Frankeye Adams-Johnson says that she was a foot soldier, one of the thousands of marching young people in the 60s. She suggests that we need to inspire young people today by getting them involved in the world. We need to get teens to job shadow and offer them an environment that is stimulating. With all the problems we have to solve, there is much work for teenagers to do. Mrs. Johnson is also a poet, fiction writer and playright. I intend to talk to her about my book.
Helen Barnes, M.D. is different than the other speakers we have had. When she went to the Mississippi Delta it was to be a doctor, not a civil rights worker. Black and a woman she had to fight prejudice in so many ways. When she began she went to the homes of her patients who often had no way to get to a doctor in town. Her life has been dedicated to women’s health in the Mississippi Delta, which is a very hard place still.
I know there are people on this tour who do not vote. One is Jamaican and I’m not sure how many others. By the trip reunion in late June at least one student will have already registered to vote and made a commitment to get to the polls. That is the power that is generated by Dr. McCord’s experience. It isn’t a class, it is so much more. People in the class bump into the essence of who they are and how they fit each day we’re on the road.
Professor McCord wields the bus like she would a sports car – quickly and effectively. If someone needs to be somewhere, she gets them on the bus. The bus might get on down the road with only one passenger if that one passenger needs something. An other example. Most of the members of the class are staying at the “dorms” at Jackson State University. But there are a few – two couples and a lady – who are staying at a motel. The married couples can’t stay together at the dorms. When it is time to go to dinner the bus operates like a school bus picking up the motel folks before coming for those on campus. And tonight is special. We go to dinner at an Italian restaurant. Rather than southern food, I shared an order of eggplant parmesana with Steve Kent. His wife, daughter and son are part of the dinner party who chose to eat outside with Steve and I because the air conditioning has gotten to the “chip the ice off your eyelashes stage.” When we are all together, the topic is usually how we can get. The importance of voting in the 1960s has been a topic at almost every stop. But, how about now? We face such serious problems as a country, and politicians have gotten so wrapped up in having things “their way” that it seems we will never solve the problems that plague us. What if everyone voted? Only 42% of the eligible voters voted in 2008. That means 58% didn’t think they could make a difference. On this trip our eyes have been on a world where the vote made all the difference.
Our dorm rooms aren’t as luxurious as the inns were. The beds are narrow and four feet off the floor. Beneath the bed there are drawers for student possessions. I didn’t have any problem with the bed although I was a bit nervous I might fall on the floor in the middle of the night. As I’ve said before, I came home for a nap in the afternoon and the bed did not slow me down, nor did it tonight.
I have a procedure I go through at the end of each day. I take the pictures out of the camera and put them on my laptop. Then I “jump” the camera. I do the same thing with the digital video camera. Then there is the phone to plug in for a charge. Thank God I did that “stuff” when I came in for my lunch. Tonight I just ooze into bed and snooze. Mississippi Delta tomorrow.