* Code added to make Google search more likely. Mississippi Civil Rights--One Man, One Story: A Brief Overview of this Blog

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Brief Overview of this Blog

My father, Robert L. Ezelle, Jr., was 50 years old in the summer of 1964 and the President of the Jackson (Mississippi) Chamber of Commerce. In addition, he had served or was serving the Jackson community is a number of civic roles. While he had long been a believer in equal rights for all races, there was little that he could do to further that goal until the major Civil Rights push in the mid-1960's. Being white was no safeguard from retaliation for those who pushed too hard against the norm of the day.

The passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the increased presences of FBI agents in Mississippi created an opening for people like my father to push harder for change. It was still dangerous and my father and others like him were faced with tremendous pressure from those who opposed change. In the case of my father, that meant bomb threats, death threats, phone calls in the middle of the night, a cross burned on the front lawn, being the subject of KKK newsletters, and more. It was not an easy stand to take and it is understandable that many who were sympathetic to the movement still stayed on the sideline instead of risking much to help others. But while some chose to remain neutral, it is important to remember the contributions of those who took the risks. I can't speak for all of those heroes, but I can speak for my father through this blog and I can hope that the stories of others will somehow be told instead of fading out with the passage of time.

My father, who passed away in 1979 at the age of 66, was never one to keep a lot of paperwork. I have a couple of boxes of letters, reports, newspaper clippings, and the like, and I'm sure that Mother was mostly responsible for keeping those items. It's a shame that he kept so little, but this tip of the iceberg gives a revealing glimpse into what Mississippi was like some 45 years ago and what it was like for a white Mississippian to try and make a change for the better. I hope you find the future posts to this blog interesting and informative, and I'll try to keep my comments to a minimum and let the documents tell the story.


Anonymous said...

Thanks to our son, Jarry, for sending this. Tho our time in Mississippi was 1970-73, we remember the early 60s when we were in B'ham. Mary Leta and George Peach Taylor

frank_ezelle said...

As you know, there was plenty of battles to be fought in 1970-73, especially in the area of the public schools. Your family did more than it's fair share in trying to set things right.