Haley Barbour: Little by little, the South has changed

Fifty years ago, the civil rights movement was at full pitch, and it would be only one year before the passage of the Civil Rights Act, followed by the Voting Rights Act a year later.

I’ve been asked to write on the changes in race relations that have taken place in the South and, in particular, my home state of Mississippi as a result.

While most of the change has occurred incrementally, it has been enormous. De jure segregation is outlawed, and equal opportunity exists in most cases. This does not always yield equal results, for that would require identical talent and equal effort, which would be extremely rare, whether between races or among any other groups.

I am most familiar with the immense change in elections. The differences between today and 1963 are not only immense but also have produced electoral results in Mississippi beyond those of many states not covered by the Voting Rights Act. Our state doesn’t get much credit for that, but it has a lot to be proud of in this regard.

Haley Barbour
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