On July 13, Mound Bayou unveiled the city historic marker honoring Milburn J. Crowe. Mr. Crowe was born March 15, 1933 in Mound Bayou to descendants of original settlers. Mr. Crowe's grandparents were among the people who settled Mound Bayou and helped to establish the community.
Following service in the military, and work in Chicago, Mr. Crowe returned to Mound Bayou in 1967, and helped organize and edited the Mound Bayou Voice Newsletter (Mississippi Department of Archives and History, retrieved from the MDAH Historic Resources Inventory database, July 20, 2012).
Mr. Crowe was
...dedicated to preserving the rich heritage of his hometown. (Mississippi History Newsletter MDAH, October 2005).
...was a learned man, pensive and quite passionate, who above all else loved Mound Bayou, its people, and most of all, perhaps, its history. (Rosen, 2011).
This small green space is representative of the Mound Bayou that Milburn Crowe loved: the mound in the center depicting the ancient Indian Mound, and the confluence of the two bayous (seen in the water passage circling the mound) that gave Mound Bayou its name. You cannot see them in this photo, but there are benches placed in the park--inviting one to sit, talk to a friend or stranger--as apparently Mr. Crowe readily did, and to reflect on Mound Bayou's past, present, and future.
In urban areas, they have begun calling these small green spaces "pocket parks." Just a little sliver wherever possible that does not use much real estate, yet creates a public place to encourage sitting, and a bit of green (in design and actual flora) to support the ecosystem. Years earlier, Housing and Urban Development generated similar ideas in public housing spaces--efforts aimed at encouraging a healthier and safer place for people--the idea that the design of space can affect relationships and behavior that occurs in that space.
I tend to get what Rand calls "airy-fairy." It means that I can get so immersed in seeking to understand meanings and connections and relationships and their symbols that at times, it can be confusing to have a conversation with me. Because I have been trained to think in systems, and the more I study systems, the more it makes sense to me about everything being connected, it is why sometimes I can seem to be on a tangent, while to me, it makes perfect sense and is clearly connected to that issue I was thinking about or talking about.
See, you think I am off on one of those tangents now--probably asking, "how the heck did she go from talking about Milburn Crowe, and then green spaces, and now airy fairy tangents?" I never met Mr. Crowe--he died in 2005, and I did not visit Mound Bayou until 2011. From what I have read of his works (he wrote history as well as talked about it and tried to preserve it), he seems like a systems thinker to me. He seemed to deeply understand not just the importance of the past and preserving its artifacts, but the connection that serves to us now in the present and in the future. To understand why we are who we are and where we are today, requires understanding who we were and why we were there in the past. It isn't about preserving the past just because it is the past, or because it seemed like better days--because we can't really hold onto the past literally. All we can hold on to is our interpretation of, our recollection of what went before. But that is true of a all things: it is always about our perception of the reality, or our remembrance of the reality. We humans sometimes have a lot of difficulty in just experiencing our lives, rather than interpreting them and remembering them--what Robert Henry used to call "how you be."
So, here is the connection to me in the beginning about the marker to honor Mr. Crowe, and where I ended up just now about systems. Mound Bayou says something to me about being--or trying to be. From everything I have read, and much of what I have heard in getting to know people from Mound Bayou, it has always been about relationships--being--who you were, and how you made people feel. I tend not to believe in "coincidences" in my life. (Another reason Rand calls me airy fairy). I have always been looking at relationships, and how people feel in those relationships. The road that took me to Mound Bayou seems like chance. It might have been; after all, many factors could have caused me to choose something other than the choice I made the day that I connected with Mound Bayou. But I choose to believe that if not that choice, another road would have led to Mound Bayou. After all, it did for every person who has ended up there, influenced by, and influencing Mound Bayou.
One way or another, we are all tied together--everyone on this planet and beyond. The sooner we realize that--that we are each other and we are each other's future, the sooner we can "be."