Myra, so strange...just got back from Jackson and a Provine reunion -- even saw Sharron Royalty! I was a class ahead of you. You call yourself a Canadian; I call myself a Yankee. But let's face it: we're still Mississippians. Our interest in what happens there never ebbs. We sorted things out at a pretty young age, and whether we had direct or indirect contact with the civil rights movement growing up, by Freedom Summer, we knew something was up.
The year I graduated from Provine, Medgar Evers was assassinated, so was President Kennedy; Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner went missing; we'd already had the Freedom Riders locked up in the stockyards. How could we have missed what was happening ... or why? I have asked classmates who left Jackson when did they realize what was up. Most of us recall the laughter and cheering that followed the announcement on the school intercom when JFK was shot and later died...then the consternation that followed: would we have the football game that night?
Here's what I saw in Jackson last week: black and white mixing well, if white is comfortable doing so. White and white dancing around issues carefully, oh so carefully, until comfortable in assessing what's real. What am I able to talk about? Just how far can I go? She stayed in Jackson, what does that mean? She moved to Connecticut, what does that mean? The fact that a white youth and a black youth in Madison can be friends strikes me as an economic fact rather than a racial one. We have suburbs like that here in New England. If you can afford to live here, it must be o.k. Sure, that's different from the 60s, but is it progress when 90 percent of Jackson is now black? Mississippi ReMixed is Mississippi moved around, Mississippi living parallel lives, people exercising rights, but basically not getting to know each other. I've been going back to Jackson regularly over the past 40 years, and I've not seen real social progress. If someone else has, I would love to be wrong.