I returned from visiting Meridian, Mississippi, last month with my mind aswirl with impressions, thoughts, and memories. I lived in Mississippi and Alabama (with a couple of months in Atlanta) from 1964 to 1967.
Returning to Meridian after so many years away, I was thrilled to reconnect with old friends from the 60’s and to encounter young people keenly interested in learning about the civil rights era in their town.
As I visited, I was constantly jolted to see how the present sheds light on what we thought in the past, while the past illuminates the present. There are changes in Meridian we couldn’t have imagined in 1964, while the dark and hopeful past is ever-present, even when it is invisible to people living in Mississippi today.
I have pictures, documents and memories of my own from those years, but I am not interested in nostalgia. I hope with this blog to tell my own and other people’s stories from the perspective of the present. I hope my posts will be interesting to friends and family who have never lived in Mississippi, as well as to comrades from the 60’s and people who are living in Mississippi today. I definitely hope for comments and posts from others.
Special thanks to companions on my recent trip to Meridian: Roscoe Jones, who has devoted his life to reviving the spirit of the Freedom Schools; Mark Levy, whose friendly and persistent prodding encouraged me to delve into my archives; Bill Scaggs, who opened windows all over Meridian on places I didn’t even know to look for; Patti Miller, who persuaded me that I have stories worth telling; and Jackie Reed-Cockfield, for her affirmation that the human connections we made in 1964 endure. Thanks also to my sister Beth, whose own jouney into the past provided me a template.
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