Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bilbo purge -- what hobbits do after their third breakfast?

Mississippi's board of college trustees was given the power to hire and fire profs and administrators at the state schools largely because of such shenanigans as Governor Bilbo's firing of over 100 faculty, popularly dubbed the "Bilbo purge."

That at least is the normal understanding. But see William McCain's essay on the Progressive era in the McLemore-edited History of Mississippi:
He warned the state institutions of higher learning against the baleful influence of politics ....
That's Gov. Bilbo he's talking about. I suppose he warned by example.

... The rest of the sentence gives an idea of one limitation of the McLemore History (published in 1973): "... and advocated broader participation of women in civic affairs." That's how I found the McCain quote about Bilbo, which was the sole index entry for "Women in civic affairs." Number of mentions of Evelyn Gandy, first woman elected to statewide office in Mississippi (in 1959 no less): zero.

(Bilbo practiced what he preached, I suppose; Gandy worked for Bilbo after she got her law degree, an association that the Wikipedia article's author suggests may have cost her in her two runs for the Democratic nomination for governor.)

... My late aunt was convinced that Hillary Clinton had Vince Foster killed and that Evelyn Gandy was a lesbian. AFAIK she was wrong on both counts.

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