Mississippi Summer – 1994

Mississippi Summer – 1994

In front of the Mississippi State Capitol, resting securely between the artillery that points toward Mississippi Street, is a statue dedicated “to the women of the Confederacy whose pious ministrations to our wounded soldiers soothed the last hours of those who died far from the objects of their tenderest love.” There is no avoiding the statue. It sits in the middle of a walk. Your only choice is whether you pass it on the left or the right.

But the old Mississippi is also alive in other ways. The souvenir counter at the Jackson airport still carries picture postcards of the Confederate flag, and at the grave of James Chaney, one of three civil rights workers killed during the Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1964, the work of vandals who used high-powered rifles to deface his headstone is still visible.

The most telling sign of the old Mississippi is, however, to be found at the Governor’s Mansion in Jackson, where Kirk Fordice, a Republican who came in...

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