Bill Minor: Ground has shifted in conservative South

It’s obvious the ground has shifted beyond imagination in the Southland, the region that once fomented a war rooted in its perceived right to own enslaved black people. So, what lies ahead for Mississippi? Certainly it was not a good beginning last week when Jeppie Barbour, brother of former Gov. Haley Barbour, showed up at the state Capitol swathed in a rebel stars and bars.

But it became known Jeppie’s son, Henry, a prominent Jackson political lobbyist, has taken an opposite stance on the flag. Since Henry lobbies for a string of major corporations, you get the idea that when such corporate biggies as Wal-Mart, Kmart and Target toss Confederate paraphernalia out of their stores that the word is out that the peculiar “Southern Way of life” of doing things is an endangered species.

Perhaps we could have seen this coming in the world of politics all the way back in 1964 when the Democratic National Convention refused to seat Mississippi’s all-white delegation and let the state party know it better not show up again without racial balance in its delegation. True to its word, in 1968 the national party ousted the state’s predominantly white delegation and seated a biracial group. That marked the beginning of the rise of the Republicans to power in the state.

Mississippi has an endless number of Confederate statues and other symbols strewn around the state which are so embedded in the state’s culture that a great many people do not understand how they could be oppressive to a large segment of the population.

Perhaps the state officialdom — now controlled by Republicans — will turn serious attention to the unfinished business of racial reconciliation.