Till

Last night, Karen and I went to see Till, the movie of the 1955 lynching of Emmett Till. It is a powerful retelling of a difficult and important story in our nation’s history. I’ve been twice to the site where Emmett Till’s body was found , and I wrote about it in Portraits of Peace, Searching for Hope in a Divided America. The passage below … Continue reading Till

Afton Thomas

Afton Thomas is the Associate Director for Programs at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi. Afton talks about Oxford as the progressive south, and the importance of continuing to share stories of the past so we can live better today and in the future. At the time of this interview, Afton’s involvement and voice in the community … Continue reading Afton Thomas

Neal Moore

Neal Moore is a journalist, an adventurer and an expatriate. He is in the midst of a two-year journey, paddling 7,500 miles across the United States. I met him in a coffee shop—by chance—in Columbus, Mississippi and we found time the next day to do an interview. You can follow Neal’s journey at https://22rivers.com/. “There’s this strange phenomenon that takes place, when you realize that … Continue reading Neal Moore

Graham Bodie

I’ve gotten to know Graham Bodie over the past year as I’ve gotten involved as a coalition partner for The Listen First Project, a group of organizations focused on using dialogue to heal the social fabric of America. Graham is a Chief Listening Officer of Listen First Project and also a professor of integrated media communications at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi. “Swapping … Continue reading Graham Bodie

Mississippi update

Last weekend a friend texted me a photo of three statues on the back of a flatbed truck in Columbus, Mississippi. It was the start of relocating a 32-foot tall Confederate statue from in front of the Lowndes County Courthouse to a new site across town in Friendship Cemetery, where more than 2,000 Confederate soldiers are buried beside 100 or so Union soldiers. It’s interesting … Continue reading Mississippi update

Water is Life

I spent last week in northern Minnesota with a camp of Water Protectors along the Mississippi River. The Indigenous, women-led movement is currently working to stop construction of the Line 3 oil pipeline. I went, specifically because I wanted to learn more. I went because I want to get better at hearing Indigenous voices. I went because I have heard the Water Protectors called radical, … Continue reading Water is Life

Lydia Koltai

Lydia Koltai is a mother, an herbalist and a civil rights activist in Oxford Mississippi. She is active in a local movement to remove a Confederate statue from the lawn of the local courthouse. “I’m a pretty loving person. I really want to love everybody and understand where people are coming from. What is upsetting is when it feels like people can’t give that back … Continue reading Lydia Koltai

Statues

It was more awkward than I had imagined—as a white guy—to stand in the middle of a busy intersection to take a photograph of the Confederate statue. It was the reason we had come to town, to have conversations about monuments and race. But somehow, the moment I raised my camera, I felt conspicuous. It’s the same feeling I had when I pulled over in … Continue reading Statues