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 stories can certainly be helpful. But what typically is more helpful is to allow that […]
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 to see in his photo, the new Mississippi state flag as well, that just started […]
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, and I’ve been around the block often enough to know that when that word is […]
It was a quiet drive from Oxford to Sumner, Mississippi. Karen was busy and I drove the 70 miles by myself. I don’t think I said more than a few words all day. Mostly, I read signs. And I’m going to let the signs do most of the talking today. A sign in front of the Tallahatchie County Courthouse says: “Emmett Till Murder Trial. In August 1955 the body of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black youth from Chicago, was found […]
A Peace of My Mind visited Oxford, Mississippi’s country courthouse, where a contested Confederate statue stands at the center of the town square. We asked people, “What does this statue mean to you?” Over two afternoons, 36 people chose to participate and these are the stories they shared.
Elaine Baker grew up in Mound Bayou, Mississippi. Founded in 1887 by former slaves, Mound Bayou is the oldest self-governing all-black municipality in the United States. Elaine grew up in an era of segregation, with “white only” and “black only” signs in neighboring communities, though she didn’t experience day-to-day racism in Mound Bayou. She learned that her value and worth were not determined by others. As a young girl, she picked cotton for 2.5 cents a pound and went on […]