from Minn. two years ago. I do realize things won't change quickly here, but they sure won't if people like you hold on to your stereotypes. Open your mind, look beyond state government officials (please). Minnesota seems like a very friendly state with lots of benefits for minorites - well, it's not because of their attitudes. Well, maybe some. But mostly, it's because it's a wealthy state, and Mississippi is not. I'm just thinking here. There's history of course but it's not that simple. Come back and visit again. See some other types.

Author
sunshine
Date
2005-06-24T09:59:29-06:00
ID
78186
Comment

Mississippi verdict greeted by a generation gap: http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/comments.php?id=6485_0_9_0_C

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2005-06-24T10:43:36-06:00
ID
78187
Comment

Mississippi verdict greeted by a generation gap: http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0623/p01s03-ussc.html?s=u

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2005-06-24T10:43:50-06:00
ID
78188
Comment

Ignore the first link...I goofed! :-P

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2005-06-24T10:45:49-06:00
ID
78189
Comment

Sunshine - I will be signing off of this site - just came back from lunch and found many emails. Just a thought, before you attempt to defend the POOR folks in Mississippi vs the RICH people of Minnesota - you should know our owners are social activist. They have purposely expanded their operations (4 times in past 10 years) by selecting areas that are under-employed. My responsibility, as VP of personnel, is to be sure that when we select a location for a distribution facility that there is a literate and diverse workforce. Today less than 40% of our employees are of European decent. Based upon several site visits, we have a long list of potential sites but neither Mississippi nor South Carolina will be looked at soon for business purposes. As to the movie CRASH, I have seen it along with many others, which focus on injustice. I did not intend to attempt to justify our experience; my posting was just a way for me to let out some frustration at the news coverage of the recent ìcleansingî in Philadelphia. I wish you and everyone in Mississippi a quick restoration. Seattle is on PDT as well.

Author
Waly
Date
2005-06-24T13:29:16-06:00
ID
78190
Comment

Thank you for a wonderful article Donna. Sincerely yours, Stan Colenso Plentywood, MT

Author
butterat
Date
2005-06-25T09:21:37-06:00
ID
78191
Comment

Waly, if you ever look here again - I was thinking maybe you'd be Seattle, not LA. My daughter lives in LA now, so that just came to mind. What company is it you work for? Social activist, you are lucky. And it would be great to have such a company here. As for being frustrated about the news coverage - well, there has been and will be much good thought about this past week, - I hope you check out not just the major media. As for a literate and diverse workforce - well, we're ok on the diverse, right? The Literate-ness gap is part of the under funding of education here, and it's partly because companies like yours won't take a chance to invest here, so the tax base is inadequate. Hope most of those emails you got were friendly. Thanks for being here.

Author
sunshine
Date
2005-06-25T11:18:29-06:00
ID
78192
Comment

I have some pictures up of the alternate Memorial Service for Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner, if anyone is interested in looking at them. http://www.mississippipolitical.com/Alternate%20Memorial%20Service%202005/FrameSet.htm If Donna, BenG., SusanK. and anyone else reading will do me a favor and check it over for errors and to fill in some names that I am missing, I would be most grateful. Thanks, guys.

Author
C.W.
Date
2005-06-26T20:23:50-06:00
ID
78193
Comment

hey butte, Been a while since I've seen you.

Author
Philip
Date
2005-06-26T20:38:30-06:00
ID
78194
Comment

Hi, C.W. I think it's cool that you sung along with Hollis Watkins. I think he was the one that came to Tougaloo and taught us songs to sing for the Ayers protest. My favorite was "Steal Away to Jesus". I sung it at church once, and I think people were shocked that I knew the older version of it. Shirley Caesar came out with a slightly faster version not too long ago.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2005-06-26T20:53:27-06:00
ID
78195
Comment

Hollis Watkins is a true hero and one of my favorites. I have told him this more times than I can count. I met him on my first job after graduating from Tougaloo at the Emergency Land Fund, an organization that tried to curtail the southern black land loss problem. Hollis is a brave, smart, and dedicated brother who was on the front line during Mississippi's fight for Civil Rights. As I understand it, he spent lots of time in the McComb area (Bomb City USA) and all over Mississippi. He was a Tougaloo student just as Lawrence Guyot. Hollis took me to Chicago for my first time and is the biggest reason I respect the Muslims. What I also find thrilling is that Hollis is not a man of large frame and was even smaller back then; yet, he took on Jim Crow with very little fear that resulted in being thrown in jail and even Parchman, I believe. I love Hollis Watkins and need to reconnect with him. I don't know where his new office is located yet.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-06-27T07:26:59-06:00
ID
78196
Comment

Yes, Mr. Watkins rocks. He's one of the many Mississippi heroes I have been honored to meet, and in this case sing with. We are very lucky in this state to have living history everywhere we turn if we will pay attention. ;-)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-06-27T09:09:10-06:00
ID
78197
Comment

May justice be done in this case and all others. My apology to all for losing it for a brief moment. I'm out but still on the team with the rest of y'all. Peace and love.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-06-27T09:37:04-06:00
ID
78198
Comment

Jerry Mitchell did a story today that I had thought about doing and not gotten around to yet ó about Meridian's role in the slayings of Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner. I had also talked to Stanley Dearman last week about his frustration at Meridian state legislators who didn't want their section of Highway 19 renamed in the men's honor: In recent months, the Legislature voted to rename part of Mississippi 19 after the three who were killed along that road. While Neshoba County lawmakers spearheaded the renaming in their area, Lauderdale County lawmakers opposed renaming the highway in their county, saying it was already named Veterans' Highway. Stanley Dearman, who worked at The Meridian Star and later ran The Neshoba Democrat, said Lauderdale County has long focused on the sins of Neshoba County to avoid talking about its own. "That's my hometown," Dearman said of Meridian. "That's one reason I feel so strongly they should face up to their responsibility and stop pointing the finger at Neshoba County and face the fact the plot (to kill the trio) was conceived in Meridian, voted on in Meridian and carried out mostly by people in Meridian." Glad to see this out there. Ben Chaney has some good things to say about Meridian finally trying to come to terms with its own civil rights history as well.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-06-27T11:03:17-06:00
ID
78199
Comment

What's next for Mississippi? one word - Nothing. It's admirable that people think that this is a new day for Mississippi but speaking as a white woman, the reality is, it won't change the minds of those in control. Racism is Mississippi. may Killen rot or get stabbed to death in prison. Amen.

