"Ross Barnett Rez Name-Change Effort Certain to Draw Racist Vitriol" by Jackblog | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

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Ross Barnett Rez Name-Change Effort Certain to Draw Racist Vitriol

WJTV-TV reports that a Jackson woman is circulating a petition to rename the Ross Barnett Reservoir.

"The past of Mississippi is riddled with hate and racism. And, I’m trying to show everyone else that Mississippi isn't like that anymore," the woman told JTV.

For anyone needing a refresher, Barnett was a segregationist governor of Mississippi. Well, he was one of the state's segregationist governors, but Barnett was among the most vocal in his opposition to human rights for black people, and he happened in this lifetime. There are people living today who could have voted for him.

But never mind all that because the woman behind the petition is named TaJuana Byrd. If I know the Jackson-area media and blogosphere, the conversation in the coming hours and days will certainly devolve into attacking this African American woman for being the race baiter attempting to dredge up old, forgotten memories -- all over the name of a silly fake lake.

Stay tuned.

Comments

tstauffer 4 years ago

I've been calling it the "Welty Reservoir" for years. :)

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tsmith 4 years ago

Heck yea, let's do it! Something like the Martin Emmit Medgar Kenneth Chokwe Reservoir!

Let's rename Jackson as well, along with half the counties in the state. I'm sure the Indians hate the counties and cities named after them too. Oh wait, that means we should rename the state even!

Wonder how much $$ this will cost us?

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mmorgan 4 years ago

While I understand the slant in the article title and agree there are still some hard heads in the area, I think renaming the rez will get more positive traction that you predict. I can't imagine a more obvious issue to find common ground. Just Google the guy's name.

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tstauffer 4 years ago

@mmorgan I'd like to hope you are right -- it would be absolutely wonderful if people could get on board and I agree that it should be obvious.

Of course, all you have to do is look at @tsmith above and see that the headline (this is a blog entry, BTW, so we allow a little commentary) might be justified.

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js1976 4 years ago

Here is my thought on this Todd, let's focus on the flag. I don't think the name of the Rez has much impact on our state or the metro area. Everything in Mississippi offends somebody, and it always will. So many things are named after people associated with segregation, racism, hatred, etc that it would be impossible to change them all. By attempting to do so, you are only fueling the opposition.

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bubbat 4 years ago

The Reservoir wasn't named for Ross Barnett because he was segregationist, it was named after him because he was governor at the time it was built and endorsed it. I see no need to change the name.

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JennWasHere 4 years ago

I have had a groundbreaking, earth shattering thought: let's just call it "the Rez" and then the only people offended by the name will be those who (life myself) feel that extremely long and complicated titles for government related institutions are just the civilized thing to do. Yet, in the end, I could not complain because never, ever, have the words "I'm going to the Ross Barnett Reservoir" come from my mouth.

Besides, as js1976 pointed out, "Everything in Mississippi offends somebody" anyway.

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tstauffer 4 years ago

Well I, for one, am offended by the comment "Everything in Mississippi offends somebody." ;)

But I'm perfectly willing to focus on the flag.

It's just the guy who instigated the Ole Miss riot -- whipping up the mob while secretly working with the Kennedys in a sad attempt to save himself from political embarrassment -- is pretty high on the list, too.

"Ross is standing like Gibraltar, he shall never falter, Ask us what we say, it's to hell with Bobby K. Never shall our emblem go From Colonel Rebel to Old Black Joe."

(from Dixie by Curtis Wilkie).

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js1976 4 years ago

I understand why his name would be high on your list, but there will always be names that are disturbing to someone. I would imagine that many Native Americans take offense to our capital city being named after the president that signed the Indian Removal Act.

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Turtleread 3 years, 10 months ago

I'm always amused that Dam or Damn (if you please) comes after his name and suggest that someone or perhaps several someone's in the Legislature were having some fun at his expense by naming this one structure after him.

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PaulaEstess 3 years, 5 months ago

I've been wondering about this for years, though I haven't lived in Mississippi since I graduated from college. Why on earth is the largest man-made reservoir in the United States, ( at one time) named after a notorious segregationist/racist? I can't believe the citizens of Madison, Ridgeland and Hinds counties have tolerated this travesty for so many years. Thank GOD I don't live in this state any more. The shameful, racist history this state of is just one of the reasons I will NEVER call Mississippi home again. Bring it on, haters.

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