To be honest, my relationship with Bill felt strained and I’m sure the feeling was mutual. Like all of us who write for a living, there was an oversized ego. Like all of us who write opinion columns, there was a certitude that wasn’t always factually justified. And like all of us who write opinion columns and receive the requisite public criticism that goes with that turf, there was a combative response at the ready to meet almost any challenge.
But did I respect Bill Minor? Absolutely. There was a period in Mississippi’s history – and a long one at that – in which Bill’s courage and audacity in reporting about the state’s civil rights struggle, about rampant public corruption, and about how Mississippi really stacked up against the rest of the country was incredibly important. Those years represent great triumphs in Bill’s life and work.
Some aspects of Bill’s life played out as almost Greek tragedy. Now is not the time to recount those instances. But friend and critic alike should afford Bill Minor a moment of genuine reflection at his passing and a measure of earned respect for the truly exceptional work he did while keeping his “Eyes on Mississippi.”