I was having a nice
lunch at a local restaurant the other day, when I noticed Natchez public
school teachers filing in for a pre-term lunch. They wore bright yellow
T-shirts and that surprised me.
A particular act or policy might not
have a discriminatory intent, but that doesn't let you off the hook. If it
has a disproportionately negative impact on so-called protected classes, it
is said to have a disparate impact and risks being prohibited by law.
The Miss-Lou’s breaking news:
This year's Jim Bowie Festival is scheduled
for Sept. 25-26 on the Vidalia Riverfront near the RV Park. Adams County and
Mississippi voters go back to the polls on Tuesday, Aug. 25 for runoff
elections. Adams County has an 8.6% jobless rate and Concordia Parish
reports an unemployment rate of 9.9%.
The Advice Goddess:
A boyfriend just ended up buying his
girl's groceries and paying to have her car fixed. Then he discovered by
accident that she'd recently paid hundreds of dollars for hair extensions,
beauty products, and a facial.
Terry Savage on money:
Predicting when the Federal Reserve will
begin raising interest rates seems to be the top focus of economic
forecasters these days. And for good reason. The federal funds rate has been
effectively at zero percent since 2008, so any rate increase would be big
McAllister on health:
New research shows that alcohol is a
cancer-causing substance and that consuming as little as 1.5 drinks daily --
or even less -- increases cancer risk. They report that this amount accounts
for 15 percent of all breast cancer deaths.
Thomas Sowell thinking clearly:
People who entered the United States illegally may be called "undocumented"
in politically correct circles, but what is all too well documented is the
utter irresponsibility of both political parties in dealing with immigration
Best buys classifieds:
Classifieds feature our
best buys. Buy sell or trade and come away with the bargains or some ready
Tourists and pilgrims welcome:
Beautiful Natchez-Vidalia welcomes you with
Southern history and hospitality.
Win cash or prizes!
Deisha Norwood of
Monterey won our $200 in gas. Now you can enter to win $200 in cash.
More good writing:
Find more local news on
www.natchezsunxpress.com. This website is mobile-friendly.
Truth behind the history
by Charlie Mitchell
Quick: Name a Mississippi public university named for a slave-owning
If you said, “Alcorn,” you’re right.
The Lorman school dates to 1871. It was an American
first, opened to the newly freed slaves as well as the free people of color
who lived in Mississippi before the Civil War. Segregated by law for its
first 90 years, to this day more than 98 percent of Alcorn students are
History is what it is, and it’s simply not a reliable ally to explain
Still, from the moment it was suggested
Mississippians would do better to go forward under a unifying flag,
“protecting history” has been a rallying cry. From the other side of the
fence, there’s been a frenzy to purge assorted “reminders of our past.”
The legacy of James Lusk Alcorn hasn’t been
mentioned much, if at all. But otherwise “historical fact” has been tossed
around liberally, especially on social media, as the core of “heritage” and
the reason why a name or symbol should or shouldn’t be used.
The truth, however, as illustrated by “Alcorn,” is
this: The actual history of a person or a symbol is not always relevant.
What matters is the current significance people attach to a name or a
Generations of graduates are justifiably proud of
their college degrees with “Alcorn” across the top in big letters.
Burn those diplomas? Not hardly.
If Alcorn alumni think of their school’s namesake
at all, perhaps they reference his post-war years when he joined the party
of Lincoln and supported full and equal rights, including the right to vote,
for those who had been held in bondage. But mostly they think of the
university, their experiences as a student and benefits flowing from their
years pursuing higher education.
Americans love this nation because of what it means
to us. We believe in its basic goodness, the opportunities it provides.
We don’t care that it is named for an Italian
explorer, born in 1451, who likely never saw this part of the world. Amerigo
Vespucci is known to have visited the coast of what is now Brazil, but he
died long before a French mapmaker casually decided to put his name on two
Too, according to the U.S. Census, a mere 6 percent
of Americans today claim Italian ancestry. Is if fair that the whole country
be named for one of them? In this “melting pot” of myriad ancestries, is it
appropriate to exclude all, save one, from being represented in the name?
And finally, our state capital. It is named in
honor Andrew Jackson. He was a valiant military leader who later served as
president. By today’s values, he also engaged in ethnic cleansing of Native
Americans (or whatever Native Americans are called once we come up with a
name better than “America.”) Jackson owned at least 44 and perhaps up to 300
Pleas for “change” have made good TV.
The mayor of Memphis and assorted council members are seeking
re-election. Memphis has risen to third place among the nation’s top ten
crime-plagued cities. The third police officer killed in the past four years
died Saturday. What’s the priority of candidates? Dig up Confederate Gen.
Nathan Bedford Forrest’s rotted remains (and those of his wife) and move
them from a city park. (Also note that Memphis shares a name with the city
in Egypt where slavery may have been invented and was certainly practiced in
its most brutal form.)
Not to be overly repetitive from previous columns,
but the leading voices for a new Mississippi flag — one without the
Confederate battle flag as its canton — are not the NAACP (which, by the
way, was founded by white people) or other civil rights folks.
The advocates are simply saying that if we’re going
to have a flag — and we should have a flag — it should be one that unites
rather than one that divides.
They’re not saying history should be forgotten.
They’re saying it’s not always the best peg upon which to hang a rationale
for today’s actions.
We’re supposed to learn history, to respect history
and to benefit from history. But history is not, of itself, mandate to
preserve things as they are. Quite the opposite.
The name of a university, a nation, a state capital
— and the elements of a flag — evoke feelings based on our individual
interactions and experiences with what they represent today. Our ancestors
are honored when we regard them with respect. It doesn’t honor them when we
treat our contemporaries with disrespect.
Charlie Mitchell is a
Mississippi journalist. Write to him at