Author
chickjuice
Date
2005-06-27T11:37:01-06:00
ID
78200
Comment

Chickjuice, you're giving me whiplash. First, you didn't want Killen to go to prison at all because he's too old. Now you want him to get stabbed to death in prison? Perhaps there is a middle ground. Personally, I think his worst punishment is having to die of old age sitting in prison without his wife cooking dinner for him everyday. Also, you keep arguing something that hasn't been asserted here to my knowledgeóthat people here are saying that the Killen verdict alone means a "new day" for Mississippi. It's called a "straw man" fallacy when you set up an argument on behalf of other people and then beat the dickens out of it to prove you're right even though the "straw man" itself was inaccurate. Please note that you're arguing with yourself on this one.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-06-27T11:42:05-06:00
ID
78201
Comment

ladd said "What we are trying to do, and have been doing here for almost three years now, is to have a conversation that will help us open doors to better understanding and love and even justice." When you open those doors don't forget about the blood on the floor. Justice is this case is a misnomer.

Author
chickjuice
Date
2005-06-27T11:42:11-06:00
ID
78202
Comment

Justice is this case is a misnomer. chickjuice, you've made your point repeatedly now. Please stop hammering the same thing over and over again. That is trolling, and it disrupts discussion. As I've asked you already, please calm down a bit and just talk about issues. You deliver everything with a sledgehammer. Please stop doing that.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-06-27T11:44:37-06:00
ID
78203
Comment

ladd- Talk to people around Jackson. Most of the blacks that I talk to think justice was done and it is in fact a "new day"....to them. So I'm arguing against that notion whether people on this site agree or not. Straw Man be damned. I can't do anything about the verdict now, but I'm still against sending a senior citizen to prison 40 years later. But now that he's going, I'm hoping for his quick demise. I also think it is counter-productive towards the mending of races in Mississippi. That hasn't changed. I'm in an interracial relationship. Only those like me can understand what I'm saying here. This verdict alone is enough to make any level-headed human being in 2005 puke. Some people get off on making others suffer regardless of age. I can't do anything about that either. But what I can do is speak to those who are blinded by this ruling in hopes they won't step into the proverbial sh*t again going forward while they scream "Justice has been served!"

Author
chickjuice
Date
2005-06-27T11:54:21-06:00
ID
78204
Comment

Most of the blacks that I talk to think justice was done and it is in fact a "new day"....to them. So I'm arguing against that notion whether people on this site agree or not. That is the most interesting thing I've heard you say, yet. We could probably squeeze some good discussion out of that point. However, you didn't start out talking about that; thus, my "trolling" comment. You've come across here as if you are just trying to disagree with everyone, or be disagreeable or, at some points, just plain ugly. However, this posting is probably your most interesting yet because you're explaining what you're trying to say. As the moderator and owner of the site, that's what I'm trying to get you to do so that it doesn't devolve into a fight with everyone missing the points you were trying to make. I want you to post here; I believe you have a lot to say. Just listen to my advice a bit, being that you're not used to this kind of forum. That doesn't mean you agree with my ideas, but I can give you advice on how to discuss here if you'll allow me to and what fallacy traps to avoid. And, like with everyone else, I will warn you when you go too far down an incendiary path. I need you to heed those warnings in order to participate here. See User Agreement reminders here. Otherwise, this is an interesting postóespecially that you believe "most" black people think the verdict means that "justice was done" and that is it a "new day." I actually haven't heard anyone say that, other than speculation in the media, but what do others think about that? Is this a prevailing idea in the black community?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-06-27T12:04:15-06:00
ID
78205
Comment

ladd said "I actually haven't heard anyone say that, other than speculation in the media, but what do others think about that? Is this a prevailing idea in the black community?" I'd say so. Black guys/girls come over to our house all the time to hang out with us and Will and we always get into arguments on whether justice was done or not. We say "no", they say "yes" with a "It's about time" added on. Not only that, most of our black friends think voting is a huge waste of time. But I can only go by the black people that I know or come across that say this case was "justice". The word itself needs to be scrapped pertaining to this case.

Author
chickjuice
Date
2005-06-27T13:20:25-06:00
ID
78206
Comment

I'm mildly amused and generally interested in all of these references to "outsiders." I don't think we here in the state of New York have this kind of mentality, let alone New York City. We get dissed all the time by the rest of America! Anyway, this was a great article-- very detailed, which I appreciate. I was recently talking to a man from North Carolina, and he drew a comparison between lynchings and other "old wounds" in the south, and racism that still takes place on a daily basis TODAY in the north, such as when unarmed black men are shot down by police who are acquitted of the charges. So we can't exactly cast the first stone. People in the north like to point to people in the south, and people in the south like to point to people in the past. But racism here and now is what people have the problem with.

