May 22nd, 2009
08:22 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Small Town, Big Change

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/05/22/mississippi.black.mayor/art.mayor.supporter.cnn.jpg caption="James Young poses with one of his young supporters after winning this week's election."]

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

It's been an historic week in Philadelphia, Mississippi, a town better known for one of the ugliest chapters of the civil rights movement.  For the first time, Philadelphia, Mississippi elected an African-American Mayor. Tonight, we'll introduce you to James Young.

"Who would have thought a little 'ole country boy like me would be Mayor of Philadelphia, Mississippi in '09? I couldnt even have wrote that in a fairy tale, " Young told CNN's Ed Lavandera.

Flashback to 1964 and you'll understand why Young said what he did.

That was when three civil rights workers were ambushed and murdered on a country road near Philadelphia. The story of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner's deaths are immortalized in the movie "Mississippi Burning."

Jim Prince, the publisher of Neshoba Democrat, a local newspaper, says that wound is finally healing.

"This city is 55 percent white so the fact that Philadelphia, Mississippi with its notorious past could elect a black man as Mayor, it might be time to quit picking on Philadelphia," said Prince.

Join us for this story and much more tonight on AC360°, starting at 10pm ET.

And, have a fabulous holiday weekend!

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Philoan Tran - Houston

    Great story!!!

    May 24, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  2. Laura Cistrunk

    God may not come when you call him, but he's always on time. This is truly a great part of Mississippi history.

    May 23, 2009 at 2:30 am |
  3. YNC

    This is truly amazing and uplifting as a retiree from the military I am so happy we are growing up as a country.

    May 23, 2009 at 1:35 am |
  4. Elegance

    Anderson, your interview last night with Dick Cheney's daughter was too harsh and confrontational. Someone should have told her, it was just an interview and not a medium to wage verbal war with you. I hope she apologized for referring your question to her as irresponsible. That was uncalled for, but you handled her anger very well and professional.

    May 23, 2009 at 12:45 am |
  5. Annie Kate

    This segment was really good especially with the added insert of Anderson's interview with the KKK guy 4 years ago. Electing a black mayor now really does show progress in that community – things come slow in the south – a lot slower than they should.

    May 23, 2009 at 12:45 am |
  6. Tammy Van

    I never really gave the thought of a black man being president much thought. Because I never thought that it would happen. I was born in Mississippi in 1959. What I seen tonight, brought back so many memories. I could actually feel the pain within my heart. The state of Mississippi was a horrible place to live. I'm 49 years young, and I still don't like going there to visit. I don't think that things have really changed a lot, as far as the way you are treated as a person. But I will say that thing are not as out in the open as when I was a child. I still have uncles, and aunts, that think that we as colored people are suppose to no our place. What the hell does that mean? They won't vote. My uncle won't look a white man in the face when he speaks with them. They still have people in chains working on the public highways. Justice will never be equal. Not in my life time nor my children, nor my daughters grandchildren not in the state of Mississippi.

    May 22, 2009 at 11:40 pm |
  7. Carol Hamilton

    Good for Anderson Cooper for showing some emotion/outrage at the ignorant remarks & false analogies of that former mayor of Philadelphia, MS.

    A good move on Cooper's party to mention his father's birthplace. That still carries weight in the South.

    I grew up in Alabama & I remember that coded hostility to those "New Yorkers" or "Yankees" coming South to help the Civil Rights movement. It's sad that people are still thinking and talking like that.

    May 22, 2009 at 11:28 pm |
  8. Richard Harman

    What a wonderful story!

    Anderson, thank you for coming into the South and giving some attention to us. About 35% of the White people have always been humanitarian. When this minority is able to join with the 15%+ Black minority and both turn out, we can turn the tables and change history.

    More power to you!

    ps It is heart-warming to learn that you too have Southern roots. The South has great humanitarian potential.

    May 22, 2009 at 11:25 pm |
  9. Rhonda Reely

    I think this is a good thing.
    Blacks and native Americans have
    abused so much in America. I hope
    we can all learn to respect one another.

    May 22, 2009 at 11:19 pm |
  10. Isabel (Brazil)

    Hi, Maureen!!

    Even in this day and age it is difficult to see someone defending the Ku Klux Klan.

    But it is great to see that reason prevailed on social segregation, racism, repression, pain and suffering.

    I wish a great holiday for all Americans!


    May 22, 2009 at 11:11 pm |