Warm Welcome in Mississippi!
I just returned from an incredible trip to the Mississippi Delta with my husband, Oren. I hadn’t been there for many years and wanted to meet the people I’d interviewed for my book–people like Lillie, Mattie, and Billy. I’d probably interviewed each of them on the phone 20 or 30 times over a period of three years, but I’d never met them in person. This was the time to do that, as well as make a video about the civil rights movement to take with me to school visits. Over the next several weeks, I’ll be blogging about this once-in-a-lifetime trip.
No sooner had Oren and I stepped off the airplane than we walked right into the new Medgar Evers Pavillion at the airport in Jackson. Since the title of my book A Thousand Never Evers is a tribute to Medgar Evers, I was eager to check it out. It’s a great exhibit with lots of primary source documents about Medgar’s work as NAACP Field Secretary in Mississippi.
Bertha, at the airport bookstore, told us that Myrlie Evers had been in town just a few days ago for the opening of the pavillion, which was on the forty-sixth anniversary of Medgar’s death–June 12, 1963. While we were talking to Bertha, a tall man walked by and waved hello. “Oh, hi, Mr. Mayor!” Bertha said. So Oren and I asked, “Which mayor is that?” And she told us, “That’s Mayor Harvey Johnson. The new mayor of Jackson!”
I ran up to the mayor, introduced myself, and told him about my book. He was kind enough to listen and also help us find our bags, when they didn’t appear on the luggage carousel.
Well, not even out of the airport, and already we’d seen the Medgar Evers Pavillion, met the mayor of Jackson, and talked to the airport bookstore about carrying A Thousand Never Evers. We were off to a good start!
At the end of our trip, we’d go to the Medgar Evers House & Museum, where the Evers family lived, and where Medgar Evers was shot dead. But there was a lot of adventure to be had and fried chicken to eat before then.