While sitting at breakfast with my friend, a man at an adjacent table asked us where we were on vacation from because he thought our speech was quite different and knew we were not locals. I told him a little about the research I am doing, and he lit up and started telling me about Ole Miss, which is where he was heading that day. He is a graduate student of that public university, met and married his wife and lived for twelve years there. He told me unequivocally that this indeed is a school that can change the world.
He said that even though bad things happened and continue to happen in Mississippi and other places, that this is a community of progressive people who are open to new ideas..and that many living there during the civil rights period were forward thinking and inclusive and supported the changes.
He said that the campus and the town are beautiful. He said that there is a strong sense of community and respect that includes diverse cultures with openness and warm welcome. He said that the faculty stays on at the university and lives in the town. He says it is a small town with a strong sense of place.
He said that I should check it out as he headed for the door with a smile.
We will drive through but we are on a trajectory path to home and will not be able to look into this. A stereoptype of entrenched southern racism and bigotry is in question here…Maybe some of you have the time…..
–Please share your thoughts. Comments are looked forward to.