Requiem

Yesterday’s “Civil Rights Memoir #94” was the end of the line for Sara’s writings. She typed up her memories of her life and those trying times of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s in the early 1990s and never updated them. I’ve had a wonderful time putting them online and reading your comments, and my most fervent wish is that we all have a better understanding of what a remarkable life Sara led, both personally and professionally. I wish there was another year’s worth of memories to share, but she took those with her in 2009. I do have one audiotape recorded by her grandson, Jim, as part of an Ole Miss class project just a few weeks before she died, and when I am feeling especially brave I will listen and transcribe that tape. As I suppose the case is with any child, no matter what age, I teeter on a thin point of emotional balance when it comes to my parents and their absence, and I’m simply not yet ready to threaten that equilibrium. When I do, those of you who have been faithful to this blog since that stormy April day last year when we started will be the first to know. Check back, and thank you.

Mary Carol

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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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9 Responses to Requiem

  1. Bart Liles says:

    Bravo! Thank you so much for the past year. I’m going to miss checking this everyday. I’ve got to bring mom, Leigh, and the kids up to Greenwood soon. Thanks again.

    • sec040121 says:

      Bart, it’s been wonderful knowing you were out there every day….Hope this helped you just a tiny bit in getting through a tough residency. I hope we’ll see y’all in Greenwood soon. Miss you.

  2. Debbie Wiles says:

    I enjoyed every single word, all over again. What a loving and courageous gift full of generosity and grace. Thank you.

  3. Nancy Webb Phillips says:

    Thank you for sharing with us! Your mom was a jewel. I have enjoyed this soooo much!

  4. Paul T. Murray says:

    Mary Carol,

    Thanks for posting your mother’s observations. I have been researching the life of Fr. Nathaniel Machesky from the St. Francis mission. (See my article in the Journal of Mississippi History.) Your mother’s writing provides fascinating insights into events surrounding the Civil Rights Movement in Greenwood. I have not yet read all of your posts, but look forward to learning more about life in Greenwood during the 1960s.

    Paul T. Murray
    Professor of Sociology
    Siena College
    Loudonville, NY

    • sec040121 says:

      Dr. Murray,
      Thank you for your comments and feedback. I enjoyed your article on Father Macheskey (and, coincidentally, I am President of the Mississippi Historical Society, which publishes the Journal, this year) and I well remember my mother’s interactions with him. There were participants in the Civil Rights movement for whom she had no use whatsoever, but I always had the impression that she and Father Nathaniel held a grudging admiration for each other. Please do let me know if you’re ever down this way.
      Mary Carol

  5. Jenny says:

    I miss this blog. Woke up this morning missing it. Not just my grandmother, but this blog. And then I realized …. maybe you should start writing your own about growing up in Mississippi. And that way, we could have more. Just a thought (cause you aren’t really that busy or anything and I need more South way up here in New York)
    love you

    • sec040121 says:

      Aw, that’s sweet. I miss it, too, and I keep looking at this little tape recorder with the “last lecture” on it. There may be some real nuggets in there. And I have thought about picking up with Sara’s memoirs circa 1954 (no snide comments from you, young ‘un!) and carrying them forward from my perspective. But nothing exciting happened in my life until the Summer of ’80…….

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