Jump to navigation
Mississippi - Canton: Walter C. Jones and Karl M. Banks Interviewees [Part 1]
Dent, Thomas C.
Tom Dent interviews Walter Jones and Karl Banks in Canton, Mississippi. Dent explains his interview and book project. Banks enters the interview shortly after. Dent asks how Canton has changed since Civil Rights and Banks explains that there are Blacks elected into positions of power often but Whites still oppose the "New South." Banks says that about 60% of the Black population in Canton is registered to vote. In the larger Madison County, of which the Black population is about 47%, about 30% of which are registered to vote. He says there are a large number of young Whites currently moving into the county, turning it into a "bedroom county," meaning people live in Madison County and travel outside of it for work. The public school system is predominantly White with Blacks concentrated in a few schools. Banks also explains that there is movement of affluent Blacks moving into Madison County as well, specifically Ridgeland. Dent explains the fight over tracking that occurred in the Selma school system and Banks states that tracking is an issue they also deal with in Canton. He states that there are still kids who can hardly read and write and are, therefore, horribly equipped to apply for jobs and become part of the community. Banks recalls that he went to segregated Catholic school in Jackson. They discuss Black Catholics and the Black Catholic school system in the South. Banks and Jones discuss the loss of Black fathers as role models and active members of the Civil Rights movement. They state this has had a detrimental effect on children's education, the community, and the movement as a whole. They believe the prevalence of drugs is a contributing factor to the disappearance of Black fathers. Jones explains that Black men get pushed into drug involvement because they are barred from other economic opportunities. Jones and Banks state that the community is less active in the lives of the children and less active in their education then they were 20-30 years ago. As some Blacks became more economically successful they moved out of the community, to the detriment of the whole. The community they grew up in was very economically diverse and everyone in the community was active in raising them. Those that achieve economic success now tend to abandon the community and forget where they come from. Jones says that the community lost itself in the 1970s and has spent the 1990s trying to reconnect. Jones states this mentality must be fixed at the grassroots level, though education, communication and humility.
African AmericansCatholic churchesCivil rightsDrugsEducationOrganizationsPolitical electionsRace relations
Canton (Ms.)Madison County (Ms.)
Tulane University Digital Library
Box 153, Item 3, Side 1, 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.