Author
outsider
Date
2005-06-28T12:31:17-06:00
ID
78207
Comment

Ladd: [quote]Otherwise, this is an interesting postóespecially that you believe "most" black people think the verdict means that "justice was done" and that is it a "new day." I actually haven't heard anyone say that, other than speculation in the media, but what do others think about that? Is this a prevailing idea in the black community?[/quote] In a mad rush so pardon if this fails to translate... In my circles (mixed -- white, black, and shades between and straight and gay), everyone agrees justice was finally served. Most have said something similar to a new day. But, when they speak of this "new day", it's not a "water under the bridge" comment. From our conversations, it usually refers to putting this to sleep finally (a.k.a. closure) and moving on to other cases and/or present day ills in our community. All the people I know (in and out of state) celebrate the jury's decision. Most also know this does not solve any current/existing problems. It's simply a victory for the families, the state, and finally burying a skeleton that's been in the closet for too long... Just because one says "It's a new day" does not mean problems don't still exist or that the person making that comment is naive to present-day problems. But it is a new day in Mississippi's history -- for better or worse -- whether you agree or not. A page has been turned.

Author
kaust
Date
2005-06-28T13:07:23-06:00
ID
78208
Comment

outsider, funny that you mention racism in the North. Points about the North's own closeted and not-so-closeted racism were made the other night over cocktails with a group I work with. A man that lived in the NYC metro for years relayed many issues he had to deal with as a Cuban, gay man... He also made points similar to yours about the police and the way young, black men were treated. He stressed overall there was an extreme sense of xenophobia as well. We all agreed that racism exists throughout the US and was not limited to the South or Mississippi (based on travels and experience with "outsiders")... Whether it's against Hispanics and Asians on the West Coast or immigrants and Blacks on the East Coast. It's everywhere. We concluded that the difference between the South and most reginos of the US was that the South is actually dealing with it... Discussing it... Learning from it... Trying to put it behind us and to also shake these skeletons from the closets where they've been sitting comfortably for decades. We've actually come A LONG WAY (whether anyone would like to believe it or not) though our biggest hurdle is class-related issues (classism) which may appear to be racism to some and has its roots in the racism that has permeated Southern culture for its long, sordid history.

Author
kaust
Date
2005-06-28T13:19:47-06:00
ID
78209
Comment

A friend of mine who has traveled the world a bit was describing NYC to me this past weekend. He said that segregation is alive and well. EVERY culture lives separately (polish, irish, asians, cuban, italians, blacks, etc.) in there own areas of the city. Many of them dislike other groups for whatever reason. And with a few exceptions of course, most stick to there own turf. I have no other frame of reference. Is this an accurate picture?

Author
Steph
Date
2005-06-28T14:09:21-06:00
ID
78210
Comment

Steph, there are distinct ghettoes for many cultures/races/classes including Little Italy, China Town, and even Chelsea (a gay ghetto) in NYC. Every time I go, I can't help but feel there's more segregation even though it's not forced and not nearly as aggressive as you'd think when you hear the word "segregation"... Tends to happen in many large cities like NY including San Francisco, Chicago, L.A., etc. It's moreso "birds of a feather" than racism but the isolation tends to lead to very interesting attitudes about neighboring communities and cultures. Reminds of the Jackson vs. Pearl attitude. You could say it [ghetto-ization] is starting to happen in the metro in small but noticeable increments... There are neighborhoods like Fondren that are popular with gays and liberals (and a few Republicans married to liberals)... There are areas in South Jackson that have Hispanic, Asian, and Indian (not American Indian) influence near Terry and 80. Hell, Pearl even has a Mexican/Hispanic ghetto (of sorts) much to the chagrin of some. Madison has a pretty organized Asian community as well. They're small and by no means exclusive but they're beginning to form. It's not necessarily an evil since it provides a sense of culture and security for a group of people that are alike but often leads to isolation from what I've witnessed and in my opinion... But I'm not studied sociologist or culture vulture so that's my sole opinion.

Author
kaust
Date
2005-06-28T14:50:12-06:00
ID
78211
Comment

Thanks, Knol. It seems that no matter how great our understanding is of other cultures, we will still "flock" together with people of like ancestry, interests, etc. And that's OK. I guess what the "old guard" needs to know about this "new day" is that we aren't trying to take anything from them, just ask that they respect other cultures and those cultures' right to everything good about society that they (the old puds) have enjoyed their entire lives.

Author
Steph
Date
2005-06-28T15:03:33-06:00
ID
78212
Comment

I'm mildly amused and generally interested in all of these references to "outsiders." Careful, outsider, being "mildly amused" at Mississippians is the first thing that will get you branded an "outsider" in these parts. ;-D I don't think we here in the state of New York have this kind of mentality, let alone New York City. We get dissed all the time by the rest of America! You do, indeed. But from my experience of living there four times, I can definitely say that some anti-southern stereotyping happens in those parts as well. I was very frustrated in graduate school at some of that. And I've always dodged faulty assumption about myself because of where I was from. Tough enough dealing with stereotypes about the state; try graduating from NESHOBA Central High School and see how people react. That's not really the point, though. Or maybe it is. For the most part, the discussion above is about the "outsider" excuse, and the fact that there is prejudice everywhere ó but so the hell what? That doesn't ever excuse it, or especially the legacy this state, as an entity, has of acting on it to hurt many of our people. We have to be careful about the "outsider" excuse around here; it's used way too often to excuse our own problems. It might amuse you to know that my critics here call me things like "cultural carpetbagger" because I moved away and came back. I still have red dirt under my toenails, and I'm somehow a carpetbagger. That one's really delicious. Deliciously stupid. ;-) Anyway, this was a great article-- very detailed, which I appreciate. Thanks! I was recently talking to a man from North Carolina, and he drew a comparison between lynchings and other "old wounds" in the south, and racism that still takes place on a daily basis TODAY in the north, such as when unarmed black men are shot down by police who are acquitted of the charges. So we can't exactly cast the first stone. True; certainly the police brutality in NY aimed toward people of color during Rudy times is a good example. People in the north like to point to people in the south, and people in the south like to point to people in the past. But racism here and now is what people have the problem with. Agreed. As I said, the fact that is exists somewhere else should have nothing to do with our postage stamp and its need of repair. Funny, though, how many journalists come here looking for Klansmen and seem so befuddled that racism could still exist, as if they've never seen it back home. Or maybe they just never noticed it. Didn't they used to call that "Afghanistanism" back in the '60s when the NY Times would report about southern race problems but not that Harlem mothers were rioting to get a crossing guard to help their children get to school safely?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-06-28T16:32:08-06:00
ID
78213
Comment

