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Kelly Nolan His 330 April 28, 2012

Memories of the Past Growing up during the turmoil and danger of the ci il rights era in !ississippi is the focus of two different authors who share their memories on how those years shaped their li es" #n $" %alph &u'an(s Ever is a Long Time: A Journey Into Mississippi's Dark Past A Memoir, we learn a'out his years growing up in !ount )li e, !ississippi" He was the son of college educated 'lac( parents who tried to (eep him away from the dangers of *im +row racism which led to his decision to lea e !ississippi" #n +urtis $ill(ie,s 'oo( Dixie: A Persona !"yssey T#roug# Events T#at $#ape" t#e Mo"ern $out# he descri'es witnessing some of the most tumultuous racial incidents and riots of the ci il rights era in !ississippi as a young white man and how it pushed him to lea e" %eading each author,s iew of the racial tensions and in-ustices they were part of, ma(es it easy to understand why they didn,t want to return to !ississippi" &u'an(s tells the story of his childhood growing up with a father who tried to protect the family from *im +row racism of the south, 'ut who e entually learned the truth that there was a white culture and a 'lac( culture" He descri'es to the reader that he finally had to face and learn what his life was really li(e when his own son as(ed him ./addy, $hat0s !ississippi li(e12 3&u'an(s, 4i5" His -ourney was to learn a'out !ississippi and if his parents had 'een targeted 'y the racist !ississippi go ernment system while he was growing up" &u'an(s grows up in the 1670,s and 1680,s and endures the rigid racial system and the harsh treatment 'lac(s endured e en though he learns his grandfather was white" He also descri'es the fun he had growing up on the farm and 'eing a'le to do things as his parents tried to (eep them away from the dangers"

He is introduced to the *im +row system early as -oined his father at wor( and wal(ed in town only to see 'lac(s treated as if they were non9human with segregated schools, restaurants and other facilities as the norm" $hile his parents tried to (eep them safe he finds that 'lac(s his families (nows were hung or 'eaten simply 'ecause they defied or challenged the accepted segregation practices" He descri'es when Go ernor *ames +oleman was as(ed 'y the press in 167: if pu'lic schools might e er 'e integrated and he said .$ell, e er is a long time; 3&u'an(s, 1065" He learned this Go ernor and whites in !ississippi were not interested in integration and defied federal court orders to remo e segregation for years after it was passed" He descri'es when the ci il rights mo ement started and the NAA+< came into the state to register oters causing whites to riot and dangerous attac(s to 'rea( out" #n 16:0 &u'an(s and his sisters finally attended an integrated school e en though !ississippi fought hard against it for so long" After finishing his degree at )le !iss he was dreaming of getting out of !ississippi and learning a'out the world he (new was out there" $hen &u'an(s left for grad school in !ichigan he (new he .had left !ississippi fore er; and .that there was nothing that would e er draw =him> 'ac( there; 3&u'an(s, 1715" Ha ing faced his past and 'efore he can tell his (ids a'out !ississippi, &u'an(s decides he needs to research the !ississippi ?tate ?o ereignty +ommittee 3!??+5 created in 1670,s to spy on 'lac(s who challenged segregation" He needed to see if his parents were spied on and after finding their file he couldn,t understand how they were a threat as they were only in the files 'ecause they went to meetings a'out oting and ci il rights" #n the end he reali@es that he did ha e happy times in !ississippi and needed to show his sons where he grew up, the stories he learned from his parents and to face the racism" He (nows there were still things that he still hated a'out !ississippi 'ut he also lo ed the people, music and fun

he grew up with as well" His -ourney taught him that !ississippi, good or 'ad, was part of him and that coming 'ac( with his family showed that lessons can help us all learn a'out the past" #n +urtis $il(ie,s 'oo( we get his iew of !ississippi as a white man growing up in the *im +row south and the ci il rights era" His descri'es at length se eral the dramatic and dangerous e ents of the ci il rights era he saw firsthand as a youth li ing in ?ummit, !ississippi, during his time as an )le !iss student in the 1680,s and the fight for ci il rights in the 1680,s" $il(ie noted he 'asically grew up lo ing his early years of easy going days and the 'eauty of the !ississippi landscape" His stories centered on his memories of !ississippi,s segregation and witnessing the hatred and 'rutality spewed 'y white,s he grew up with causing him to reali@e this was not what he 'elie ed in or wanted to 'e (nown for" $il(ie recounts in detail the .Areedom %iders; who had come to !ississippi to integrate the state and as he watched from his dorm room at )le !iss he saw people he grew up with 'eat 'lac(s who were doing them no harm 3$il(ie, 885" #t is here his iews on race changed and he committed to the ideal that e eryone was human and should 'e treated as such" He descri'es the federal go ernments force against )le !iss to admit *ames !eredith as causing in-uries for no reason" But he was e en more upset that his classmates and the )4ford community spent many days and nights reacting iolently against his admittance and he felt the danger le el increase and lea ing was his 'est option" Chat was certainly true as !edgar & ers and !artin Duther King 3leading ci il rights leaders5 were 'oth (illed 'y racist whites for their 'elief in ci il rights whose laws were finally passed in 168E" !artin led the ci il rights mo ement outside of !ississippi, 'ut was not fa ored 'y 'lac(s there 'ecause many groups were ri als for attention and funds" $il(ie mo ed north and descri'es his press wor( in co ering the 1688 presidential campaign and the fights for ci il rights that he saw continuing as a reporter while in +hicago" Chis was an

important time in our nation, 'ut !ississippi was still ma(ing news as they were still fighting to integrate their schools" $il(ie mo ed to Boston and as he left !ississippi he said .would ne er go 'ac(; and shouted, .Aree at DastF Chan( God Almighty, free at leastF;, as he crossed the state line 3$il(ie, 1685" But e en there he tal(s a'out on some of the worst racial incidents in America including the racist rants of Ala'ama Go ernor George $allace" By the late 16:0,s $il(ie notes !ississippi was changing as they elected a Go ernor who was interested in mo ing the state forward from its racist *im +row history" Che new Go ernor $illiam $inter e en noted in his inaugural speech that .$e ha e waste too much timeG'eing afraid of change; and that !ississippi had to mo e on 3$il(ie, 2715" #t is here that $il(ie feels li(e his idea of !ississippi completely comes full circle as he (nows they had started to accept change" He reali@es that !ississippi had flaws 'ut he can now come 'ac( home to a place that had its .good and 'ad times; 'ut which was trying to change .to erase the 'arriers that separated us from one another; 3$il(ie, 3375" &u'an(s and $il(ie pro ide honest loo( at growing up in !ississippi during the ci il rights era and the personal -ourneys each too( to lea e the state and the road they followed 'ac(" &ach saw the *im +row laws and racism for how they harmed people and the ci il rights 'attles it too( to 'rea( down those 'arriers" Cheir indi idual -ourneys re eal so much a'out the comple4ities of the history of !ississippi with their personal e4periences mainly reflecting the ci il rights era" Chose historic comple4ities include sla ery, state,s rights, *im +row laws and the e entual acceptance of ci il rights laws" Chese 'oo(s along with Aaul(ner,s 'oo( .A'salom, A'salom; pro ide in depth iews of why people li ed and left !ississippi" !ore importantly why they come 'ac( later in life as they reali@ed the 'asic goodness and (indness in !ississippi,s people and communities was what they yearned for"