Mississippi is no stranger to tough times. Whether man-made or natural, we’ve had our fair share of troubles. The Civil War ripped across this land, changing it forever. Tornadoes have scarred towns all across our state. The 1927 flood changed the Delta forever. Hurricanes Camille and Katrina altered the Gulf Coast. And we were on the front lines for the fight for racial equality during the 1960s. Bigotry and noxious discrimination choked this state for decades until courageous Mississippians and their out-of-state allies stood up and said, “This is wrong.”
It wasn’t easy. And like all the other tough times, sacrifices were made and lives were lost.
But from thorns grew the great roses of equality. And today, we live in a much better world for it. Do we still have progress to make? Sure. I like to say that we are no equally dysfunctional as the rest of the states I’ve lived in. But we’ve come so far. My children live in a world that kids 50 years ago could never have imagined.
What a fascinating and beautiful history it is. It’s full of courage and strength.
I’ve heard people say, “well, we shouldn’t talk about this or that.” I completely disagree. We should sing our history from the mountaintops — even the parts that may not be Chamber of Commerce moments. Because the tough times are the crucible that forged us. And like heat is to iron, it made us stronger than steel.
I see the hole in the ground against the bluff next to the State Fair Grounds. Within a few short months, a building will be there. A building housing artifacts from the Civil Rights movement. Mississippians will be able to go in and learn a little bit more about this pivotal time about our history. And that’s a blessing.
Mississippi is a fascinating place. And I’m glad we celebrate our history. It’s what makes us, well, us. It is the spice that gives us flavor.