A black man moves to Dixie | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

A black man moves to Dixie

Posted By on Wed, Nov 1, 2017 at 7:17 AM

click to enlarge TIMES THERE: A move to Dixie 'emboldened' Jemar Tisby.
  • TIMES THERE: A move to Dixie 'emboldened' Jemar Tisby.
Jemar Tisby writes in Vox as a black man who moved to the Deep South to work in Arkansas for two years in a KIPP charter school while living across the river in Mississippi. He decided to stay and now lives in Jackson, where he received a divinity degree.

He found racism and bigotry in the Deep South. But the experience also, he said, "emboldened me like nowhere else I've been before."

He wrote:

Most of the black folks I talk to outside of this region can’t fathom ever living here. I try to tell them that they can’t truly understand the nation or themselves unless they at least make a pilgrimage to the Deep South.

For black people, the South is our homeland away from home. We were divorced from our native soil on the African continent and shipped to agricultural regions of North America; the Deep South is as close as many African Americans will get to their past.

I could have easily left after my two-year commitment — but I didn’t. The people I surrounded myself with and the impact I was making on my students in this small Southern town kept me rooted in place. But it was more than that. In some sense, I chose to live in the Deep South not in spite of its racial past but because of it. The racial wounds are apparent here, and they help me see this nation for what it truly is.
He found, among others, the marks of those who worked to make a difference and finds hope progress will continue.

My son was born and is being raised in the South, a region that has not been kind to black men. He is also being raised in a country that has denigrated the dignity of people like him. My hope for my child’s future is that his skin color won’t be a source of shame to him or derision from others.

Above all, I want my child, and myself, to be black and free. Free to live in the South as black human beings — no explanations, no apologies, no fear. Simply the freedom to be.
More about the author here. (I misspelled his name in the original post.)

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