Get past back for ailing future

Published 11:08 pm Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Pearl River County, and Poplarville in particular, have a hidden gem tucked away in a portion of a small building on the campus of Pearl River Community College — the college’s museum. Thanks to the efforts of Ron Hague, its director (or curator, if you prefer), and donations from many former alumni and friends, an important part of our local history is being preserved.

In last week’s issue of The Poplarville Democrat we began reprinting, with permission, a series of articles first printed in The Museum News, the newsletter of PRCC’s Museum Patrons’ Organization.

The college bears the distinction of being the premier Junior College (now Community College) in the state, and the history of its beginnings show the great significance that education carried in the Coastal and Pine Belt regions of Mississippi. The establishment of a Poplarville High School in the early 1890s was the start of a thread that continues to this day with not only PRCC but in Hattiesburg with William Carey University.

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These articles from The Museum News show how important education was to the founders of this county and its communities, and, more importantly, their dedication to the goal of providing a balanced education for the area’s youth.

When you read these stories gleaned from the old newspapers there is a sense of a quality and demeanor to life that it would not hurt for us to recapture. With the noise, glitz and superficiality of a lot of today’s culture, more and more respect for life and true enjoyment of that life is being submerged — submerged by a meanness, a crassness that gives little respect to basic humanity. Why else would we see school children shooting other children, or adults shooting children, or sexual predators caught on camera as they arrive for a supposed tryst with an underage girl.

There are lessons to be learned from the past, if with have the wit to see them and the desire to find them. The answers to some of the questions of life have already been answered, many times over, but we think too often that the past is somehow uneducated in light of the modern marvels we see around us today.

If you have the time and want to connect with some of our county’s past or just bone up on our premier community college, give the college museum a look-see. It will be well worth your time.