White MS Delta Public School Players

Discussion in 'High School Football' started by Colonel_Reb, Mar 27, 2005.

  1. Colonel_Reb

    Colonel_Reb Hall of Famer

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    I thought since I began a thread on the private school players in Mississippi, I should also begin one on the public school players here. I hope this thread can be used to identify white talent in Mississippi, and especially in the Delta. I must begin this thread with a little historical information so that you can understand the unique context that I am from.

    The Mississippi Delta is an impoverished area that extends from Memphis, Tenn. southward to Vicksburg, Miss. It is an alluvial flood plain and experienced heavy flooding until the 1930's when levees were constructed. The Delta has suffered many problems over the years, as new companies and other high-end employees were often kept away by the big planters who controlled the area from the time of its settlement in the 1870's.

    After WWII, agriculture became mechanized and many blacks moved north. The population of Mississippi shifted from being majority black in the 1940's to majority white in the 1950's, although the Delta remained majority black. This migration of blacks helped race relations somewhat until the civil rights movement came. With voting rights secured, blacks began to attain local, state, and federal office over white candidates. This coincided with the integration of public schools by 1970.

    Although many black leaders elected early on were aware and sympathetic to the concerns of whites, the newer black elected officials have become totally hostile to whites. As a result of this as well as the lack of decent jobs in the area, many whites have moved away to find better opportunities. This trend picked up momentum as never before in the 1990's. Now, with the population of the Delta over 60% black, there seems to be no place for whites. This has mirrored what has occurred in the public schools since integration in regards to sports.

    When integration first came, few blacks played football. This began to change when the private schools were organized and the whites that could afford it, or who decided to, pulled their kids into the new all-white schools.

    The composition of football teams changed quickly in places like Drew, Mississippi; the hometown of Ole Miss and NFL star QB Archie Manning. When Manning graduated from DHS in 1967, the team was all white. The next year full integration began, and by 1972, the team was nearly two-thirds black, almost mirroring the schools new racial composotion. By 1982, the Eagles were almost completely black. Granted, most of the change was due to the numbers of whites who pulled out, but now I will give a more recent example that better illustrates my point.

    Fast forward to 2001. Clarksdale, Mississippi has a powerhouse football team with three State titles in the previous 5 seasons. These championships were won with whites playing at key positions and being the leaders of the team. Some people question their district placement, as they are basically a 5A school playing in a weak 4A district. The school is about 88% black at this point. The 2001 football team has only 3 whites, all Seniors. The next year, whites disappear all-together from the Wildcats roster. They have an all white coaching staff except for one assistant. They have recently recruited a few whites and put them on the team. However, in the 2004 MHSAA State Championship game, which was televised, no whites were to be seen on the field.

    Clearly we see the Caste System, as well as some evident racial fear taking place in Delta public football. Just as whites leave the area, those who remain are forced to sit on the sidelines, or are discouraged from participating at all through the gang type atmosphere that permeates this school. Examples like this are apparent all throughout the Delta. As of now, there are only 2 public high schools with a white majority student body, Cleveland High School and Riverside High School. Even though CHS is roughly 60% white, the football team has been majority black for quite a number of years. Integrated in 1970, CHS had a majority black starting roster as early as 1979, when the school was still over 75% white. Riverside High remains the only public high school within the 11 county Delta area that fields a majority white team.

    The question that remains to be asked is what will the future hold. If current trends continue, There will likely be no majority white public schools in the Delta within 10 years, which means few white football players, thanks in part to coaches who have bought into the Caste System ideology.

    I must also blend this story in with the history of the private schools, which were organized to maintain segregation. To that there can be no argument. What has drawn some comment as of late has been the changing reasons people send their kids to private schools. Instead of keeping their kids away from blacks, most parents will now say when asked that they appreciate the college prep curriculum they receive. They also fear for the safety of their children in places where fights and harrassment are daily problems. They also correctly maintain that it is almost impossible for a child to learn in this environment.

    As the Delta becomes blacker, regretably so does the prospects for the white public school football player. Even the super-athletes that come out of the private schools get ignored. It seems that white players from the Delta in general are ignored by the big colleges, with the lone exceptions being Kickers and Quarterbacks. This has been reflected recently in the fewer number of white players on the three major Mississippi teams, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and Southern Miss.

    Hopefully this has enlightened those of you who are not familiar with this area, which is my home. It seems depressing to imagine being surrounding by this all the time, and it is to a certain extent, but it is always easy to look elsewhere for fun or to fight against discrimination here, which is what I hope I have done by posting this message.
     
  2. okra63

    okra63 Guru

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    You are correct about Clarksdale. They have an almost all white staff and hardly any white players. One if your lucky. Whites did hold the key positions on the team when they won back to back state titles in 1997 and 1998. They made it to the state championship game five straight years from 1997-2001 and then made it back to the state game in 2004, but lost after leading most of the game. They are dominate and always 5A kingpin South Panola close every year, usually coming up short.
     

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