Mississippi is not my favorite state in the Union. If I didn't have to cross Mississippi to drive along the Gulf Coast to get to Florida, I’d have no reason to ever go there. Like most Louisianans, I am, however, frequently thankful that Mississippi exists.
Mississippi is not my favorite state in the Union.
If I didn't have to cross Mississippi to drive along the Gulf Coast to get to Florida, I’d have no reason to ever go there.
Like most Louisianans, I am, however, frequently thankful that Mississippi exists.
Whenever a new study or survey comes out ranking the states in categories from overall health to obesity to computer literacy, Louisiana would rank dead last much more often if not for our magnolia-loving neighbors to the east.
When a study proclaims Louisiana the second most obese state and Mississippi is ranked No. 1, everyone from Britney Spears to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal breathes a sigh of relief.
Thank goodness for Mississippi, or we would be the fattest state in the country.
We’re kidding, course. Mississippi has as many good people per capita as any other state including Alaska, California, New York and Louisiana.
In fact, right now, in a least one aspect of its public school system, Mississippi has gone to the head of the class in America.
It is the first state to require that civil rights history be taught in public schools.
Starting next fall, Mississippi Senate Bill 2718 mandates that civil rights education be taught to all kids from kindergarten to 12th grade. This year, pilot programs have begun and teachers are attending workshops to prepare for the new curriculum.
Some people will argue that Mississippi ought to be the first state, given its damning history of racism, which includes the lynching of a 14-year-old black boy at a grocery store in McComb in 1955.
But the fact that Mississippi has begun the program is more important than whether it should.
Carrying out a program that displays your racial warts takes courage and more than a little collective soul searching. And you can be sure that not everyone is happy that the curriculum first taught at McComb High School is being offered statewide.
It will necessarily bring to light events and family involvements that some are not proud of seeing in public, and others might wish would go away without the painful reexamination process.
Like a lot of other states, Mississippi has seen progress in racial relations in some areas of the state, but not so much progress in other areas.
If the program is successful, it will help new generations of students in Mississippi learn about seminal events in their modern history that many know little about.
According to the teachers, a large proportion of Mississippi students do not even know about the Freedom Summer of 1964, when about 1,000 volunteers descended on the state to register black voters, who until then had been almost completely excluded from the polls.
It’s an event that all Americans should be aware of, especially Mississippians.
Under the new program, maybe now they will.
Wade McIntyre writes for the Weekly Citizen in Gonzales, La.