Tisdale’s Topics: “Mississippi G–” Nina Simone

Reprint October 17-23, 2003

Ill fares the land To hastening ills a prey, Where wealth accumulates And men decay! Oliver Goldsmith’s epic words describe perfectly the dilemma that confronts blacks in Mississippi who love freedom! The white man’s money and other emoluments have stolen whatever sense of honor black leaders possessed in the past: the Aaron Henrys, Medgar Evers, Susie Ruffins, the Fannie Lou Hamers! Instead, the Jackson City Council’s super black majority of Marshand Crisler, Leslie Burl McLemore, Bo Brown and Bettye Cook flaunt their Uncle Tomism with reckless abandon.

Perhaps that quartet of Remuses hail from such a long line of white folks Negroes that they are powerless to break that chain of command. Duke Ellington said: “If you got it, flaunt it,” but this isn’t what he had in mind. Still, it is overwhelmingly disconcerting to see four college educated Negroes being commanded by Ben Allen, the sole white on the council who signals the four blacks to let them know how he wants them to vote without even opening his mouth! To make sure I had the right picture images in mind from this mélange of cowardice and reverse racism, I took another look. Did you ever notice how Ben Allen leans to one side in his seat as he makes complete fools out of his black counterparts? Besides giving much of this 73% black city’s power and authority to his master Leland Speed and overtaxing poor black citizens, what has he done to benefit those who elected him?


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