This article analyzes the covert racism concealed in the phrase "Ole Miss," a longstanding nickname for the University of Mississippi.
Front Porch essay for the Built/Unbuilt issue.
For this short “Snapshot” feature, photographers selected one of their photographs and wrote a short reflection on what it shows us about the ever-shifting relationship between people and place in the South.
In October 1967, Mississippi joined the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), a Great Society program that distributed federal money to local governments across mountainous states like West Virginia, Kentucky, and North Carolina. There’s just one problem: Mississippi lacks mountains. This article explores how segregationist Southern Democrats came together with northern liberals to reimagine and remap Mississippi as a place not reeling from the legacies of plantation slavery but merely suffering from a lack of economic development. I argue that this movement to invent “Appalachian Mississippi” countered the liberal War on Poverty’s economic empowerment of rural Black communities and tapped into larger currents of color-blind popular music. In considering the first hit song from a native of Appalachian Mississippi, Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe,” this article suggests that popular culture resonated with political intrigue to redistribute American wealth through the South’s white powerbrokers.