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The Petal paper. [volume] (Petal, Miss.) 1953-19??, June 06, 1963, Image 1

Image and text provided by Mississippi Department of Archives and History

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85044791/1963-06-06/ed-1/seq-1/

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I East Side
At 11:30 a.m., Tuesday, June 11th, the first human
lung transplant in this country was achieved by a group
of surgeons at the University of Mississippi Medical School
in Jackson, Miss. The experiments had been underway for
seven years, and more than five hundred small animals
were used before the successful transplant was made on
a human.
This represents a feat truly remarkable; it is a break
through which may well save many thousands of lives in
the years to come.
And it happened in Jackson, Miss.
Thirteen hours later, at a.m., y»cuurauajf,
12th, the life of a human being was taken by a murderer,
for no reason other than he had dedicated himself to the
attainment of his rights, and the rights of members of his
race, as guaranteed under the Constitution of these United
States. I speak of Medgar Evers, and I have no doubt you’ve
read all the news stories relating to his murder.
The success of the lung transplant and the murder of
Medgar, to me, constitute another of the paradoxes of
which Mississippi and the South are filled.
As you would expect from civilized people there were
words of protest, words of regret, words of sympathy. The
mayor of Jackson, Allen Thompson, said he and all the
citizens of Jackson were shocked, humiliated and sick at
heart.” And the city posted a five thousand dollar reward.
And the paradox in all this? »
For weeks the Negro citizens of Jackson had pleaded
with the mayor to appoint a bi-racial committee, the pur
pose of which was to simply discuss the differences in citi
zenship which exist between the first-class citizens (White)
and the second-class citizen, the Negro. Mr. Thompson
refused repeatedly to even consider such a committee and,
at last reports, continued to refuse the request. Mayor
Thompson did not murder Medgar Evers, but his very at
... . , .. _• -i__4-V.o rifla fV-iof rliH miir
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der him.
Senator John Stennis, in Washington, said, “Along
with all Mississippians I deplore the violence and loss of
life within our state.” Frankly, I do not doubt the words
spoken by Senator Stennis, nor do I doubt the words of
Mayor Thompson.
Also in Washington, Senator eastland said, ‘The mur
der was very regrettable-and deplored by everyone ... I
know I speak for everybody in the state in expressing the
hope that justice will be meted out to the guilty party or
parties.”
I have no reason to doubt his words, either.
However, on that same day, a group of eighteen South
ern senators met—and this included the two from Mis
sissippi—and issued an angry denunciation of the Presi
dent's proposal for civil rights legislation. A paradox? To
my mind it is, yes. No, our two senators didn’t murder
Medgar—but they certainly seem to have added their bit
to the loading of the rifle that did.
On the day of Medgar’s murder, the two newspapers
(Continued on Page 2)
THE ELEC ^SS, a
series of relat in sue*
cessive issues o» ,aw school :
quarterly, Law and ontemporary
Problems, Robert O. Everett, spe- j
rial editor for the symposium,
being Vol. 27, numbers 2 and 3.
| Duke University, Durham, N.C.
Spring and Summer, 1962. Eeash
! $2.50.
In order to read these articles
in legal research, it is not man
datory that you have a law degree
yourself, and access to a library
stocked with up - to - the - minute
reports, and patience to go through
hundreds of citations systemat
ically.
No, not necessary, but what a
help it would be. The picture of
(1) how people vote, and (2) how
they prevent other people from
voting is complex. In legal jargon,
as this is, it makes a long story
for a summer day.
Now Duke University in central
North Carolina is a lovely place
— thanks in part to the remark
able sale of a poisonous weed,
and tnanks to a mountainous sup
ply of building stone abstracted
from the Occoneechee Indian
hunting ground nearby.
Furthermore in honor of the
Great Spirit the Duke Foundation
has seen fit to erect in the middle
of the geography a magnificent
tower of aspiration, a Gothic
cathedral, to dominate the land
scape and mark with tones of
brass the passage of time.
A]1 in keeping with a contrived
unity, books from the Duke Press
are expected to reverberate like
chapel chimes across the dark
forest. To some extent they do.
What a surprise it is, con
sequently, to receive a carton from
Duke that may be social gospel
but looks a lot more like bug dust.
It might not be too far wrong to
call it an organic substance of
alkaline properties, which like
some alkaloids and insecticides
ought to have the word POISON
under the device of skull and
bones on the label. Maybe for ad
litional safety on the shelf a pin
thrust upward through the stop
per would be helpful.
For what type of insect, pray
tell, is this lethal compound in
