Comedian and Civil Rights activist, Dick Gregory, used to say that he spent ten years in Mississippi, one night. Nina Simone, in 1963, wrote and sang a song called “Mississippi Goddam”, in response to the killing of Medgar Evers, in Mississippi, and the bombing death of the four little girls, in Alabama. Nina, who was known to use a gun on certain occasions, chose writing the song as opposed to going out to shoot somebody, where she says, “Alabama’s got me upset, Tennessee made me lose my rest, but Mississippi Goddam, and I mean every word of it.”
Simone writes and sings about the message of “Go Slow” told to Black folks who were fighting for equality and justice in America. She says, “But that’s the problem. Do it slow, desegregation, go slow. Mass participation, go slow. Reunification, go slow. Do things gradually, go slow, but bring more tragedy, do it slow. Why don’t you see it, why don’t you feel it? I don’t know, I don’t know. You don’t have to live next to me, just give me my equality . . .”.
On the web, there is a discussion about the song written in the 60’s being outdated. Well I don’t know if it’s completely outdated. The song comes to my mind after hearing about the massive efforts of the Republicans in North Carolina to bring back Jim Crow laws to prevent Blacks from voting. If that works, then what, then where? North Carolina may not be Mississippi but still the message of Ms. Simone is relevant. North Carolina may not be the Mississippi of the 1960’s, but they are working hard to become the Mississippi of the 2000’s, thanks to a racist Supreme Court.
Nina Simone sang about Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi. Today, we see the spirit of what she sang in laws in Florida that promoted the murder of Trayvon Martin and in Texas and North Carolina with their anti Black voter laws. Jesse Jackson is calling Florida the apartheid state and saying it’s the Selma of our time because of voter laws and the high Black incarceration rates.
The spirit of Dred Scott lives today and Simone’s song is still relevant, unfortunately. The question is what will we do to stop the re-visitation of Jim Crow laws in what is being called the third reconstruction era in America? We need to do all we can to stop North Carolina. Could this be what Jeremiah Wright foresaw and was talking about when his preaching so upset the Republicans that they forced Barack Obama to dump him? Well, maybe Wright was right.
I suggest that each of us find a way to help defeat the Carolina Republicans, as they move forward to return Jim Crow to America. The Moral Monday protest movement is fighting the Republican Resegregation movement by urging folks to vote the Republicans out. The organization is headed by Reverend William Barber II, President of the North Carolina NAACP.
Those wanting more information on how you can help North Carolinian may contact the African American Newspaper, The Carolinan, at P.O. Box 25308, Raleigh, North Carolina 27611, or call (919) 834-5558. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. If we fight today, we won’t have to sing a new version of Simone’s song about Mississippi, exchanging it with North Carolina.
It’s good to see an integrated movement in Carolina. It’s laughable that white America is trying to divide Black America by pitting the former crack dealer Jay Z and Harry Belafonte against each other. There is no contest. Belafonte helped the Civil Rights movement in many ways. Jay Z is helping himself to the money. I prefer to be like Belafonte and help.