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Friday, February 14, 2014

Love, Mississippi Style

Love is a strange beast. Our human hearts are both fickle and steadfast at the same time, draped in a gauze of romance. Mississippi authors are no exception to the highs and lows of love--why would they be? When two hearts begin to talk to one another, the idea that they'll ever stop is absurd. Here are two of those beginnings.

Richard Wright and Ellen Poplar (Poplowitz)

Richard Wright met Ellen Poplar (Poplowitz) about 1939. Of their first outing together, Ellen later said:

We talked for hours. We had a wonderful time. We sat on a bench and talked. There was an instant understanding between us.
Richard proposed to Ellen almost immediately, within a few weeks of their meeting. She, though, was a practical woman and wanted to be certain that they truly loved one another. After much soul-searching, Ellen decided that their love was pure and tried to meet Richard. Surprisingly, he had already proposed to another woman, a former fling, and he married her instead. Ellen was heartbroken. (Some say that Richard claimed he married Dhimah Meadman to spite Ellen. Ah, the things we do for love.) The marriage lasted less than a year. Upon Richard and Ellen's reunion:

He heard her voice and came onto the landing at the top of the stairs and called her name. "It was a really eerie thing," she says. "I knew immediately that my family counted for nothing... I was very excited and we fell into each other's arms and there was no talking after that. The whole thing was settled... I just moved in with Dick right in that house."
Medgar Evers and Myrlie Beasley

Medgar Evers met Myrlie Beasley on her first day of classes in 1950 at Alcorn in Lorman, Mississippi. They fell in love. Myrlie remembers his proposal of a little over a year later,

I couldn't speak. Medgar took the ring from the box and put it on my finger. I watched as though I were watching someone else. "I'm sorry I can't afford a more expensive ring, Myrlie," he said softly. "This is the best I can do. But along with it goes all the love I have."
I have never felt quite like I did at that moment.
Although these two marriages traveled very separate paths, the meeting of souls, the mysterious bonding of two hearts, is the same. Love is a hard road to travel, but it does, indeed, seem to make the world go round.

Want to explore the (love) lives of Mississippi authors? Our biography section is sure to warm the heart of any book lover. Come on in!

Evers, Myrlie. For Us, The Living. Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1967. Print.
Rowley, Hazel. Richard Wright: The Life and Times. New York: Henry Holt and Co, 2001. Print.

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