Sunflower County: You need all the ingredients for the whole storyBy BY MARK H. STOWERS FOR THE E-T,
Good Mornin’! Good Mornin’!
Every corner of Sunflower County is rich with history. Some good, some great, some not so good and some just plain awful. But to make the full recipe of history, it all has to be mixed in together to move forward. With February being the celebration of Black History Month, our county has a treasure trove of history that shouldn’t be relegated to a single month. I wholeheartedly agree with Morgan Freeman who stated on the CBS program “60 Minutes” that he found Black History Month “ridiculous.”
“You’re going to relegate my history to a month?” he responded to the late interviewer Mike Wallace. “What month is yours? What month is White History? Which month is Jewish History Month?”
The answer was that there wasn’t one, Freeman retorted, “Oh, do you want one?”
The reply was simply “no” to which Freeman said he didn’t want one either.
“Black history is American History,” Freeman added. But the interviewer went on to ask, “How do you get rid of racism?” To which, Freeman replied, “Stop talking about it. I’m going to stop calling you a white man and I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man. I know you as Mike Wallace and you know me as Morgan Freeman.”
That being said, let’s keep moving forward with American History but not forget the struggles of those who gave their all.
The late Fannie Lou Hamer of Ruleville was a pioneer in the Civil Rights Movement She was beaten and jailed for simply trying to get people registered to vote. She marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and she even became a delegate for the Democratic Party at its 1968 Convention in Chicago. When she came home she started a Pig Bank to help improve the diets of those in Sunflower County. The pigs would be loaned out and the piglets produced would be kept and raised by the borrowers who would return the gilts and boars to the Pig Bank. She went on to start the Freedom Farm along with the Pig Bank goals. She worked incessantly with anti-poverty efforts and even ran for the senate but lost.
She would do so much more not covered here due to space and certainly not to shrink any of her accomplishments. Her work took a toll on her body and several ailments led to her heart failure that was exacerbated by cancer, diabetes and hypertension.
She passed on March 14, 1977. Ruleville is anchored with her memory as the post office, community center, memorial park, youth center and the street on which she lived all bear her name.
I was much too young to know or understand her significance as a child but over the years have come to understand and appreciate the passion that drove her. February is February and history is history – it should all be color blind, but none of it – the good or the bad should ever be forgotten.
I’d always ‘preciate your comments here or over at Facebook, or you can tweet me @markhstowers ... See yah next week! As a freelance writer, I’m working to grow my business and have created a GoFundMe page to help with that. Please take a look and see if you can help. I’d greatly appreciate it!
A Rebel, a Statesman — or Fightin’ Okra — and even a Trojan, I’m the Sunflower County farm boy with no green thumb who longed to live in the big city, got his wish and now is working his way back to the farm.
A freelance writer, middle-of-the-road-conservative and wannabe fry cook, I look to bring native Sunflower County folks and businesses to your attention through my looking glass.
There are those of us that packed up Mississippi and took it with us to new destinations and neighbors. My area code may be 248 but my heart is all about 662 and Sunflower County.
There’s more about me at markhstowers.com.