Beyond Racism: Lessons From the South

PHILADELPHIA, MISS. — How does a black man win the highest political office in this majority-white town, infamous for one of the vilest acts of racial violence in modern American history?

James Young knows precisely. The chatty, barrel-chested Pentecostal pastor and former town ambulance worker became the city’s first black mayor last year, mainly by promising he wouldn’t fix anybody’s traffic tickets. But despite his well-known face and pro-business outlook, Mr. Young admits he still bears the burden of his race in the eyes of many townspeople.

So how did he overcome the racial odds? “My philosophy is that I refuse to stop the truck and get out to fight you,” he says. “I’m going to keep moving forward.”

Race relations in Philadelphia, Miss. have come a long way since 1964 when three civil rights activists were murdered there, inspiring the movie “Mississippi Burning.”
Today, James Young (r.), the town’s first black mayor, sits in a diner with James David Williams (l.), who says he didn’t vote for the Young, but that he plans to next time.

Young’s slim, 47-vote victory in this town of 8,000 is hardly proof that racial prejudice is dead in the South, never mind here, …

Read more at Southern Partisan Online
(The opinions in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Southern Nation News or SN.O.)

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