anyone heard from Waly? regarding recent posts (Ladd, I did enjoy your 'Chickjuice, you're giving me whiplash' comment yesterday btw, a little humor is a good thing), New York, LA (as I mentioned to Waly), Minneapolis (even!), endless accounts of daily discrimination, police shootings and chases. "as if they've never seen it back home" for sure. Does anyone recall that story of a Hmong man who was shot dead by hunters for allegedly 'looking threatening' while unknowingly trespassing on property in Wisc. last winter? No need to belabor the point but it is tiresome, what people just assume. But still, long way to go.

Author
sunshine
Date
2005-06-28T17:25:47-06:00
ID
78214
Comment

That I do remember, sunshine. In northern Wisconsin, if i recall correctly. Speaking of Wisconsin, I understand it has the widest ratio gap in poverty rates between white males and black females of all the 50 states (with Iowa and, sorry sunshine but Minnesota not too far behind). I'll find the data again if you want me too, but it's enough to know that only 2 southern states were in the top 10 (GA and SC). Strangely enough, given TX reputation, it was among the ten SMALLEST gaps percentage-wise (Hawaii had THE smallest, i believe).

Author
Philip
Date
2005-06-28T17:41:44-06:00
ID
78215
Comment

Well, statistics don't say everything! Wisc. does have the great Feingold and Baldwin. And Ga. has the great McKinney and Lewis (mentioned on a different thread I think unless I'm lost again..) and Iowa has Harkin. Meanwhile, Texas has (I need a sad smiley here) Delay but also (I need a good smiley here) Sheila Jackson Lee. I won't continue, point is , well - what? ha. Part of the gap in those states might be hmmm, technology type jobs. But, what about the level of support or safety net? Well, Wisc. did have TThompson for gov, to dismantle welfare. Perhaps we can just say, there is not good fair way to compare states, though there are some publications that try to .

Author
sunshine
Date
2005-06-28T18:51:05-06:00
ID
78216
Comment

I've been trying for a couple of days to make my graceful if not triumphant exit. Since triumphant is a little too surreal and hopeful, I'll stick to graceful. A famous man once said "race" would be the problem of the 20th Centurry. Perhaps he should have said "race has been and will always be the problem of every century." I wonder if anybody knows this any better than a black male. I'll leave with a true story tahat occurred in Dubuos, Wyoming three years ago. Here about 40 lawyers agreed to meet to bond and talk about how to represent the damned - defendant accused of terrible crimes and were facing the death penalty. All we talked we discover many of us had lots of pain and hurt from past and current relationships. There was one white woman who looked unusually sad. During our second day of nine, she started to tell us of her pain, anguish and damage mostly from her own family for marrying a black man. No matter what we talked about she couldn't shake the subject. Lots of people wounded up disliking her because they felt a person must handle the hand they're dealt or should'nt voluntarily take the hand. At one point, I (one of two blacks in attendance) had to play a husband to another wonderful white female. I whispered in her ear that I couldn't believe I got to play her husband. She smiled and said nothing. Everything turned out well. On the ninth day as we were leaving she said to me "let me show you a picture of my family." To my shock I saw a black husband and mixed daughter. The second lady had heard all of the talk and saw all of the pain but said nothing. She didn't have to verbally say anything. I was fortunate enough to see both misery and triump to the race issue at this conference. God bless and good luck to y'all.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-06-29T08:12:11-06:00
ID
78217
Comment

Don't you dare leave, Ray. Thank you for everything you do. You live the change and the fight for justice while so many of us just talk about.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-06-29T10:18:37-06:00
ID
78218
Comment

Ray was that one of Gerry Spence's seminars in Wyoming?

Author
buckallred
Date
2005-06-29T11:03:53-06:00
ID
78219
Comment

I really am trying to leave. I apologixe for my many errors in the story. Still too impatient to proofread before submitting. Your guess is correct Buck! You should go if you get a chance. But don't go if you can't open up. There is much more to this story that I won't tell yet. I have had follow ups with both women. Remember, however, I didn't really write this story. The two women did. I just witnessed and passed some of it along. The story wasn't staged and nobody knew it was coming. The strange thing is that misery and triumph both were in the room but misery never met or recognized triumph. For a brief moment I was offended that everywhere I went within the city white people looked at and stared at me. Then it occurred to me that those white people weren't used to seeing black folks. After that I was alright. Even better, we went out to eat one night at a club and bar place. Country music was playing and I wounded up liking it although i didn't particularly like it before. Perhaps I hadn't listened well before. I was the only black person in the whole place. A young white lady walked up to me and I walked away. She did it again and I finally talked to her. She wounded up tell me her life story and how she wanted to work in the legal field but hadn't succeeded. I recommended her to Jerry. A second white lady who came to the clud with a group asked me to dance. I hurriedly declined. Seconds later, a white male walked up to me and said "dance with her she's a real nice person." I won't tell whether I did or not.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-06-29T11:29:43-06:00
ID
78220
Comment

