Civil rights leader says Ferguson doesn't erase progress made - - Jackson, MS

Civil rights leader says Ferguson doesn't erase progress made

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Some Mississippians have a different perspective as they watch the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

"I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly," described civil rights leader Flonzie Brown Wright. "I've seen people pulled out of demonstration lines and beat to a pulp. I've seen it. I've been to jail myself. Been shot at. Tear gassed. Life threatened."

It was 1968 when Flonzie Brown Wright became the first African American female elected to a public office in Mississippi. She was the Madison County election commissioner. She doesn't want people to confuse progress with the idea that the work is complete. Personal experiences give her a different lense for viewing the unrest in Ferguson.

"It's reminiscent of a pattern of activities that have been meted out against African American young men," she said. "It brings me back to my own grandson who was shot 15 times by the police in California just about 15 years ago."

She's saddened by the violence. But it doesn't water down the work she's done through the years.

"It's not in vain cause it's a process," Brown Wright said. "Just as we did not get our freedom till 100 or so years ago, nothing is going to happen overnight. But we must be diligent in our resolve."

That's why groups like Mission Mississippi are trying to keep the lines of communication open. President Neddie Winters said people have to be honest.

"We really have not healed from all the past, all the pain and all the problems of the past," explained Winters. "And each time something happens, it reminds us of the pain."

Winters hopes to see relationships formed that are built on trust and respect. He believes that's what it will take to move forward.

"We keep talking about it," said Winters. "We keep talking at it. We keep talking about each other and Ferguson, MO erupts."

Flonzie Brown Wright said things like Ferguson remind people that there's still work to be done.

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