I have never been to Algeria, Congo, Nigeria, the Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya or any other African country. Nor can I trace my linage back far enough so that I know what tribe I come from. But I can tell you where I am from and I can tell you where my grandfather and my great grand father are from. They are from Mississippi and they call themselves Mississippians and Americans not African Americans. Sure they went through struggles but that was every where from New York City to Jacksonville, Florida. But they struggled and they prevailed so that I could come to Ole Miss and be an Ole Miss Rebel. My father served in Vietnam with other Americans. His best friend whom he lost in a fierce gun battle was a fellow American that just happened to be white guy from Mississippi. But they found common ground both being from small rural towns in MS. They shared stories that even though they were from completely different parts of the state were strangely familiar. He told my father of Ole Miss and the pride the of being from the south that the university holds dear. He told my father that he hopes to live to see his own and my dad’s children go to Ole Miss together and both become big Ole Miss Rebel Football stars. Well he never did, because he died in a gun battle the next day while he and my father were on a patrol and he saved my father’s life, while losing his own. My father named me, his only son after that man and I became an Ole Miss Rebel in the fall of 89. Though I may have never became a big time football star I was nonetheless a REBEL. I am an American, I am a Southerner, I am a Mississippian, I am a Man of Color, I am a Ole Miss Rebel .. And I take pride in being all of those. My father instilled in me to look at someone for who they are and who they can become not for what color or background they come from. My father helped me become a part of Ole Miss because he wanted me to know what Pride and Loyalty was. I waved the flag to support my Rebels as they went to battle. Not for some racial group that is hell bound. I waved it for the Rebels to give some other team Hell. Others might call me an Uncle Tom because of my beliefs. Well my name is Tom, and my namesake is in honor of a man that I will never meet. But if not for that man, I would have never been. Nor would have my son.
Give’em Hell Rebels