I would love to attend one of his seminars, that sounds great. I have read several of Gerry Spence' books; he is a great man. I had an experience with an attorney who is almost as well-known as Mr. Spence in that I got to clerk for a summer at Willie Gary's office. It was an amazing experience, from start to finish. There were 15 law clerks, only 2 of which were white. So on many, many occasions that summer I was the only white person in the group, sometimes in crowds of several hundred. It was an experience I had never had, being 'in the minority,' the minority by a long shot as it were. Mr. Gary very generously flew all the law clerks with his firm to the National Bar Association's convention that year in San Francisco, where we had a great time. I even got to party with TV's Judge Mathis! He invited me and "the other white law clerk" to a private party with the admonition (jokingly) to "just tell everyone you're mixed." It was great fun and a brilliant experience. Mr. Gary is a brilliant and generous individual and a true leader. He is the Chairman of the Black Family Channel, an urban interests cable network. That channel will never play music videos or other content that glorify violence, drugs, etc., which is a rare and admirable thing. While MTV and BET play this sort of content and reap the profits from doing so, Mr. Gary is putting his money where his mouth is and refuses to play that garbage. A true leader!

Author
buckallred
Date
2005-06-29T12:19:04-06:00
ID
78221
Comment

For those interested, www.williegary.com is his website.

Author
buckallred
Date
2005-06-29T12:20:10-06:00
ID
78222
Comment

Buck I know all about Willie Gary. One of his picture decorate the wall of my house. So too do pictures of Johnnie Cochran and Jerry Spence. I have a picture of Jerry and me with Jerry wearing my trademark cap. I knew you knew Willie Gary. That's how I knew you were a lawyer. I have met all three of my favorite lawyers many times. Before coming back to Mississippi i worked for State Farm Insurance during civil law. I was always in the minority. Once about four of us guys went to a party in Dallas. We were used to going to white clubs and feeling in place. One night, Roger Drushell and I, convinced two white men to go to a black club with us. As we walked through the door all of the black patrons stopped still and watched us. The white boys were scared and were hanging on to us like five year olds. We said "get you weak asses away from us and go over and asked one of the black ladies to dance." They said "hell no, do you see how everybody is looking at us." We said "yeah, we see it, but get your sorry ass over there and do it anyway." Believe it or not, they both did, and before long they were dancing and having a good time. They thanked us and told us they now understand. This story makes me laugh to this day.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-06-29T12:41:26-06:00
ID
78223
Comment

For clarity, Roger and I, didn't refer to our white friends as "weak" or "sorry" because of their races, we did it to trick or inveigle them against turning back. It worked. My friends and I still use these kinds of tricks to motivate each other to this day.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-06-29T13:24:02-06:00
ID
78224
Comment

No, no, I understand; while in San Fran with Willie's firm Willie threw a black-tie party. So while we (the law clerk guys) were putting on our tuxedos for the party, I said with a straight face "Well I hope noone gets upset about my matching confederate flag tie & cummerbund." About 2 seconds of silence occurred before we all burst out into laughter, with one of the other clerks telling me "I don't think I would wear that one to THIS party if I were you, Buck!" Really funny stuff.

Author
buckallred
Date
2005-06-29T13:31:18-06:00
ID
78225
Comment

We would all be better off if we stepped out of our shoes and into the shoes of someone else for a moment. I have a confession about the confederate flag, too. Before I started working for Sate Farm Insurance I worked for the Texas Employment Commissiom, determining whether people get unemployment benefits or not. A young white man about 18 or 19 came to our office riding a bike with a big confederate flag on it. The two people who could decide whether he got benefits or not were both black, Hareld and me. Everybody was getting service but him for several hours. Finally, he walked up to me and said everybody is getting helped but me. I, and one of the security guys told him that the flag may have something to do with it. I was struck by how nice the young man was. I saw no hatred or obvious racism in him. I liked him rather instantly and was surprised he had that flag. He went home, left the flag and returned. Upon his return, he motioned to let me know he had returned. I pulled him to the front of the line and gave him everything he deserved and probably more. I misjudged him. I know that everybody who loves that flag ain't racist or a hater of black folks. But, I, also, know that lots of people who do embrace that flag are, in fact, racist. I can't tell the difference until I talk to and get to know them, so, I, like many black folks, err on the side of caution and conclude they likely are racist if bearing that symbol.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-06-29T14:17:44-06:00
ID
78226
Comment

I can relate to this. I worked with a temp who had a mobile phone with the Rebel flag on it and played Dixie when it rang. Most of the people in the department were black, so they did assume she was racist. However, they learned over time how sweet she was. She'd talk you to death, too, and was a very hard worker. I met her twin, and she was just as nice. Sadly, there were a few who still did not deal with her. For whatever reason, I didn't assume she was racist. I saw how she behaved at first and went from there. I think that some people honor the Confederate flag because they feel that they have nothing else to be proud of, especially if they are less fortunate. Maybe if a person is dirt poor and they know that an ancestor fought in the Confederate Army, they feel like they have to memorialize it. Just a theory...

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2005-06-29T14:29:03-06:00
ID
78227
Comment

For the record, I do not own a confederate flag tie and cummerbund set. . although I know that such cutting-edge fashion accessories do exist.

Author
buckallred
Date
2005-06-29T15:01:05-06:00
ID
78228
Comment

Ray, why would you be thinking of leaving? Your stories are wonderful. Sounds like you could write a book. And regarding the confederate flag, your comments were insightful and generous.

