Monday, June 16, 2008

Say What?

Maybe my local history wasn't well taught, but darn if I remember any serious historical event regarding the Civil Rights Movement in Lee County. With the exception of a brief moment in the late '70s, was Tupelo any kind of beacon of the civil rights movement?

Jackson? Yup. Philadelphia? Certainly. McComb? Of course. Tupelo? Not so much.

Yes, there was a Civil War Battle-more accurately called a skirmish, probably. It was the first TVA city-which I'm reminded of every time I enter the mess of an intersection known as Crosstown. Naturally, it's also the birthplace of Elvis and formerly the site of Longtown, a major Chickasaw settlement. Heck, Tupelo has even been held up by Machine Gun Kelly.

But what major civil rights event needs to be commemorated by a monument on the courthouse lawn? And why is it assumed that taxpayers need to fund it?

I have an idea. One of the spokesmen for 'the Coalition for Change' (what a wonderful, vague, vapid, airless name!) is one James Hull. As we discussed last year around this time, he is the former WTVA reporter who became a paid member of the campaign of Jamie Franks Jr. It is my belief that this is Greg Davis, KKK member part 2. Is that too far out of the realm of possibility?

Think about it. The city of Tupelo is a shade under 70% white. The First Congressional District is just over 70% white. In the recent election, about 40% of those voting were black. See the pattern here? A well-timed bit of outrage-say a flyer saying that a candidate supported the KKK, for instance-to drive up black turnout could be beneficial to all kinds of candidates, now and in the future. The presence of a Democratic operative at the front of the entire shebang surely lends itself to that thought.

Now, do Tupelo and Lee County have problems? Yes. There's a lack of affordable housing, especially for the middle class. There are too many city council members. There's a culture of cronyism in the county school district. Are any of these going to be solved by a monument to a movement that largely passed Tupelo by? Nope. And it certainly they will not be solved by spending taxpayer money on such a monument.

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