By Suzanne Minor
At this year’s Southern Group on Educational Affairs conference, the University of Mississippi hosted an outing at the Two Mississippi Museums, consisting of the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.
I focused my visit on the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. It was exhausting, difficult, heart-wrenching, and, in the end, hopeful. Growing up in rural Georgia and Jacksonville, Florida, I witnessed legalized segregation through small private schools and experienced rampant racism as the norm. Thankfully, college and medical school broadened my perspective, particularly gross anatomy. Once without skin, all of those black and white cadavers looked so similar. Not better than or less than, but equal in skinless death. I dove into former slave narratives, reading Frederick Douglas and trying to reconcile the message from my upbringing – that I was better than because I was white – with my new learning in gross anatomy and in my direct experience with people who looked different than me. I was learning that we were all just human, no better and no worse than each other. My professional career has been dedicated to attending to the medical and holistic needs of the underserved communities of Miami, Florida, a diverse area in which I’m in the minority.