NEW: I knew Charley Pride was a trail blazer as the first Black country superstar. But until I started writing this after learning of his death from COVID-19 earlier today, I didn't realize how many incredible his life story was. Some things I learned: 1/…
Charley Pride was born in Sledge, Miss., in 1934—a town of fewer than 350 people. He walked four miles to a segregated grade school each day while white children passed on buses.

He bought his first guitar with money he earned picking cotton. 2/…
Charley Pride became a country radio star even as RCA released singles that didn't include photos of him.

So when he appeared before a crowd of 10,000 white fans in Detroit, their applause quickly turned to stunned silence upon realizing he was Black. 3/…
“Friends, I realize it’s a little unique, me coming out here—with a permanent suntan—to sing country and western to you,” he told the stunend white audience who had just discovered his Blackness. “I am from Mississippi. ... And I sing country music." 4/…
When Charley Pride and his wife, Rozene Cochran, lived in Montana in the 1960s, racism still followed. Even as a rising star, the couple were refused service in a Helena restaurant and a real estate agent refused to show them a home. 5/…
Charley Pride's wife, Rozene, told a Helena newspaper that in Montana, Native Americans were "treated much like Negroes in the South."

A white neighbor who cuddled the Prides’ baby chased off a Native boy who came to play with their son, she said. 6/…
Charlie Pride on performing in Texas the night of MLK's assassination: “I got onstage, nobody said nothin’. They applauded, I got a standing ovation. ... But it was hanging there, what had happened and me the only one there with these pigmentations." 7/…
In 1976, amid The Troubles in Northern Ireland, Charley Pride did what few international artists were willing to do: he performed in Belfast—despite the deadly violence in the country. His decision led other artists to break the de facto boycott, too. 8/…
Pride, the son of a state who just over a century earlier had seceded & gone to war against its union to keep people like him enslaved, temporarily united both sides of the Northern Ireland conflict in praise of him going where few other acts would go. 9/…
"Roll on Mississippi, you make me feel like a child again
Roll on Mississippi, big river roll.
You’re the childhood dream that I grew up on.
Roll on Mississippi, carry me home.
Now I can see I’ve been away too long.
Roll on, Mississippi, roll on."
—Charley Pride, 1981

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More from @ashtonpittman

14 Dec
A Mississippi mayor who urged defiant Wiggins residents to wear masks has died of COVID-19.

Mayor Joel Miles "faced many (who) felt it unnecessary to wear one. As he was trying to protect others, not everyone did their part to protect him," wrote his…
“When COVID-19 first appeared, I, myself, said some very ignorant things concerning this awful disease," wrote Mayor Joel Miles' widow, Mary. "But I have learned the hard way this is not a hoax. It is real!"…
While some other Republicans in Mississippi pushed COVID-19 conspiracy theories and spoke up against mask mandates, Mayor Miles embraced masks as a public health tool.

When Gov. Reeves ended the statewide mask order, Mayor Miles instituted a local order.…
Read 5 tweets
14 Dec
This is a load of partisan bull.

1. Mississippi—the only state that did not significantly expand voting access (a "scheme," the governor calls it) in the midst of the deadliest pandemic in 100 years—is one of just THREE states (with MO & OK) that did not exceed 2008 turnout.
2. Other states' election systems were not "upended" with "last-minute schemes" to "radically alter voting methods."

Instead, other states made voting more accessible to all, ensuring historic turnout. That's not a "last-minute scheme." That's democracy.
3. But Mississippi did ensure that many poor rural and Black voters in this state remained effectively disenfranchised—and made many risk their safety by voting in person.
Read 15 tweets
12 Dec
You'll probably fail if you simply fight for the Democratic Party in the South.

But if you fight for democracy in the South, which is what @staceyabrams did, you'll change America.
If you overcome race-centric disenfranchisement in the South with democracy, it really would change it all.

Even the GOP would have to change or die. Since the 60s, the GOP has relied heavily on the Southern Strategy—appealing to white racism. Without the South, it doesn't work.
If the GOP suddenly had to listen to the needs of Black southerners and other southerners of color in order to have a chance at winning the South (and thus the electoral college), neither the Southern strategy nor Trumpism would work any longer.
Read 9 tweets
11 Dec
The imaginary states of "New California" and "New Nevada" have now joined the GOP effort to overturn the election by disenfranchising the real states of WI, MI, GA & PA.

This gets more coup-coup by the day.
Read 5 tweets
11 Dec
I've received more end-of-year press releases from porn sites (who added me to their press list for some reason) in the past day than there have been town hall meetings held by my congressman, @StevenPalazzo, in the past 10 years.

And that's far more obscene than any porn, imo.
To be clear: I've received 2 end-year-press releases from porn sites in the past day.
Rep. Gene Taylor, the Democrat Palazzo defeated in 2010, regularly held town halls seven times a year when he was a congressman.

And no, exclusive tele-townhalls where callers are screened is no substitute for coming to your district & engaging with your constituents in person.
Read 16 tweets
10 Dec
NEW: Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves held a Christmas party at the governor's mansion hours after ordering all Mississippians to limit indoor gatherings to 10 people.

“The governor’s mansion is not just a mansion—it’s a museum," he said yesterday.…
Gov. Reeves: "(Hosting Christmas parties at the governor's mansion) allows us to really send a message to the people of Mississippi that you can return to a life that is somewhat normal, but in a way that minimizes risk, that mitigates risk..."…
Yesterday, Mississippi reported 2,746 new cases of COVID-19—the single worst day in the state since the pandemic began.

But Gov. Reeves looked at the positive.

“There were 2.8 million Mississippians that didn’t get the virus today," he said.…
Read 10 tweets

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