Author
sunshine
Date
2005-06-29T15:28:20-06:00
ID
78229
Comment

I kinda figured that, Buck. As Charlie Brown would say, "Don't you know sarcasm when you hear it?"

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2005-06-29T15:34:00-06:00
ID
78230
Comment

LW: I think that some people honor the Confederate flag because they feel that they have nothing else to be proud of, especially if they are less fortunate Philip: As native white Deltan, I can assure you thereís more to it than that, though not in a way much more flattering than the ìthe rebel flag isnít racistî line. I surmise that, in the minds of a lot of whites, itís simply a way of honoring things they love to see as (implicitly) distinctly ìdownhomeî Southern [1] supposedly, relative to everywhere else - a slower pace of life, more tightly-knit communities, community pride, more ìcommon sense orientedî, more God-fearing , more family oriented, yadda yadda yadda, you know the rest). Itís simply part of the modern Southern mythology, one that ìneedsî a symbol to encapsule these beliefs[2] To ìstealî Donnaís phrase, itís sort of like a ìnaÔve nostalgiaî - only itís delusion about the present instead of the past. [1] Supposedly, relative to everywhere else - a slower pace of life, more tightly-knit communities, community pride, more ìcommon sense orientedî, more God-fearing , more family oriented, yadda yadda yadda, you know the rest. Not that they stop to consider that Nebraska and rural Pennsylvania have just as strong a claim to these things as well -- much less Canadaís Prairie Provinces and small-town Australia. [2]Sort of like waving the Stars and Stripes in the spirit that says ìWe are the free-est country in the world!î -- never mind that LOTS of other countries are just as free, democratic, and at least somewhat prosperous -- especially since the end of WW2, and even more so since the collapse of Communism.

Author
Philip
Date
2005-06-29T16:00:02-06:00
ID
78231
Comment

I'm not known for hanging around the same place too long. I have to be free in order to freely flow, see, think, and evaluate problems and circumstances, especially my own. My mind, if not my body, has to hang where the buffaloes roam in order to be all it can be. I also have to move about to keep from appearing to dominate as I can be passionate and truculent in my beliefs. Jacksonguy was right in that assessment of me. My saving grace is that wisdom has taught me that even wisdom at some point becomes vanity. And I know love is greater than hate. I, also, have to move about so that I can hear voices other than my own. I know this sounds like a bunch of bull^#&$. Maybe it is, and maybe it ain't. Leaving for me is only breaking. Although I'm patently against habitually backing up, events and things have caused me to go back and forth many times.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-06-29T16:17:08-06:00
ID
78232
Comment

Ray, will we see you tomorrow night at Hal and Mal's??

Author
Steph
Date
2005-06-29T16:26:55-06:00
ID
78233
Comment

Well, I just think Philip and Ray should write a book. Together. Won't say more, so I don't sound silly. But I bet everyone knows what I mean. Well, most everyone. (winking smiley here).

Author
sunshine
Date
2005-06-29T16:33:42-06:00
ID
78234
Comment

Ray's leaving? Sad - hate to see you go, Ray; I've enjoyed so much of what you've had to say (especially the passionate and truculent parts). :-) And I was enjoying the back and forth between Ray and Buck - saw a different side of both of them during that exchange. Stay well, Ray, and we'll leave the light on (in hopes you'll be back).

Author
C.W.
Date
2005-06-29T20:10:39-06:00
ID
78235
Comment

Well, Ray, hate to see you go. Your comments were enlightening, to say the least. It was also great having a fellow Tougaloo Eagle/Bulldog around. :-) I won't say goodbye - just "see ya later".

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2005-06-29T20:43:47-06:00
ID
78236
Comment

Since my earlier remark did in fact sound silly ( no one is perfect they do say) - let me put it this way: Ray, please come back often. If leaving is only breaking.., that seems like a way back. It's good to read your voice here. You obviously speak to a lot of us.

Author
sunshine
Date
2005-06-29T21:00:15-06:00
ID
78237
Comment

Not tonight Steph but some day. Sorry for going back on my word.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-06-30T11:23:36-06:00
ID
78238
Comment

I just saw this reference in The Clarion-Ledger to this JFP story. Surprised they didn't follow their typical policy and edit out references to us.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-01T11:28:12-06:00
ID
78239
Comment

How cool is this blog entry/photo? Go, Kate.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-01T11:34:46-06:00
ID
78240
Comment

Well, Donna, at least they acknowledged that the paper exists. :-

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2005-07-01T11:37:48-06:00
ID
78241
Comment

Yeah, but you know we only have three or four readersóall pinko hippies sipping latte in Fondrenówhat do they have to be worried about? LOFL

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-01T11:43:28-06:00
ID
78242
Comment

Saw the blog, and I must say... GO KATE...IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY...GET BUSY...(doing the Tootsie Roll, followed by the Vanilla Ice)

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2005-07-01T11:50:54-06:00
ID
78243
Comment

Maybe worth a new thread: Only 47 percent of Neshoba county residents supported the Killen retrial, according to the Southern Research Group. I know this is better than the 42 percent figure the Beckwith trial got, but this is still pretty damned depressing. Cheers anyway, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-07-05T17:26:40-06:00
ID
78244
Comment

I just read that story, Tom. Interesting the way you frame it: "only 49 percent." I don't disagree with your frame, but it is starkly different from The Clarion Ledger's refer for the story: Almost half in Neshoba survey favored trial in '64 killings Changing attitudes in Neshoba County helped lead to the conviction of reputed Klan leader Edgar Ray Killen on June 21, residents say It's also a textbook example of how no media is objective. It is so easy to show bias; of course, to me, it's worse to hide your bias, but that certainly is a different topic. Don't discuss here! ;-)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-05T17:33:11-06:00
ID
78245
Comment

I had the same thought as Tom; it is strange how differently different people can look at the same set of facts.

