Indianola, Mississippi, birthplace of three contributions to American History. On the great side of our history, Indianola was the birthplace of B.B. King who introduced the Blues to people all over this country and the world. Second on the shameful and deplorable side of American History, Indianola was the birthplace of the White Citizens Council, the white collar upscale executive branch of the Ku Klux Klan. It is the birthplace of my friend Scott Shepherd who is helping to bring positive change to this country so it can be greater than it’s ever been.
Like most Southern towns, railroad tracks ran though the town. Whites lived on one side of the tracks and Blacks lived on the other side, often referred to as “the wrong side of the tracks.” Scott did not live on the wrong side of the tracks. He sat in the good seats at the local movie theatre in Indianola, while those from the wrong side of the tracks had to sit in the less desirable seats. Scott got to drink from the Whites Only water fountain while the others drank from the Colored Only fountain.
Despite the fact that Scott’s grandmother, his own mother and Scott himself, were raised by the same Black nanny, Scott’s life took a turn for the worse and reached a point where he hated those people from the wrong side of the tracks. He hated them so much he went and became the Grand Dragon in the Ku Klux for the states of Mississippi and next door Tennessee. He would eventually rise from Grand Dragon which is a state leader to Imperial Wizard, which is a national leader.
Today, those tracks have not changed. They are still there in Indianola as they still are in most Southern towns, but Scott has changed. Today, he has many friends supporters from both sides of the tracks. One of his biggest fans is me.