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Mississippi - Greenville: Betty Jo Himes and Bob Boyd Interviewees
Dent, Thomas C.
Tom Dent interviews Betty Jo Himes and Bob Boyd in Greenville, Mississippi. Dent muses on the differences between Greenville and Indianola's economies. They talk about the possibility of Greenville undergoing an economic transition into a new type of economy. The old factory labor is dying out, but perhaps it will be replaced with something else. The demographics of the area are changing, as are the professions of local people. Boyd thinks tourism might revitalize the community. He thinks the Civil Rights and musical history of the region might bring people in. He thinks perhaps a Blues Festival of Native American Museums might be popular. Himes says the issue of a Blues Festival has been dividing the community, but she believes people will come to support it. Dent believes the resistance might be due to racism because blues is such a "Black" music form. He talks about the establishment of Jazz Fest in New Orleans. They elaborate on the challenges Greenville faces and the resources it possesses to face those challenges. Boyd says "brain drain" is a serious problem. Children that leave for college do not often come back to the area because there are no jobs. He says Black people no longer fear to live in the area. He also says that the leadership, White and Black, are generally ineffective and uninspiring. Himes says plant closings leading to economic decline are the greatest challenge facing Greenville at the time of the interview. Many jobs were lost when the factories shut down. Boyd compares the local colleges. He believes Delta State university is the most successful at the time of the interview. He says the people that go there are generally working class children who are intelligent but cannot afford the University of Mississippi. It is also one of the more integrated schools. Dent compares the Black communities of various significant cities. Himes says, since cities like Greenville are still relatively new, they are more open to positive, racially progressive change. Boyd says the marches, demonstrations and strikes over racial issues are hindering Greenville's ability to bring in business investors. Boyd believes Greenville is really hurting from a lack of good leadership. Dent asks about the public school systems and Boyd explains that the public school is still a majority Black and there is still a thriving academy with mostly White students. They discuss possible sources of change and improvement for the education system.
Dent, Thomas C.
Boyd, Bob M., 1927-
Tulane University Digital Library
Box 152, Item 17, 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.