OK, IN THE LATE FIFTIES AND SIXTIES, SAY LATE FIFTIES EARLY SIXTIES, MANY MISSISSIPPIANS WOULD SAY THAT ALTHOUGH THERE WAS A VERY RIGID CODE OF RACIAL SEGREGATION, THAT BLACKS AND WHITES IN THE SOUTH AND MISSISSIPPI LIVED CLOSER TOBETHER ACTUALLY, AND HAD A LOT MORE CONTACT THAN THEY DID IN A LOT OF OTHER PLACES. HOW DID YOU REACT TO THAT OLD NOTION?
There was a great deal of contact between black and white in Mississippi and in the Deep South. The contact was that of master and slave, of subordinate to superior, of serf to master. It was a contact in which the illusion of familiarity on the white part bred contempt and had to breed on the black part fear. It was a togetherness under very rigid rules. It was a joke.