Change comes hard to Mississippi.
History, the traditions of the past — good and bad — are never far from the surface, and often they complicate even the most common everyday situations.
However, good things are happening in Mississippi, and change — for the better — has come.
The University of Mississippi is observing the 40th anniversary of the integration of the Oxford campus by James Meredith. That event, marked by violence and death, was the final chapter for the Old South.
Today, Ole Miss is an important symbol of the New South. A touch of irony, but true nonetheless.
The University of Mississippi represents the best of what this state and region embodies: diversity, cultural richness, hospitality, respect, hard work, community, family.
Our state is home to a panoply of races, religions and cultures. The music and literature, food and natural beauty, the history — all of it fosters a unique way of life, but one that is also working to meet the challenges of the 21st century and a global economy.
Remembering the pain and sacrifice of four decades ago should lead us to a greater appreciation of how far we have come — as a state, as a people. Challenges remain. Obstacles are yet to be overcome. But we should be thankful for where we are and where we can go.