State could ditch song with racist roots

Mississippi is at the verge of scuttling a state track with racist roots, two years after it retired a Confederate-themed state flag.

The present track, “Go, Mississippi,” takes its song from a 1959 marketing campaign jingle of Democratic Gov. Ross Barnett. “Roll With Ross” incorporated the lyrics, “For segregation, 100%. He’s not a moderate, like some of the gents.”

Barnett unsuccessfully resisted integration of the University of Mississippi in 1962, and legislators that 12 months followed a state track surroundings new phrases to his marketing campaign ditty: “Go, Mississippi, keep rolling along. Go, Mississippi, you cannot go wrong.”

Mississippi Gov. Ross Barnett waves a accomplice flag prior to the beginning of Ole Miss-Kentucky soccer sport on the stadium on Sept. 29, 1962, in Jackson, Miss. (AP Photo/Jim Bourdier, File)

Some legislators have quietly sought a brand new track in recent times, pronouncing the Barnett connection is an embarrassing relic of the dangerous outdated days.

The effort received momentum when Republican House Speaker Philip Gunn opened this 12 months’s legislative consultation by means of appearing a video of “One Mississippi,” composed by means of nation track singer and songwriter Steve Azar for the state’s 2017 bicentennial birthday celebration.

Azar is a Mississippi local. His lyrics play at the hide-and-seek counting sport (One Mississippi … two Mississippi … 3 Mississippi …) and incorporate acquainted pictures: magnolia bushes, fried catfish, hurricanes, kudzu.

The Republican-controlled House and Senate on Thursday handed the overall model of a invoice to switch the Barnett-linked track with “One Mississippi.” The invoice additionally would create a committee to counsel that legislators designate further state songs later. Tennessee is amongst states with more than one legitimate songs.

Asked for his opinion at the measure, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves informed The Associated Press on Friday that he’s now not well-versed within the track proposal as a result of he’s been concerned about different problems, together with trainer pay raises and a tax minimize.

Reeves additionally mentioned he doesn’t know the state track and will’t recall whether or not he was once meant to be told it at school.

“I was focused on shooting basketballs,” Reeves deadpanned.

Karmen Owens, of McComb, Miss., proper, and Raniyah Younger, of Jackson, Miss., percentage fun Friday, April 1, 2022, within the Mississippi Capitol, the place they had been running as state Senate pages. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Two youngsters running as state Senate pages mentioned Mississippi wishes to modify its track.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea to take the tune of a racist song and make it for everybody,” mentioned Karmen Owens, a 15-year-old freshman at North Pike High School in McComb.

Raniyah Younger, a 17-year-old junior at Jackson’s Callaway High, mentioned a brand new state track will have to mirror other cultures and “equality of all races and all colors and all sexualities, of course.”

Democratic Sen. Hillman Frazier of Jackson labored for years to retire the Mississippi state flag, the ultimate within the country to function the Confederate struggle logo. Frazier mentioned Mississippi will have to now not have a track affiliated with a segregationist governor, however he desires a committee to inspect Mississippi’s deep musical heritage and get a hold of a brand new track.

“Most people don’t know the state song. They never sing it,” Frazier mentioned Thursday. “So, six months trying to get it right wouldn’t hurt a thing.”

Republican Sen. Nicole Boyd of Oxford mentioned it’s highest to ditch the outdated track now.

“It’s one more thing that doesn’t portray Mississippi in its best light,” Boyd mentioned. “We need things that represent the state and really highlight the amazing people we have.”

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