I was never sure what I accomplished of lasting value in Panola County Miss. in the steamy summer of 1966 as a law student intern dealing with welfare, school freedom of choice, public access and related legal issues. Change at the national level was well underway in 1966 but coming only slowly to the rural towns on edge of the Mississippi where I lived and worked. I do know that I was changed. I hope that by bearing witness to the rule of law in a place and time where those rules were often denied to African Americans I was able to further encourage the local residents I worked with to continue their long patient struggle for change. My admiration for my host family, Robert, Mona and Kevin Myles of Batesvile, and others who encouraged and supported my work that sumnmer, endures to this day.
Bearing witness to injustice is important at all times and places. Working to eliminate injustice is important at all times and places. These were life lessons that the brave African American residents of Panola County taught me that summer.