Friday, March 21, 2014

College friend, housemate, and fraternity brother shares letter signed by both of our fathers.

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    At some point I seem to recollect coming across a quote that said "Mississippi is not so much a state as it is a private club." I thought Faulkner said it, but numerous Google searches for the author have proven fruitless. If I can't find anyone to attribute it to I guess I'll claim it.
    The point of the quote is that Mississippi is a relatively low-population state in which people from all over seem to share friendships and a common history.
    Joe Guyton, a fraternity brother and former housemate recently emailed me a copy of a letter to the national Democratic Committee that was signed by both of our fathers back in 1948. It urged the committee to name a slate of electors to support the re-election of Harry Truman as all of the state's leaders were supporting Strom Thurmond and Fielding Wright.
    A Google search found reference to this (unsuccessful) effort in a biography of Mississippi Congressman Frank Smith. It was apparently encouraged by Ole Miss professor Jim Silver, who was my father's favorite professor.
    My father was unable to attend a ceremony honoring Silver three years ago, so I went in his stead. I was disappointed when Chancellor Dan Jones and others used the event to suggest that those who wanted a new athletic director for Ole Miss were like those who drove Silver from the Ole Miss campus. It was a disgraceful act of incivility outside the bounds of the Ole Miss creed, yet Jones has still not apologized.
    In any event, what are the odds that two of 24 people who signed a letter back in 1948 would have sons who would later become friends, fraternity brothers, and housemates? My guess is that in Mississippi such things are more likely than in most states.

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