Some ‘firsts’ need to go away in Mississippi

Published 11:36 pm Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Mississippi still has too many “firsts,” and we hope they go away soon.

In one of the latest “firsts” a state judge who grew up in Natchez has become the first woman to lead the Mississippi Court of Appeals.

It’s an amazing honor for Chief Judge Donna Barnes and we are thrilled for her.

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But as she and others pointed out at her swearing in ceremony, Barnes did not achieve the position with ease or alone.

“This really is an historic occasion,” said Joy Lambert Phillips of Gulfport, who as the first woman president of the Mississippi Bar in 2005 was another Mississippi “first.”

“She’s a trailblazer in her own right, but I think she will quickly tell you that she stood on the shoulders of all those women who came before her, women who blazed a trail when there was not even a narrow path to follow.”

Phillips is correct: a long line of nearly firsts preceded each first.

Whether gender firsts or racial firsts, Mississippi is still working through it’s own equality equilibrium.

Soon we hope all the firsts are found in the history books, not the current headlines.