Crystal Roby Dr.

Giesen History of Now 12 November 2012

Mississippi also known as the Magnolia State throughout its history has had moments that have captured the nation, even the world’s attention. In the state of Mississippi, a dark cloud hovers over its past, a past filled with brutal violence and death. History has not looked kindly on the state of Mississippi, and rightly so. For many years Mississippi had a history of murders and violence towards its black citizens, an image it still can shake, even in the year 2012. I was born and raised in Mississippi, however I didn’t learn of its history during the 1950’s and 1960’s, until I was eight years old, I just couldn’t understand why people would use violence against other people just because of the color of their skin. That’s the amazing thing about kids; their view of the world is so innocence at times. During the Civil Rights Movement, Mississippi has been in the epicenter of unsolved deaths, rapes, and violence against black citizens and those who choose to help them. In the Constitution of the United States written by our forefathers stated that all men are created equal and are given rights by God and should be protected by the government, but when the forefathers had written the document, they weren’t talking about me or people who have the same skin color as me. This country was founded on the principal of freedom, which people have to right to live the way they see fit. It’s a shame that whenever someone ask me where I’m, sometimes I pause for a second not really wanting to reveal that I’m Mississippi. I know it’s silly, but sometimes I don’t like to associate myself with a state known for brutal

killings of some its citizens and sometimes visitors who came to help the blacks in the state to register to vote, then there are times where I feel like there’s no other place in the world I rather be than in Mississippi. Whether I like it or not Mississippi is my home. Mississippi has come a long way from its Jim Crow laws days. Just last a white teen by the name of Deryl Dedmon 18 year old from Brandon, MS and some of his friends went to Jackson to harass or beat up black residents in the city. Dedmon and his friends pulled off Interstate 55 to Ellis Ave to Metro Inn, a motel near I-55, where they saw an intoxicated 49 year old James Craig Anderson who was standing outside of the motel, Dedmon and friends started to burglarize and beat Anderson, after the beating Dedmon got back into his truck and ran over Anderson who would later die of the injuries he received. Dedmon was charged with first-degree murder, on March 21, 2012 Dedmon pleaded guilty so he could escape the death penalty ; Judge Jeff Weill sentenced Dedmon to a double life sentence that would run back to back. Judge Weill was quoted as saying, “Dedmon’s crime had put a great strain on the state of Mississippi, a strain that would take years to fade.” So even today in the year of 2012, Mississippi still has the stigma of racial segregation we’re still trying to move passed it, Mississippi native and filmmaker Wright Thompson asked “What is the cost of knowing our past; and what’s the cost of not. There are questions Mississippians won’t ask, because they are not prepared to hear the answer.” We have to know our past, no matter how painful it is, we as Mississippians we should never forget. They were two events that shaped America’s and the world view of Mississippi, the good and the bad. Mississippians are burden with the past of their place of birth. For years Mississippi is looked upon as evil, for the wrongs committed by whites towards blacks, just because of the color of the skin.

One of those dark moments would shed a light on the Jim Crow laws worked in Mississippi; the murder of a young boy would tear Mississippi apart. In the summer of 1955, a young black boy by named Emmett Till arrived in Mississippi to visit his relatives.

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