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The Dam Broke


From The Hardest Deal of All: Introduction: September 12, 1966, began as a rainy Monday morning in Grenada, a town in central Mississippi on the border between the Hills and the Delta.

Once a woman finds her voice, it's not easy to back down from the dam that broke and loosed the torrent of words ... imagery from the spillway, the dam itself there at Grenada Lake come to mind as I allow the current of thoughts to push me forward. Had no real plans to focus on race issues whether from 1966 or present day, when S. Belle Speaks Out first took on early life as a mild, not-to-be quietened down idea... seeking a voice ... aware that not all southern belles think the same ... somehow sensing that no one version does the preconceived image justice ... certain that diverse voices are needed to capture the complex culture of the south.

My January 16, 2023, FB post of Martin Luther King with Joan Baez by his side at Poplar Street pried my fingers away. The pent up waters flowed.

Responses came ... Disgusted by what happened that day. So thankful my parents were not on the lawn of our school and were equally disturbed by what happened. Some reminded us that we did not speak out. One shared the tragedy of those who did speak out such as Hazel Brannon Smith, a MS newspaper owner who "was the recipient of such violent acts she lost her business and home."

Was it the years spent teaching in a predominately black high school in 1975-1977, in a "hole-in-the-road, split-down-the-middlle between the haves and have nots railroad town in the Mississippi Delta" (SPRINGHEADS, a novel) or the late-in-life awareness of Charles C. Bolton's book THE HARDEST DEAL OF ALL, The Battle Over School Integration in Mississippi, 1870 -1980 that weakened the dam for the final break?

Whatever the cause, the waters cannot be put back in safekeeping behind a dam of my own making.




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