We Cross a Double Line

Just after dawn, we explored some of old Greenville.  We particularly liked the abandoned railway station . . .

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“COLUMBUS & GREENVILLE RY CO.”

. . . and the pig-meat eatery next door.

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(How odd that barbeque joints display smiling pigs, and chicken joints show smiling chickens.)

Then, with cinematographer David driving behind us to fend off reckless motorists, we sped 15 miles to what the Algonquin Nation called the Father of Waters . . .

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. . . made our third bicycle trip over the Mississippi (the other two were at Prairie du Chien [2011] and at St. Louis [2016]) . . .

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. . . and we crossed the Arkansas line.

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Isn’t it ironic that this was the first street we saw in Arkansas.

You may recall our recent visits to the World Capitals of Sweet Potatoes and of Cotton. Little Eudora is a Capital too, albeit only in Arkansas.

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In 44 miles, still before breakfast, we doubled the number of today’s crossed lines!

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After 124 miles in California, we pedaled another 634 miles on this, the second leg of the 8th annual Ride for Human Rights.

We haven’t yet reached 1000 miles for this year’s Ride.  We’ll address that later.  We did achieve our geographical goal:  Indiana to Louisiana, via Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas.

In tropical heat, we loaded our gear into David’s car and drove south in Louisiana, then east to Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Meet Sally, owner of Main Street Market, where the Ride’s humans had a delicious lunch.

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L to R:  Sally, Jeffrey

Sally’s Episcopal niece taught refugees in Turkey, where she met a Syrian Muslim.  The couple married and now live in northern Mississippi.  Sally and her extended family saw how hard it is for even the fiance of a U.S. citizen to immigrate to our country.  Our new neighbor can’t visit his family in Syria due to the civil war, and his family can’t get exit visas from the Syrians nor visitor visas from other countries so they could visit him.  Foolish paperwork keeps them apart.  Sally was pleased that we could hear her story.  She emphatically supports the goals of Human Rights First.

A visit to Vicksburg’s Old Warren County Court House Museum reminded us of Mississippian William Faulkner’s remark:  “The past is not dead.  It’s not even past.”

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David at the Museum.

The exhibits at this wonderful museum emphasize the nobility of the “Confederate Cause”, the kindness of masters, the happiness of slaves, the evil done by Yankees.  They also show that Vicksburg survived a Syrian who had a sharp object.

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“Survived”?  We wax sarcastic about our current government’s refusal to admit more than a handful of refugees from Syria.

We understand people’s reluctance to indict their ancestors.  But no gloss can blind us to the South’s goal during the Civil War:  to preserve slavery.  If fewer of today’s Americans rationalized and justified the past dehumanization of our neighbors of recent African ancestry, perhaps politicians would not find so much support for the present dehumanization of our neighbors who were born abroad.

David and Jeffrey had a fine dinner in Meridian, Mississippi . . .

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. . . served by Dennis, a young man from Enterprise . . .

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. . . who sympathizes with refugees and now is a fan of the Ride.

The adventure continues tomorrow as we motor hundreds of miles east and north.  Eventually we will reunite Jeffrey with his electric car.

2 thoughts on “We Cross a Double Line

  1. The best of the debunking of the Lost Cause false narrative ( like you experienced in Vicksburg) is a small book by Charles Dow , a Southerner teaching history in New England, called Apostles of Disunion that follows in a scholarly recreation the Southern “Secession Commissioners” and what they were saying as they visited other (not yet seceded) southern state legislatures in 1860. It uses the very words of Southerners talking to other Southerners to “prove” that the Primary reason for leaving the Union was White Supremacy and the maintenance of the slave economy. The “lost cause “baloney was created by the defeated leaders of Secession AFTER THE WAR WAS LOST to try to justify and cleanse the utterly disastrous decisions to leave the Union. It led directly to all the memorials to Southern valor seen all through the South that so aggravate the black population. That these things draw graffiti and ridicule from citizens who cannot abide such a thoroughly dishonest narrative of this disastrous war completely caused by an attempt through force of arms after so treasonous act as secession to uphold slavery and White Supremacy is hardly surprising. What is shocking to contemplate is how many years(decades) it went unchallenged. Cities such as New Orleans with majority black political power structures are beginning to correct the record in the face of tremendous blowback by ahistorical organizations dedicated to the Lost Cause narrative. See the new book by Mitch Landreau (aka the good Mitch)In the Shadow of Statues.

    Kip Thompson

    >

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