Seetha Srinivasan

September 16, 2009
Excerpts from Seetha Srinivasan interview

Excerpts from Seetha Srinivasan interview

When you live in Berkley, there are all these stereotypes, and people would say, “You’re moving to Mississippi? Have you heard of the KKK? Do you know what you are doing?” And I was very nervous because I didn’t know anything other than northern California, and I didn’t know what you expect. You just sort of have all of these really scary images of what we were getting into. Not too long after we moved here, we were driving on Lakeland Drive, and in those days it was completely deserted. And there was a sign that said “No shooting on Highway.” And of course it didn’t refer to actual shooting, it had to do with hunting. But I didn’t know that at the time, and I thought what people told us in Berkley was right about Mississippi.

I remember not too long ago I went to hear a talk by Richard Wright’s daughter, Julia Wright. She talked about her father saying, “When a Southerner understands, there is nothing quite like it.” And I thought, “Isn’t that the truth.” Because the progressive Southerners who we met—I’ve never met people as wonderful and as brave and as educated. They have all stood up and fought for what they believed in. Not always in overt ways, but by being who they were and speaking their mind and heading the kind of institutions that they did or by the writing that they did.I think of how very fortunate we are to have been part of these people’s worlds.How fortunate Jackson and the state of Mississippi is to have had women as these core progressives.

When we travel and tell people that we live in Mississippi, they say, “Mississippi! What’s it like living there?” You know I have really grown to love Jackson and the state. It has its flaws, but I have traveled enough to know—so does every other place. And there are so many wonderful people here. And in a way we have become a part of this community here, and I don’t know that we could have some other place. We were able to put down roots here, and I feel that we can bring change.

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