Jeff and I watched Mississippi ReMixed last night and cried and cried. It was so powerful. Wow! You are awesome and truly revisited our past and opened the future beautifully. McComb segment especially tender. Wow!
Mary Ann McDonald Swenson
My wife and I are a mixed race couple. My inability to understand the concept of white privilege was very frustrating to my wife for many, many years. Although I was witness to how discrimination is still active (as a father of black kids), it took a lot of education and experience before I realized how white privilege shaped our history and social makeup.
I found "Mississippi ReMixed" to be a remarkably gentle, yet unflinching, look at how white privilege has affected our society. Your own growth in knowledge as a woman of the South, coming to understand what had been hidden right in front of your eyes, was astonishing. That you persevered in coming to an understanding of the truth, rather that turning a blind eye to it, was a testimony of the great wisdom, kindness, and courage that people have the potential for.
I also recognized your great love of your home town. As flawed as it was/is, you are willing to see its weaknesses and potential, yet still love it. I am a native of Oakland, CA, and still reside here. We also have a history of discrimination and racial discord, but of the Northern variety. We are the home of the Black Panther Party. Although I disagreed with some of their tactics, it is undeniably true that Oakland's social structure pretty much forced the groups formation, because our city refused to reform itself without being pushed energetically. Yet I also love what my city is becoming, a place where racial issues are actively addressed, and everyones racial identity finds positive value. (Over 200 languages are spoken in our public schools!)
I have the privilege of often teaching students from China. Although discrimination is denied by its government, China is a place of great ethnic inequality. I teach about the history of the US and California, showing how great a lie racism and discrimination in the US was based upon. I show the discord and violence that discrimination has caused. I teach these things about my own nation and society in the hope that these young people will return to China better equipped. Perhaps they can be the designers of a more inclusive Chinese society.
I teach adults actively in my church in Oakland. It is a very racially diverse congregation. Yet I hear many of my white friends say things of astonishing ignorance and insensitivity from time to time. I hope that "Mississippi ReMixed" will be a resource our church leadership will allow my wife and I to use as the basis of an adult seminar in the future. Even Christians can be shaped by our society in ways that the teachings of Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit, find difficult to overcome.
May God continue to bless you, and grow you in love, truth, and wisdom!
Ole Miss Denver Area Graduate Comments
I want to support the comments shared by Marilyn Smith, in the comments.
I too, am a white Mississippi past resident, now living in the Denver Area. I am a proud graduate of Ole Miss (The University of Mississippi), after growing up and living in North Mississippi for over 36 years. I have struggled in the past with my love, and my regret, for the State's reputation, for a major part of my Life. This Documentary, enlighten me in so many ways, about numerous "prevoiusly un-settled issues" within myself about such a complex history. You were so diligent in covering so many perspectives, from several different/interesting points of view. I personally, as a christian, can now better, understand and accept, where MS have been. And now am more excited about where MS is presently at as a State, and where the State, through devoted people, can be taken for it's productive future. I can only hope that the exposure of your great work, can help facilitate this journey, for all of these caring people. I feel that is possibly your dream, as I know it is mine. Thanks for enlightening us all. Hal Mullins
Comment after the Denver Public Television Screening - Sunday, February 21, 2016
I am white.
I have avoided many of this type of presentation because it is easier to avoid than to have the pain of having truth revealed. Thank you for having this movie/presentation placed on PBS.
I was born in MS, and although I was not raised in MS, I spent untold days and weeks of my summers visiting family there. I was made aware of the conflicting beliefs about the breakdown of the barriers between the races in the summer of 1964.
My sister and I as young women traveled to MS on the weekend James Meredith entered Ole Miss. I was afraid and appalled at what I saw and heard. So many of my family were angry - really angry. My Mother helped me understand that beneath the anger was fear, fear of losing .....place, power and the knowledge of who they/we were .... and fear breeds anger unless faced and minds changed. I appreciate so much this honest look at why we view this divide from different paradigms.
I wish I could say it could be done through the churches. How, when we believe in the Love of God and believe he commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves, can we refuse to do so?
Thank you for allowing that conversation to take place.
I just finished watching "Mississippi Remixed," and it is a very powerful film. I started crying at the point that Brenda gave the speech at the McComb High School graduation, and then when the newspaperman's son gave her his Vietnam War bronze star. The interviews were wonderful and timely. I was proud to see the students at Madison High School taking their inter-racial friendships for granted---now, thank God, it's normal for them. I thought of my fourth grade classroom in Louisville with one little African-American girl. She never said a word all year, except to give a book report in front of the class on a book called "Little Red Cap." I remember being surprised that she could talk and staring at her as if she was an alien. Of course I had seen black children, but not any that were in school with me. I cannot remember saying one word to that little girl in the classroom or on the playground the entire school year, and I wish I could find her today to apologize. Thank you for making this film.
Bridget Smith Pieschel, Center for Women’s Research and Public Policy, Mississippi University for Women
Screenings on Public Television - Feb. 2016
Check your local listings, and Canadians, keep an eye out for Public TV stations that seep into Canada!
WSEC - SPRINGFIELD, IL
WMEC - MACOMB, IL
WQEC - QUINCY
Thursday 2/11/16 8:00:00 PM Prime Time
Denver Public Television - Sunday, February 21 at 7:00 pm Prime Time
Congratulations on bringing to the forefront one of the most sensitive subjects in America today. How refreshing to see and hear eyewitness accounts on how IT REALLY WAS. Bravo to Mrs.Ottewell and her representation of both points of view..... Yes, it did happen... Yes, we have come a long way...Yes, we still have a long way to go.. Excited about obtaining the DVD for my students.
My heart was touched in many, many ways by this powerful documentary. Myra Ottewell's Mississippi ReMixed may be the beginning of a needed dialog about this important part of our heritage. I pray that it might be used to bring healing, forgiveness and understanding between the races.
Terry Gargano Coffey
Wow! What an awesome documentary; I identified so closely with the narrator; her growing up in Jackson, Mississippi, was so similar to my childhood in Olive Branch.....unaware, yet wondering...I can remember asking my Momma why we did not have black people in our church....red and yellow, black and white, all are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world!
And, in the late 60's and early 70's I remember rejecting and rebelling against what I felt so strongly was wrong and not Biblical.....but practiced in our society.....mixture of Bob Dylan, Woodstock generation, reactions to King and Bobby Kennedy's assassinations.....I was a little younger than the narrator, I think....hippie generation....graduated from high school in 1970.
Wow....I want to send a copy to my sister in Columbus, Ohio. She left the South when she got married and has only been back a few times in the last 20 years.
My husband was asked by the teacher in charge of the Black History program at New Hope Middle School in Columbus, Mississippi, to find a film clip to use; He said, "If we can get this off of Hot Chalk, this is what I will give to Mrs. Lash."
P.S. I loved your ginko necklace; W alumnae will recognize that little touch!