Sara Criss’ Civil Rights Memoirs

I have typed up the first installment of Sara’s Civil Rights Era memoirs, which will go online early tomorrow morning. As a rule, I will not be commenting on these posts or  adding background material unless I have something very relevant to contribute. Photos will be included when available.

My memories of these times are those of a child, although a child who was unknowingly living on the edge of history in the making. Sara was in the midst of it every day and was often stressed, worried and even frightened for her family when events began to spiral out of control. I remember the palpable tension in downtown Greenwood and the hubbub in our house when newsmen from all over America piled in to send their wire stories and hook up their telephoto machines. It was all exciting but confusing to me, as my family’s relationship with blacks had always been cordial and pleasant and I could simply not understand the anger and harsh words that we saw nightly on the national news and daily on the streets of our little town.

I will leave the observations of those times to Sara, who somehow juggled the demands of a job that had grown into a challenge she never expected with her intense devotion to raising two girls and taking care of Russell. Looking back at it all from the safe distance of almost fifty years, I am amazed at what she did. Tomorrow we will stand back and listen to her tell the story. Thanks for listening.

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About sec040121

Hello....I'm in possession of a priceless collection of memoirs and memorabilia left by my mother, Sara Evans Criss. She was a native and lifelong (88 years!) devotee of our small town, who covered this peculiar and volatile corner of the world for 30 years as the Memphis Commercial Appeal's Greenwood bureau chief, a job that started out with debutantes and high school football and wound up spang in the midst of one of the twentieth century's most enduring social upheavals. This blog is dedicated to her memory and the legacy she left behind, both for her family and her community.
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2 Responses to Sara Criss’ Civil Rights Memoirs

  1. Stokes Dickins says:

    Thank you for posting these, I just made it through all of the Civil Rights Memoirs. Although I graduated GHS in 1966, I don’t remember a lot of these incidents. I do remember Sara Criss’ many articles in the Commercial Appeal. These were difficult times, and I learned that many subjects were best not brought up with family members.

    • sec040121 says:

      Thanks for your comments, Stokes. Those were very difficult times and my mother was doing a daily balancing act, trying to be an objective reporter without damaging her community. We’ve come a long way but still have work to do, and I wish she were here to be part of it.

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