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Wed Aug 30, 2017, 01:04 PM

Leave My Heritage Alone!

By Brent Hearn
Wednesday, August 30, 2017 11:34 a.m. CDT

Mississippi's history is one of beauty and blood; music and malevolence; literature and lamentation. We can't ignore the ugly parts; those stains don't wash out ...

Let's rename our schools for people who didn't fight for slavery. If you mistakenly believe that wasn't what they were fighting for, read the Declaration of Secession. Let's take down those statues of Confederate war heroes. There are plenty of other worthy Mississippians to memorialize. Let's rename the Ross Barnett Reservoir. How about the James Meredith Reservoir? Wouldn't that be poetic justice? And for the love of all that's decent, let's get rid of our accursed state flag ...

"You're trying to erase our history!" I'm not for a moment suggesting that we forget our past. It's imperative that our schools teach a complete, unflinching history of the state. But when you build a monument to a person, you're not just remembering them, you're honoring them. When you name a street or school after someone, you're honoring them. When you say, "This is a symbol that represents me," you're taking on its baggage.

"Isn't Mississippi strapped enough for cash? Why spend a bunch of money on something that's strictly symbolic?" Well, first off, it's not strictly symbolic. It's an economic investment. Mississippi is surrounded by a giant, magnolia-shaped fart cloud of stigma that tends to overshadow her beautiful and admirable things. When we claim to be "The Hospitality State," but we've gone out of our way to honor folks who were anything but hospitable to those without the right amount of melanin in their skin, there's some serious cognitive dissonance there. Secondly, it's the right thing to do. That should be enough ...


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