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zeemike

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 18,998

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Glenn Beck Says Words No One Ever Expected - 'Liberals, You were right"

Reality can strike even him.

Obama Polls Down, Republicans Worse, But The Real Loser Is

We the people.

Fifty years ago this month.

Where has the time gone?
Fifty years ago this month I was in Meridian Mississippi as a young sailor in the USN doing a job I was never meant to do, but never the less became a part of the history of the civil rights movement of the 60s.
A few years ago I wrote a description of what I did that summer in Mississippi and I thought I was time to bring it to DU2 and put it in my journal….so here it is.

Mississippi burning and me.

It was suggested by Eferrari and ConsAreLiers that I recount my experiences during the summer of 1964 in Mississippi when LBJ sent some 400 US Navy sailors into Mississippi to look for the three lost civil rights workers who were murdered there. I was one of those sailors and this is what I remember.

I had just checked in to my duty station at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola Florida when LBJ announced that he was sending in the Navy to help hunt for the lost civil rights workers and sense I was the new guy I got selected to go on TAD (temporary assigned duty) to the naval air station in Meridian Mississippi.
After we arrived and checked in to the base we mustered together and was addressed by the commanding officer of our group who was a Lieutenant Commander…a mid level officer, which showed that this was taken somewhat seriously…if they had not it would have been a low ranking officer.
And the Lieutenant Commander made us understand that this was serious….he explained to us the situation and what our mission was and told us the situation in the community surrounding the base. The KKK was having rallies only a short distance from the base and he delivered a stern warning to us….If he caught any one of us going to those rallies or aiding the Klan in any way, he would personally see that we spent the rest of our tour of duty in the brig at Fort Leavenworth. And I think we all got the message….at least I know I did…he made it as if we were a military operation against the enemy….the Klan… and so then, we dare not take their side.

We were then loaded on to two 48 passenger Navy gray busses and a stake bed truck and joined up with a State police car and one from the county sheriff, and a government car with the FBI agents., and drove out to the rural community. They would drop us off in gropes of 5 or 6 at the intersection of a dirt road and we would walk to where it ended then the buss would pick us up and take us to another dirt road. So what we were doing was systematically walking every road in the countryside.
But they did not push us hard, and in fact was generous with our break time and plenty of water breaks and in reality it was somewhat pleasant walking through the woods on a summer day. And the FBI agent was pretty friendly and candid and spent a lot of time talking with us in small groups…and he told us strait up that he did not expect that we would find the bodies by walking the roads and doing what we were doing, but that we had another role to play and it was important to them.
So what it boiled down to is the FBI was using us to intimidate the locals. Not so much that the presents of federal troops were going all over the place, but the fact that we were systematically walking every back road in the county. This actually created economic problems for some of them, because some of them made their money from moonshine and the last thing they wanted is to see some young sailors walking up on them as they cook their mash….they were using us to stir the pot, to beat the bushes, to fuck with them a little. All of a sudden there were a lot of people looking into the hidden parts of their little empire and it had to make them a little nervous.

And I would see what a corrupt little empire it was too. One night one of the sailors in my barracks who was permanently stationed their asked if I wanted to go into town and get drunk….I asked how he would do that in a dry country….it was illegal to have liquor in that country….and he just laughed it off….so we jumped in my car and he directed me down an ally and there was a lighted drive up window….I almost slammed on the breaks when I turned into the ally because at the drive up window was a cop car. He said not to worry , that the cop was just their to get his….and an arm come out of the window with a brown paper bag which the cop took and drove off. So we got a pint of Old Granddad to drink on our way to a road house on the outskirts of town. And it had everything a sailor on liberty needed…whores, gambling and beer.
The hypocrisy of this was not lost on me….it was said that the Baptist and the bootleggers always voted to keep the country dry , and why not, the bootleggers supported the Baptist and so why screw up a good thing….to your face these people were good Christians and full of all kinds of morality, but underneath that sheep clothing they were ravenous wolves, capable of probably anything.

But they did try to gain our sympathy in a bizarre sort of way….I remember standing on the porch of a small country store drinking an Orange Crush when this old guy….well old to me at the time probably 50 or so….came up to me to talk….he started by asking me If we were “out looking for that nigger and those Jew boys”.
I did not say anything and he went on as if I had answered his question…”Well you won’t find them around here….they are probably up there in New Your city laying in bed together laughing at you boys out here in the hot sun looking for em”…he went on…”we don’t have any problems with the niggers here….it is all those white agitators coming from up north stirring up things and trying to tell us how to live”….and he ended it with “A nigger will lie to ya”
And there was propaganda too….one of my room mates had a pamphlet passed out from the Klan and he showed it to me….it was so ridiculous I did not see at the time of what value it would have…it had cartoon caricatures of black people that were simply ridiculous…..like the one I remember…..a cartoon character of a black person with an enormous ass the stuck out with a diner plate sitting on it…..the caption is that this was a class of black people they called Plate Assed Niggers because there ass stuck out so much you could sit a diner plate on it and it would not fall off.
To them I suppose, it was humor but to me It reveled something much different, something much more evil.

Then one day we loaded up in the busses and instead of going out walking roads we went to a state park…The FBI agent promptly organized a baseball game and some one fired up the grill and started grilling hot dogs and setting the pick neck tables with goodies….we knew something was up and by the end of our party they told us they had found the bodies, we would be ending this.
All of this was transformational for me….I was given a look into something very dark that I had no idea even existed.
But I know it now and I see it even today forty some years later….it is slicker now and not spoken of in polite societies but it is that same dark hatred that gripped the south in the 60s….perhaps all of us of my age will have to die before it completely ends.


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