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Mississippi - Greenville: Mike Espy Interviewee
Dent, Thomas C.
Tom Dent interviews Mike Espy in Greenville, Mississippi. Dent asks what Espy what he believes the economic future of the delta will look like. He specifically asks about Greenville and Indianola, which have vastly different economic situations. Espy says people need to use what they have, invest in local markets and create new markets. Espy discusses the market for catfish and soybeans, which drives the local economy. He says catfish is a great example of a new and growing economy that is having a real effect on the local economy as a whole. He says the economic struggles of Greenville cannot be separated from the general economic downturn in the nation. Furthermore, there is still disconnect between the Black and White communities. He talks about the effects on the community when younger generations are forced to move out of the south in order to find economic opportunities. Espy talks about his efforts to run for political office. He realized that, although Blacks were the majority in the county, they were not the majority of voters. Therefore he would need a significant number of White votes. In his first election he received about 12% of the White votes. His second race in 1948 he got about 40%. The most recent election was about 68% and he now holds about 78% approval. He says the key to receiving White support was travel and good representation. They discuss gerrymandering and its use by the Republican Party in Mississippi. They discuss the likelihood of another Black elected official to follow Espy and the possibilities for his future in politics. Espy says he went to Howard for his undergraduate degree and the University of Santa Clara for law school. He says he was involved in student politics at both of those institutions but had not seriously considered it as a career path when he returned to Mississippi. He opened a law practice but saw an opportunity to get involved until Robert Clark lost his second race in 1974.
Universities & colleges
Dent, Thomas C.
Espy, Mike, 1953-
Santa Clara (Ca.)
Tulane University Digital Library
Box 152, Item 10, Tom Dent collection, Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
Physical rights are retained by the Amistad Research Center. Copyright is retained in accordance with U.S. copyright laws.