Letters to the Editor
To the Editor:
Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung once stated that to live without history is not normal. “It is a disease…a mutilation of the human being.” Gracing the Table, a community discussion group on topics of slavery and racism, was founded with a similar view in mind.
Now, recent events on the national level, especially the tragic killing of counter-protester Heather D. Heyer in Charlottesville, Va., (in which a driver plowed his car into a crowd, injuring many and taking the life of one) call for civil conversation across the nation. To be sure, issues underlying removal of Confederate monuments – one motivation for the Charlottesville incident--are complicated and sensitive, but it must be recognized that issues identified have significant reverberance here in Holly Springs.
Organizers of GTT recognize two general, conflicting, opinions inside and outside Holly Springs: history as heritage and history as moral question. The two perspectives are not, in our opinion, mutually exclusive. Rather, history as heritage requires evaluation of underlying morals and ethics. Heritage is multidimensional: how we see our histories in the present, how we define ourselves based upon our histories, and then who we choose to be in the present. Ahistorical views of heritage, on the other hand, do not encourage consideration of how prevailing histories impact community. Our inability to discuss slavery, history, and race in America honestly and openly is limited by how we view ourselves in the world and how we think the world sees us. GTT seeks solutions for our community that address the realities of all of America rather than prevailing perspectives of historically dominant groups.
The violence in Charlottesville, preceded in June of 2015 by a horrific mass killing of worshippers at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., indicate our society’s massive error in moral judgment in which history as heritage has been viewed by many Americans either as a settling of social problems often expressed as a “we get along fine here” perspective, or has been accepted as an irreconcilable and innocent difference. In some cases, Americans have maybe agreed to disagree. Yet, the tragedies we have been witnessing as of late reveal that neither stance really has worked; the nation is met again with the truth of continued existence of deep-seated racial division.
In Holly Springs, as in most other places in the country, there remain specific points of disagreement that may not, for reasons already explained here, announce themselves as such. For instance, the south side of the square is bordered by Van Dorn Ave., named for Confederate Gen. Earl Van Dorn, famous for his December 20 raid on a Union-occupied Holly Springs in the second year of the Civil War. Continued honoring of this historic figure is quietly absorbed by some as a point of pride even while it represents for others an affront to the fight for freedom and humanity for all. From a consciously critical view, Confederate memorials cannot be seen outside of the historical contexts in which they were created. Today, they remain icons of power adopted by groups with specific interests.
In fact, part of the realization of those interests is through dominating the stories that are told. The nation has not allowed all groups to write their national story. The experience, contributions, and perspectives of the historically dispossessed have only been absorbed in the context of the definitions and norms of others in the interest of themselves. It is important to define current events from a diversity of perspectives in the interest of everyone who is a part of America.
How can we at this critical moment enter conversation around civic naming, purposes of iconography (symbols), and the relationship between these and our city’s progress? How might we, through discussion, imagine the Holly Springs that we hope to be in the future?
Jung’s wisdom might play a mediating role in the process as he seems to suggest that history cannot in fact be erased. Neither can superficial ways of living with history stimulate progress that would include deep racial reconciliation. We are encouraged to ask how our peculiar treatment of the past has mutilated, as Jung contends, individuals, groups, and communities.
GTT is proud to be part of the solution to the still pressing issue of race relations. We remain committed to taking on the important work of examining practices of remembrance and of offering creative and peaceful ways of engaging history.
Please join us for an interest meeting on Sunday, Sept. 17, from 4-6 p.m. at Bottomless Cup (144 South Memphis Street).
We are convening to share ideas about how we can work towards building a healthier North Mississippi community, together. Be prepared to discuss possible future programs and events.
Wayne C. Jones
Gracing The Table
Death intersection at Highways 302 and 309
To the Editor:
The intersection of Highways 302 (Goodman Road) and 309 (Byhalia) is notorious for way too many traffic accidents resulting in deaths.
So many, that it has been dubbed the nickname, “Death Intersection,” by locals who have witnessed people in cars, 18-wheelers, on motorcycles, as well as pedestrians killed at this intersection.
This is being publicized in hopes that as a community of caring people we might come together with our leaders and find a solution to make this intersection safer for our loved ones as well as all travelers coming through this lovely community.
Possible solutions could be:
A.) Reduce speed limit from 65 mph to 45 mph.
B.) Put in four-way stops on 309 (Goodman) on both sides of the light close to the intersection to slow traffic.
C.) Replace light with four-way stop, then place a short distance before the four-way a warning light with slow signs and road bumps.
Do you or your loved ones travel through this intersection?
I believe the time, effort and expense to make this intersection safer will be well worth the many lives that may be saved, don’t you?
Lisa Carney Beckham