This morning we bundled up LeuC and said a sad goodbye to New Orleans. We had a great time exploring New Orleans and its environs and really appreciated getting a chance to see Larry and Ruth again, as well as meeting Bill and Renee. We can certain understand why so many of our friends love spending time in this wonderful city.
Our goal for today was Clarkco State Park, which is about 30 miles south of Meridian, Mississippi. It is in the heart of rural Mississippi, nestled amongst a forest of pine and oak trees. While the park is known as the Clarkco State Park, it is actually the Clark County State Park.
Our journey only covered 200 miles and took just 3.5 hours, since 90% of it was freeway. When we crossed Louisiana into Mississippi we stopped at the rest stop that is just inside the state border. We both agreed that It has to be the prettiest rest stop we have ever seen. Sited in a park-like setting, it had extensive lush, green grass lawns that were well manicured, lots of shade trees dotting the lawns, picnic tables under the trees, a visitor’s center and, of course, it had the reason why we stopped: rest rooms!
It was just the start of the remarkably beautiful landscape that we drove through to reach our state park. We did not realize how beautiful this state is. Our freeway, I-59, cut a narrow swath through thick green forests of loblolly pines intersperse with green open pasturelands. We passed by only a few towns since Mississippi is mostly rural with a total population of only about 3 million people. Its capital, Jackson, has only 175,000 people.
Neither of us really know much about this state since we have only have driven though it once before and that was over 33 years ago when we moved from Delaware to California. It was in the middle of winter so we took the southern route to avoid snow storms.
While we are aware of the state’s long history racial discrimination, we were not aware how recent such discrimination laws remained on its books. I have cut and pasted a paragraph from Wikipedia that I just read:
“In 1987, 20 years after the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in 1967’s Loving v. Virginia that a similar Virginian law was unconstitutional, Mississippi repealed its ban on interracial marriage (also known as miscegenation), which had been enacted in 1890. It also repealed the segregationist-era poll tax in 1989. In 1995, the state symbolically ratified the Thirteenth Amendment, which had abolished slavery in 1865. Though ratified in 1995, the state never officially notified the U.S. archivist, which kept the ratification unofficial until 2013, when Ken Sullivan contacted the office of Secretary of State of Mississippi, Delbert Hosemann, who agreed to file the paperwork and make it official. In 2009, the legislature passed a bill to repeal other discriminatory civil rights laws, which had been enacted in 1964, the same year as the federal Civil Rights Act, but ruled unconstitutional in 1967 by federal courts.”
We think it is sad that this legacy has marred its reputation but it is a statement of how prejudiced parts of our country was and still is.
We arrived at Clarkco State Park around 1 PM and marveled how lovely it is. Our campground sits on a lake in the middle of a pine forest. The pine trees are straight and tall, towering over LeuC. The campsites are large, well-spaced and have 50 Amp service, water and sewer. Whoo Hoo!
We will be here for a few days so we hope to be able to explore the park a bit and when we do, we will post more photos so you can see what a beautiful park it is.