Author
C.W.
Date
2005-07-05T17:48:21-06:00
ID
78246
Comment

Indeed. There are two polar-opposite letters in the JFP tomorrow about the lynching resolution. It certainly shows the two Mississippis, so to speak.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-05T17:55:18-06:00
ID
78247
Comment

Donna, agreed. I think the C-L is trying to put a positive spin on things, and it is progress from the Beckwith polling I guess, but jeez, more than half of Neshoba county residents didn't support putting an unrepentant murderer on trial? WTF? Every now and then I get lulled into this sense that Mississippi isn't so bad on the racism front, and then I read a poll like that and it wakes me up. I'm just glad I live in Jackson. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-07-05T18:08:02-06:00
ID
78248
Comment

Some of those letters to the editor that have appeared in the Clarion Ledger in the last week have been downright scary. I did enjoy the one from the woman in Florida who was going off about "intruders" in Mississippi (during the 60's). Ha ha ha. Leave it to those ole outsiders from Florida!

Author
C.W.
Date
2005-07-05T18:10:23-06:00
ID
78249
Comment

Now, I must add, this is a major accomplishment over the Neshoba County I grew up in, where you couldn't talk about this case openly. So let's give credit where it's due. But it sure proves that this isn't, in any way, healed or even understood by most Mississippians. It shows that the glass is half full, and that's good, but there's much further to go. And I've been saying about this case, it provides an opening for doing thatónot closure. I wonder how it would poll in Jackson, or at least North Jackson, Madison and the Rankin 'burbs. Remember those editorials in the Northside Sun and the excuses for slavery. I'm not so sure we should be celebratin' in our 'hood just yet.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-05T18:13:02-06:00
ID
78250
Comment

Also, Tom, I should add that I heard no oneóexcept maybe James McIntyre in his closing statementsósay anything as backward as I've heard snippets of Larry Nesbit saying about this case. And that's our neck o' the woods. Of course, not everyone is that man, thankfully. But there is a lot of row to hoe here, yet.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-05T18:14:28-06:00
ID
78251
Comment

Agreed, but I think we'd do a heck of a lot better than 47 percent! Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-07-05T18:17:35-06:00
ID
78252
Comment

Maybe. I'm not sure we would in, say, the Northside Sun readership area. At least they don't think we would; why else would they write the stuff they do, as if every white person in Jackson is scared to death of young black men and crime in the inner-city "jungle"? Of course, I realize that the readership there is aging fast and that younger Jacksonians, of all races, are much less likely to buy the apologism (or probably bother to spend 50 cents on a bland rag like that). But it does make me wonder.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-05T18:33:46-06:00
ID
78253
Comment

Hmmm. Isn't the Northside Sun readership mainly suburban these days? I haven't really checked. And anyway, I think there's a huge difference between buying hook, line, and sinker into the Gangs of Scary Black Men motif and thinking that white murderers should get a statute of limitations if their victims happened to be civil rights workers. That's a whole nother breed of cat. Where you see the latter you're going to see the former, but I'd like to think the reverse isn't true. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-07-05T18:43:48-06:00
ID
78254
Comment

True. I think you're right; I hope you are. But, still, it's amazing how many of these old-timers believe *most* people still feel that way.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-05T18:46:18-06:00
ID
78255
Comment

*nod* Tells us a lot of people are having conversations in private that they don't have the guts to have in public... Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-07-05T20:15:02-06:00
ID
78256
Comment

What everyone is missing about the poll results is it does not disclose the reason people may oppose or be for prosecution. This poll was done months before the indictment and trial. As a Neshoba County citizen for 56 years, I can attest that most of my community did not talk about the murders...I can also attest that most of the people who opposed the trial were not taking that position because they were sympathetic to Killen or his hateful bigotry but because they honestly thought it would be bad to "bring up" this horror from the past. What they failed to realize was that trying Killen for his role in the murder/domestic terrorism was not bringing anything back up...that, in reality, it was and is always there and a part of who we are, whether we like it or not. In truth, the jury's verdict has now freed people to more openly discuss the trial and their feelings about the conviction. They no longer have to be concerned with how people would react if they said they for the prosecution because the jury verdict has removed that burden. For over 30 years I have advocated prosecution but it was not until a guilty verdict was announced that complete strangers approached me to discuss the trial and their agreement with the outcome. If you want to know about our community as truly represented by the jury, I urge you to read the July 6th piece by one of the jurors, Warren Paprocki, that is at www.latimes.com There is also a link to it online at MS Political News Watch.

Author
fbd2
Date
2005-07-06T10:08:34-06:00
ID
78257
Comment

fbd2, thanks for sharing that. I always wanted to hear from one of the jurors, and I like how he summed it all up with the Golden Rule. I'm sure this was not easy for any of the jurors, and I admire their courage. I'm just thankful that they were able to get a conviction.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2005-07-08T10:54:14-06:00
ID
78258
Comment

Amen, L.W. Cool article, wasn't it?

