Archive for South

Oxford, Miss.

Posted in Travel, University life with tags , , on July 7, 2009 by xi'an

The town of Oxford is much smaller than the Wikitravel entry would have let me guess: “The Square is the center of downtown” actually means that this is downtown! Some of the houses on this Square are nice examples of late 19th southern architecture (since the town was burned during the Civil War), but this does not deserve more than 10 minutes of contemplation! Much less than the time spent in Square Books, which is an independent bookstore with a lot of personality (if not an immense selection of books). Since this is the summer recess at the University of Mississippi, the town also feels mostly deserted, the campus being almost completely empty. On Sunday morning, everything was closed and getting the Sunday edition of The New York Times was a major endeavour!

Before coming to Oxford, I had not realised that the University of Mississippi was the place where racial riots occurred when the first black student was accepted. James Meredith managed to break the racial segregation in the southern universities but had to remain under permanent police protection during his studies! This was in 1962, so things have drastically changed since then. The university website mentions “19 percent of students are minorities” (without further details). But this makes the emphasis on rebels (like the memorial obelisk for confederate dead at the center of the campus, a few steps away from the Jame Meredith memorial!, and the confederate cemetery, on the campus as well) that seems present everywhere there difficult to understand: The primary purpose of the South secession that led to the Civil War was to maintain slavery, not for a “just and holy cause”

%d bloggers like this: