The Distance Between Segregation and Home

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Ever is a Long Time by W. Ralph Eubanks and Dixie by Curtis Wilkie are two well written memoirs that attempt to explain the struggle the two authors face while growing up in Mississippi, leaving Mississippi as adults, and later in life returning to Mississippi to reconcile with the state’s dark past. Additionally, one can argue that Curtis Wilkie, a poor white, and W. Ralph Eubanks, a middle class black, are not the stereotypical persons that one may expect to write about the racial inequalities of Mississippi because neither experiences racism early in life. However, the authors are masterful in allowing readers to see Mississippi from their perspectives and allowing the readers to see how the authors eventually returned to reclaim their home states. To begin, in Ever is a Long Time, Ralph Eubanks starts his memoir by explaining that he grew up on a farm away from the racial strife that he found to exist in his early teenage years. Therefore, early on in life, he was unaware of the racial turmoil being played out all around him. For example, Eubanks describes his parents as “college-educated professionals” (4) and he writes, “[w]hen I was growing up, it all seemed painfully normal, nothing exceptional.” (5) Furthermore, Eubanks describes how he had developed an escape from the darkness that Mississippi held by developing an “inner life where I wrote letters to children in faraway countries, and read books about those places that helped to sequester me from that topsy-turvy world of race and racism” (7) However, as the years passed Ralph Eubanks would become aware of the presence of racism within his world. Next, the Mississippi that Ralph Eubanks describes as a child was quickly splintered as the author found that the ... ... middle of paper ... ...r understanding of how downtrodden blacks were in the South. Nevertheless, both Ralph Eubanks and Curtis Wilkie could not hide from the intrinsic ideals of being a native Mississippian. Even though they both went on to prosperous lives and families, neither could escape the inner desires they possessed about a Mississippi they remembered as children. The Mississippi they remembered from their early lives invoked a pastoral sense of slower times, green pastures, and people who genuinely seemed concerned with your well being. Overall, one can see where this is the one part of their lives that they could not seem to figure out until they eventually returned to their homelands and faced the ghosts and shadows of the past. Bibliography Eubanks, W. Ralph. Ever is a Long Time. New York: Basic Books, 2003. Wilkie, Curtis. Dixie. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2001.

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