* Code added to make Google search more likely. Mississippi Civil Rights--One Man, One Story

Monday, November 5, 2007

Photo: A. Z. Young of Bogalusa, LA. See more at the bottom of the post.

Thought: I've changed directions on this blog a couple of times already and I'm sure I'll change directions in the future. Originally, I thought I would just be posting items on my father with little commentary. Then it expanded into more items in general about the Civil Rights era, realizing that most of what I have on my dad really needs to be understood in the context of the time period. Now, in yet another change, I'm starting to feel that maybe I do need to make some comments instead of just posting documents from the past. Part of that thinking comes from this comment by former Mississippi governor William Winter in a recent interview printed in the Jackson Free Press:

What is the greatest obstacle to racial reconciliation?
"Not enough civil, candid communication between people; still not enough trust across racial lines; (and) not enough understanding of different points of view that people have. And that's one of the things the Institute for Racial Reconciliation at Ole Miss is doing: breaking down some of those barriers and bringing people together in frank discussions, comparing notes, looking at each other through each other's eyes, and willingness to walk in somebody else's shoes for a while. And I think when we do that, we understand that there's not really much difference. What we look like is not nearly as important as what we stand for."

The above response by Gov. Winter is along the same lines as what I've been thinking, especially since seeing that quote from James Silver that was part of my October 31st entry ("but I'm afraid the episode only added to my perplexity as to how to get along with blacks"). That statement by James Silver surprised me initially, but maybe I shouldn't have been surprised. We all interpret the events around us in the context of our past experiences and in the context of the views passed down to us from prior generations. Given the extreme differences of life in America for blacks and whites in the past, is it any surprise that blacks and whites might view the same event in totally different ways today?

With this being a blog, there really is no conversation possible, but at least I can give my impressions on the things I read and learn. It's just one viewpoint that will be read by few, but sometimes it can be a start of a conversation if one person expresses their thoughts and honest opinions. At the very least, it will help me sort my thoughts out by writing them down.

I was going to post a newspaper article from May 26, 1965 regarding the being of Head Start in Jackson. I'll get to that this week but it's a little long to tack on to the above. Instead, here's an article that was also in the May 26th newspaper. It's interesting to see just how open the Klan and the Citizen's Council were in their opposition to the Civil Rights Law.

Attempted Racial Truce Falls Apart in Torn Bogalusa
(Jackson Daily News--May 26, 1965)

Bogalusa, LA (AP) -- The "cooling off" period ended for Bogalusa--with the Ku Klux Klan urging that the mayor be tarred and feathered and Negroes voting to resume demonstrations today.

The Bogalusa Civic and Voters League, a Negro group, voted Tuesday night to resume picketing of downtown stores. A. Z. Young, league president, said the decision came because white businessmen broke an agreement to confer about equal employment opportunity demands.

The cooling off period was agreed upon after Mayor Jesse Cutrer Jr. announced that public facilities would be desegregated, as required by law. The Bogalusa Citizens Council was circulating a petition for a recall election to try to oust Cutrer for his efforts to reach compromise racial agreements.

And the Ku Klux Klan circulated leaflets bitterly criticizing a list of political figures for not working to suppress the civil rights drive here. Mayor Cutrer topped the list of those the Klan proposed should be tarred and feathered. Others included Gov. John McKeithen, Sen. Russell Long, D-La., and Rep. Jimmy Morrison, D-La.

It is interesting how an internet search on these names from the mid-60's often turn up news that the people in these stories go on to do bigger things. Here's another link on Mr. A. Z. Young:
Honoring the Legacy of A. Z. Young

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