‘Rising again’ a good thing

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 8, 2009

Just over 140 years ago, a fellow named Sherman burned much of the South to the ground. For half a century we endured federal control and defeat of spirit. Since then, we’ve recruited tens of thousands of jobs away from the unionized North and have climbed out of poverty and disrespect in large leaps, all the while being made to feel ashamed of our Southerness. “Rising again” has been our clarion call for four generations.

To buy the notion that “the South” means nothing more than putting down blacks and advocating slavery is absurd. Ole Miss’ banning of the phrase “The South will rise again” buys into that nutty notion (“‘Rise again’ chant spurned by Ole Miss,” Oct. 23). I lived in the Delta for 36 years and pray that it, too, will “rise again.” I hope our capital city will one day “rise again.” The last chancellor at Ole Miss banned the school mascot and sticks in the stadium and relegated the fight song to mediocrity, while hoping to ban the very name of the football team.

The brand-new chancellor at Ole Miss, in his arrogant and egotistical wisdom, has chosen to denigrate our history and our heritage by interjecting his personal whims and fancies while thumbing his nose at alumni, fans and friends of the university.

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Just as the South rose from mediocrity in the national jobs market between 1970 and 1990, I hope the “South will rise again” in many other respects. Perhaps our state slogan should be “rising again.” It’s time we bury the ghost of Robert Khayat in the Grove at Ole Miss, not school chants, mascots, banners and team names.

The new chancellor seems to have accepted Khayat’s baton handoff. Alumni, take notice.

Don Drane