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Winter 2000


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MY WHOLE WORLD

 

 

My Whole World Was My Kinfolks




In the January 1st New York Times, UMass alumna Unita Blackwell '83G was shown in front of the house where she lived in rural Mississippi in the 1960s. "I grew up in Coahoma County, on Mr. Hamilton's plantation in Lula, Miss.," the civil rights pioneer and longtime mayor of Mayersville, Mississippi, told the Times. "My whole world was my kinfolks - when I was a little girl, all I knew was my family." Briefly describing some of the difficulties of her childhood and her subsequent involvement with the Mississippi Freedom Riders and Freedom Democratic Party, which she helped found, Mayor Blackwell concluded, "It seems like the whole century has been about overcoming. Fighting and then overcoming. You had women's suffrage, and apartheid and segregation. And we blacks lived in that lock-in, and somehow survived. How, I do not know. Nothing but a God, I say. The whole era was full of hate, but we're trying to overcome it, and we're headed for something new, I just feel it. Maybe we are the group of people, the blacks in America, that brought everyone to their worst, and then to their best. Including ourselves."

 
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