Sunday, June 14, 2020

Bill Crawford: Will Changing Times Change Mississippi This Time?

In 1963, a time of civil unrest and protest, Bob Dylan penned the lyrics to his immortal The Times They Are a-Changin’.


“This was definitely a song with a purpose” Dylan recalled to screenwriter Cameron Crowe. “I wanted to write a big song, with short concise verses that piled up on each other in a hypnotic way. The civil rights movement and the folk music movement were pretty close for a while and allied together at that time."

The times appear to be a-changin’ again as the junction of the Black Lives Matter movement and the Me Too movement erupts amidst the lifestyle changes caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus. In Dylan’s time the eruption came from the junction of the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War peace movement amidst hippie/folk music lifestyle changes.

“The battle outside ragin'/ Will soon shake your windows/ And rattle your walls,” wrote Dylan and sang many music legends, including Joan Baez; the Byrds; Peter, Paul and Mary; Simon & Garfunkel; the Beach Boys; Phil Collins; Billy Joel; Bruce Springsteen; and the Rolling Stones.

The battle outside rages again.

Is there is a modern Dylan with other stars who will immortalize these times in song? Perhaps, but while folk music and poignant lyrics played a vital role in furthering change in the 60s, social media and stark videos fill that role now. Interestingly, it appears that athletes will bring the star power this time.

So, will these times have the same long-term impact as those times in the 60s?

1963 spurred long-term change in Mississippi. On June 12th of that year Medgar Evers was assassinated. The next year, Freedom Summer came to Mississippi with voter registration efforts, freedom riders, and more mayhem and murders. This contributed to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 followed by the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which spurred decades of change for Mississippi.

The late Stephen Ambrose, popular history author who spent his last years in Bay St. Louis, sought to portray this change in his last book, To America: Personal Reflections of an Historian, published in 2002.

Noting he had once thought Mississippi as bad as South Africa, he wrote, “For me, one of the great things in my life is riding my bike in my little town of Bay St. Louis and seeing black and white children playing together in the school yard. I see black businessmen, bankers, lawyers, doctors, teachers, and mixed couples walking on our beaches or sidewalks, holding hands.” Ambrose died thinking much of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream had been realized in Mississippi.

Yet, that battle still rages.

How and by whom will the current change movement be sustained until it becomes transformational?

Time, the Case Foundation, and others point to the Millennial generation.

My Millennial daughter wrote this in an award-winning essay in 2002 at age 15: “I hold in my hand the key to the future. This is so because I am a young adult and have the power to change the future, as does my generation.”

“Come mothers and fathers/ Throughout the land/ And don't criticize/ What you can't understand/ Your sons and your daughters/ Are beyond your command/ … For the times they are a’changin’.”

Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Jackson.

16 comments:

Highway 61 Revisited said...

There was nothing special about your daughter's (or mine) generation. Every generation has the 'power' to cause change. And every generation does that. It just may not be in the more obvious social upheaval that columnists like to point to and admire.

We can point to the many superb changes caused by a number of generations without dwelling on social turmoil. But, it's with due respect and understanding that I know that's the sort of thing you, Salter and the Mitchells of our time cling to (on bended knee).

Meanwhile: Never forget John Prine.

Anonymous said...

Personally I don't think, in the long run, it will matter. We are ripe for someone to take us over with little fight. Oh well. was nice while it lasted. Just glad people like my dad will be gone so they don't have to see how the country they saved was given away.

Anonymous said...

Why would anything change? The foundation of the movement is based on the death of aviolent seven (7) time felon who died because he was loaded on drugs and Covid-19. Now the lie is being repeated the with the death of a raging drunk driver in Atlanta.

If you take an honest look at every angle including all of the statistics. You are only left with one truth. And it is not the manufactured narrative that is being pushed by the media and these inorganic protests.

By the way Bill. Why don't you write something about a real hero martyr like Deputy James Blair who has become another statistical dead officer at the hands of a violent black male.

Anonymous said...

I don't see anything in these protests that would change the trends of criminal demographics. But the movement to defund cops isn't going to make anyone safer.
What i do see is a push to demonize any future George Zimmermans that are created by defunding police.

Anonymous said...

Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss

Pete Townshend

Anonymous said...

The demand for change is inevitable. The civil rights movement was about law. Changing the laws to include equal protection of everybody. That was an absolute good. Unless the law protects everybody it ultimately protects nobody. This movement is about cultural change. Whose life has value?
As 9:08 notes, a seven time felon loaded on drugs or a raging drunk? Do
their lives have value? A young disrespectful black man? Does his life have less value than a young disrespectful white man? Some police officers might think so. Just look at these protests and you can see the difference in police reactions. It depends on WHO is protesting. The police apply their values as they are taught. So what do we teach? This was coming sooner or later. So let's deal with it.

Anonymous said...

Mississippi will resist change. No matter how inevitable. Mississippi leadership will never be intelligent enough to see opportunity in change. We will remain last. People who seize opportunity make progress. We don't even want progress. Let's stay where we are. Now there.

Anonymous said...

Mississippi now trails NASCAR in social awareness. White
Mississippi sees little black girls being escorted by National Guardsmen w rifles, and white Mississippi doesn’t blink an eye. White Mississippi isn’t going to change. It thinks Reeves’s patently chickenshit bullshit “let the voters decide” cop out is cute. Bottom line: White Mississippi hates black people. End of discussion.

Anonymous said...

Mississippi has been changing and continues to change. Changing into Seattle, Portland or Minneapolis is not the kind of change I want any part of.

Anonymous said...

So true Bill. And as Freire said we have become the oppressed for our sins and the sins of our forefathers. The sin of slavery and white privilege is ours to own.

Anonymous said...

The difference I see between generations is that the millennials and GenZ are much more indoctrinated in socialism and communism than prior generations. The U.S, used to be driven by individual achievement and hard work. No more. A gender or minority studies degree is viewed as just as valuable as a medical, engineering, or finance degree. The snowflakes can’t understand why society isn’t throwing money equally at all of them.

I don’t think they are necessarily “woke” on racism or are fighting for equal opportunity for everybody. I believe it is more reflective of their belief society owes everyone equal results regardless of contribution and they are perfectly willing to tax the ambitious, hard working achievers to transfer benefits to those “unwilling to work” as AOC admitted was the liberal cause. Bring in the uneducated masses from third- world countries too because they also view their plight as the responsibility of American policies and actions.

America will die as a republic because of your daughter’s generation.

Anonymous said...

Crawford brings out the WOKE on this board.

Anonymous said...

If only WOKE = WORK

Anonymous said...

10:38, you're a fool if you think Mississippi has that monopoly on that!!!!

You should travel more, both in country and out of country.

Something in the milk isn’t clean said...

Racism abound

Anonymous said...

recently i saw a sign at a YMCA that advertised 'karate for christ''. when i was a kid the saying was ''kill a commie for christ''.

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