Author
C.W.
Date
2005-07-08T12:22:42-06:00
ID
78259
Comment

Today, Rita Schwerner Bender has a great letter to Barbour in the Ledge. Kudos for them for allowing her space to lay out all this in one place, in a way that has seldom been done in mass media in the state. She talks in some detail about the issues she and others raised in this story above. I'm glad to see details of the state conspiracy getting out there finally. This is important stuff for people to understand.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-17T07:33:12-06:00
ID
78260
Comment

Donna Ladd's Chaney this and Chaney that makes me sick to my stomach! BEN CHANEY MASS MURDERER/SERIAL KILLER Driven by racism and a thirst for "adventure," the black gunmen shot and wounded three white college students in Durham, North Carolina, on April 15, 1970, rolling on from there to murder another Caucasian, J.J. Bowles, at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on May 3. On May 14, in Boca Raton, they commandeered a car with two white co-eds on the campus of Florida Atlantic University, shooting both victims to death and dumping their corpses in some nearby woods. Six days later, in Hardeeville, South Carolina, they murdered the white owner of a roadside vegetable stand, wounding his clerk before the young man returned fire, killing Thompson on the spot. A police roadblock stopped the fugitive vehicle forty miles north of the crime scene , and Martin was arrested, along with another black New Yorker, 17-year-old Ben Chaney, Jr. Both were charged with various slayings in the crime spree, and Chaney was convicted of the Nardeeville murder on November 24, despite claims he was "mentally disturbed" by his brother's death, six years earlier, at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan. Rutrell was convicted of murder in South Carolina and sentenced to prison, with trials pending on other felony charges in North Carolina and Florida. A child of New York City, born in 1955, Rutrell was 15 years old when he joined accomplice L.L. Thompson, 20, in a five-week murder tour of Dixie. Driven by racism and a thirst for "adventure," the black gunmen shot and wounded three white college students in Durham, North Carolina, on April 15, 1970, rolling on from there to murder another Caucasian, J.J. Bowles, at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on May 3. On May 14, in Boca Raton, they commandeered a car with two white co-eds on the campus of Florida Atlantic University, shooting both victims to death and dumping their corpses in some nearby woods. Six days later, in Hardeeville, South Carolina, they murdered the white owner of a roadside vegetable stand, wounding his clerk before the young man returned fire, killing Thompson on the spot. A police roadblock stopped the fugitive vehicle forty miles north of the crime scene , and Martin was arrested, along with another black New Yorker, 17-year-old Ben Chaney, Jr. Both were charged with various slayings in the crime spree, and Chaney was convicted of the Nardeeville murder on November 24, despite claims he was "mentally disturbed" by his brother's death, six years earlier, at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan. Rutrell was convicted of murder in South Carolina and sentenced to prison, with trials pending on other felony charges in North Carolina and Florida. WHY ISNT THIS FREAK IN JAIL...HE GETS 3 LIFE SENTANCES,BARELY AVOIDS THE ELECTRIC CHAIR,I WONDER WHY THIS WAS OVERLOOKED AT THE TRIAL PRESS COVERAGE

Author
Cajie
Date
2005-07-17T14:45:55-06:00
ID
78261
Comment

I don't know that it was overlooked; it's just not particularly relevant to the current case. Mr. Chaney's past in no way negates anything that Mr. Killen did to his brother. Also, the answer to your question, I believe, is that his sentence was commuted by the U.S. attorney general. But he did serve time. Someone correct me if I'm wrong. I plan to talk to Mr. Chaney about it in a profile of him in the future where it makes sense to talk about it. Where was this posted from, BTW? If it's copied from somewhere, it needs to be linked in order to not violate someone's violate. Please add the link. There's a pertty good story about Ben Chaney's life, including this case, that someone linked somewhere. Anyone remember where that is?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-17T16:46:21-06:00
ID
78262
Comment

This is new to me.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-07-18T08:06:19-06:00
ID
78263
Comment

I still don't see how Donna did anything wrong by covering the Klan's killing of his brother and Goodman and Schwerner.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2005-07-18T08:09:40-06:00
ID
78264
Comment

She didn't. If Ben Chaney did commit these crimes, he should have been punished. However, it didn't take 41 years for him to get there, did it?

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2005-07-18T08:12:17-06:00
ID
78265
Comment

Where was this posted from, BTW? If it's copied from somewhere, it needs to be linked in order to not violate someone's [copyright]. Here 'tis. (Google's great for this.) Based on the repeated identification of the victims as "white" and/or "Caucasian," I expected to find the quoted text on some kind of far-right racial-hatred site, but actually this appears to be a German site about serial killers. Best, Tim

Author
Tim Kynerd
Date
2005-07-18T08:32:35-06:00
ID
78266
Comment

I read the article, and I noticed that they were convicted the same year.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2005-07-18T08:58:55-06:00
ID
78267
Comment

The victim's brother's history is interesting, but completely irrelevant to the Killen trial. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-07-18T11:51:16-06:00
ID
78268
Comment

This could turn out to be an interesting development in the Killen case, although right now it sounds like a bit of a long shot, being that the info about the guns, who sold the, etc., are so scarce. But it's good to hear that new evidence could come forward.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-07-20T13:06:55-06:00
ID
78269
Comment

This builds public interest and awareness - and that's exactly what is needed to increase the pressure to investigate and indict/convict the responsbile parties. Isn't it interesting the way things seem to happen in bunches? Like a justice snowball..... The media coverage brings things to minds that they hadn't thought about in a while, and sometimes it brings something to a person's attention that they weren't aware of, and something else they know seems important in the light of the other bit of information. The trial coverage made someone wonder about some old guns he/she had; made someone else wonder if now was not a good time for justice in his brother's death. The snowball is building and gaining speed. Anyone who has participated in one of these racial crimes in the past is probably worrying themselves sick right about now - and if they aren't, they're not too bright. In which case, maybe Mr. Barrett can get an interview, or set them up for a booth in the state fair.

Author
C.W.
Date
2005-07-20T14:27:11-06:00

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