tended? Is it for some creeping
creep that emerges from the
woodwork in the house where we
live? And is that house America?
Alas, that is true. The bug is
PRIVATE INTEREST, which
thrives in America. It is an awful
pest, and as they will tell you
in school “Awfulness requires a
dose of lawfulness.’
What is the dose? The lethal
dose is the legal dose. For human
insects it is fatal. For human
people — we don’t know. They are
(Continued on Page 2)
te New York Times Mode An—
INQUIRY INTO THE
MISSISSIPPI MIND
by
Claude Sitton
When Mississippi Negroes gather
to dicuss their struggle for equal
ity, as they frequently do, one
story they tell concerns a planta
tion field hand named John. Seized
by civil rights fever, he pays a
visit to the big house to proclaim
the new order.
“Mister Charlie,” he says to the
white planter, “all these years you
and Miss Ann has called me
“John.” That’s all right. But things
is changed. There ain’ gonna be
no more ‘Mister Charlie’ and ‘Miss
Ann.’ It’s just ‘Ann’ and ‘Charlie’
now. And, Charlie, one other thing:
Ain’t gonna be no more Missis
sippi, either. From now on, it’s
just ‘Sippi.’ ”
Mississippi whites see little:
humor in the story. Mister Charlie
and Miss Ann quickly lose the
graciousness and warmth with
which they are rightfully credited
if one suggests that racial customs
must lie modified. They know that
change is inevitable. But the mind
boggles at the thought — and
sometimes slips its moorings to
reality.
This irrational reaction partial
ly explains some of the shocking
events of the past year: The
bloody riots over a Negros’ ad
mission to the University of Mis
sissippi, the continued denial of
minority voting rights — dram
atized by recent violence in the
Delta — and the harassment, in
timidation and force employed
against the whites who dare dis
sent from segregationist ortho
doxy. Perhaps the most damaging
effects, however, of this state of
mind are being felt in other areas
of public life.
In the current emotional at
mosphere the unscrupulous have
virtual immunity so long as they
act in the name of segregation.
Charlatans who would be laughed
off the streets in normal times
find a receptive audience. History
is rewritten, substituting pleasing
fiction for unpleasant fact. And
the Mississippian, who bows to no
man in loyalty to country, lends
encouragement or stands by silent
ly while his public officials flirt
with sedition.
The extent to which these devel
opments have tried the patience of
persons outside the state is ap
parent in a recent recommenda
ion of the Civil Rights Commis
sion. of the Civil Now is thet ime
sion. The commissioners pointed
out that Mississippi paid only
$270,000,000 in taxes into the
Federal Treasury during the 1962
fiscal year, while rceeiving $650,
000,000 in return. They urged
President Kennedy to determine
if he had legal authority to with
hold this aid until Mississippi
ended its “subversion of the Con
stitution.” (The President said he
did not have such power.)
The day of the commission’s
proposal, a state official suggested
that Mississippi might retaliate in
kind. Fred Ross, State Commis
sioner of Public Welfare, said:
“The question now arises as to
how much longer the white pop
ulation of Mississippi will con
tinue to consent to be taxed and
drained of its sustenance for the
benefit of a race and nation which
show no appreciation for their
sacrifices, in order to destroy it
self by integration.”
Can Mississippi afford its un
compromising position on race?
What social debits has it incurred
by its intransigency? What factors
underlie the refusal to face real
ity? Is there basis for hope that
the state will heed the few coura
geous leaders who are urging a
return to sanity? These questions
can be examined but not firmly
To understand Mississippis’ iti
terracil conflict, one must first
consider the nature of the state
and its people. Despite its mono
lithic image, Mississippi is a
mosaic.
The Gulf Coast gives it a touch
of Florida. Salt marshes and piney
woods alternate with groves of
moss-draped liv© oaks and
stretches of sandy beach. Man
sions of fading elegance compete
with plush motels for attention
along U.S. Route 90. The coast
already has shipbuilding, paper
making and fishing industries, and
soon will have a $125 million oil
refinery and a $400 million testing
center for moon rocket engines.
To the north lie cut-over timber
lands, small farms and a suc
cession of dusty county-seat
towns. Deserted fields and empty
storefronts tell of the loss of pop
ulation to the state’s small but
growing cities—Pascagoula, Gulf
port, Hattiesburg, Meridian, Jack
son, Vicksburg and Greenville.
The rolling hills that extend
northward from the Gulf coastal
plain are broken on the east by
stretches of Black Belt prairie and
on the west by the Delta. This
football-shaped expanse of level
fields of sandy loam and buck
shot clay reaches 200 miles from
Vicksburg to Memphis, one of the
richest cotton-growing areas in
America.
Mississippi was settled by plant
(Continued on Page 2)

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