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March 25, 2001

By Staff
Slave population larger than quoted
To the Editor:
An article in The Meridian Star ("Historian says state flag issue misunderstood," March 9), quoted former Meridian author Hewitt Clarke as saying "the average people in Mississippi were not slave owners. There were some (slaves) in East Mississippi, but most were located on the west side of the state, along the river."
Granted, there were more slaves in the fertile Delta counties than in the eastern counties. However, if, as Mr. Clarke contends, there were only a few, or "some" slaves in East Central Mississippi, then where did the large present-day black population in Lauderdale, Clarke, Kemper, and Noxubee counties come from?
If Mr. Clarke will check microfilm of the 1860 census, and the 1858 slave tables, both of which are available at the Meridian Public Library, he will find that slaves made up around 38 percent of Lauderdale's population at that time. In Noxubee County, slaves were in the majority.
Moreover, according to the records in the State Auditor's Office, the increase in the number of "taxable slaves" in Lauderdale county between 1854 and 1857 (1,483) was larger than the increase in slaves in all but three (Bolivar, Coahoma, and Washington) of Mississippi's counties during that period.
I realize Mr. Clarke means well, but he is dead wrong when he infers there were only a few slaves in East Central Mississippi, as evidenced by today's black population.
Richard Williams
Meridian
New flag design would heal division
To the Editor:
I read with great interest the article concerning the flag debate, especially the analysis by Steve Swogetinsky.
I wasn't aware that the issue of the cross bars is one thing other states use against Mississippi in competing for new industries and jobs also I didn't know that these cross bars affect adversely the recruiting programs of football and basketball in the Big 3 Colleges.
Maybe we need to take a good look at the design of the proposed new flag. Maybe a circle symbolizing the original 13 colonies and the six flags that have flown over the state would have a more healing effect on our relationships.
The apostle Paul in Romans (14) had some good advice for people who were in similar conflict in his day. He said, "So then everyone of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not, therefore judge one another any more: but judge this nether, that no man put a stumbling block or occasion to fall in his brothers way."
I would like to see us marching under the same banner for the good of all people in Mississippi. Think about it.
Mildred Smith
Quitman
Snakes and unkept promises
To the Editor:
I am writing in response to a March 15 article in The Meridian Star in reference to Mrs. Luvenia Hodges battling snakes coming from a ditch running beside her residence.
Mrs. Hodges has been battling this problem for years and every election year Mr. Palmer says he is trying to correct the problem. Now he wants to apply for a grant to concrete the ditch.
Well, Mr. Palmer, you have had 12 years to apply for a grant to give Mrs. Hodges some relief. You have not done that. How many other wards complain about snakes and other problems that need to be addressed none that I know have except Ward 4.
The citizens of this ward should stop listening to leaders of this city who always make promises they don't keep, and it's time for a change.
John Nelson Jr.
Meridian
Another thoughtless soul'
To the Editor:
This is an open letter to "someone" in our community.
On Friday morning, March 16, you were driving your truck or car so fast up or down the hill on 36th Street that you killed our beautiful orange cat. You must have been driving as fast as Jeff Gordon or at least as fast as someone might drive on the interstate.
I realize the cat should not have been in the street but he was just a friendly little cat who had a route he would take each day to visit all the neighbors. To "most" of our neighbors he was their little sweetheart and all who knew him loved him as the neighborhood cat. Unfortunately, that meant crossing the street at times, but most of the time he stayed right at home. I guess the reason I'm writing you this later is because my little boy will be coming back from his daddy's house and I'm going to have to tell him his beloved pet went to live with Jesus while he was gone. Some thoughtless soul ran over him and didn't even care enough to stop with houses on both sides to try and see who the little cat belonged to and at least say you were sorry.
I realize the cat probably ran out in front of your car and it was an accident or at least I hope it was an accident. But I can't help but tell you, someone, you must not be a very nice person to leave him there like you did.
We buried our precious Pinky in a very special place in our woods where he used to play. One of our neighbors was kind enough to stop and help my mother pick his lifeless little body out of the street.
We have children who live in this neighborhood, too. It could have been one of them you hit. Hopefully this letter will remain in your conscience and maybe inspire you to slow down as you drive in neighborhoods before you kill another pet or even a child.
Perhaps someone one day may take something from you that you love. Then you will know how we felt the day you left our cat in the street and never looked back.
Miriam Garrett
Meridian

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