Reflections on Race

In this continuing search for GSOT, the last 2 blogs gave a personal history of race relations from the viewpoint of a white boy growing up in Mississippi. Does the developing theory of GSOT (the grand scheme of things) give any insight for issues of race and ethnicity?

Let me recap here the barest essentials of GSOT as they appear so far:

Two facts that completely lack explanation confront me: 1. The world exists. 2. I move in it. Continue reading “Reflections on Race”

Ole Miss and James Meredith

On the first day of October 1962, James Meredith enrolled as the first black student at the University of Mississippi in Oxford – Ole Miss. He had been rebuffed 3 times earlier that year. This time he succeeded with the help of 400 Federal marshals and eventually 16,000 U.S. soldiers including units from the 101st Airborne Division.[1] Continue reading “Ole Miss and James Meredith”

Neighbors and Family

In these blogs about Searching for GSOT the family stories have received far more interest than the philosophical wanderings.[1]  I think that’s how it should be. Family should rank high in our understanding of GSOT.

It’s not just my birth family or yours. The idea of family extends to many other people with whom we have shared education, sports, church and Sunday School, military or public service, and work. Some of happiest times of my life have come at reunions – Murrah High School Class of ’65, Harvard Med Class of ’73. My experience with these events is that rivalries fade and everyone treats others as part of an inclusive family. Continue reading “Neighbors and Family”

Medical Education for the World and Home

When Arthur Guyton assumed the chair of physiology at the 2-year University of Mississippi Medical School in Oxford in 1948, he recognized a personal inadequacy because he actually never had taken a full graduate physiology curriculum. His knowledge derived only from medical school courses at Harvard, as well as what he had picked up in surgical internship and brief surgical residency and his term with the Navy in the war. Continue reading “Medical Education for the World and Home”

Slowly Rising Pressure

Anyone who grows up in Mississippi gains respect for the effects of slowly moving fluid. The fertile soil of the Mississippi Delta, from Memphis down through Clarksdale and Yazoo City to Vicksburg, accumulated over millenia of flooding and deposition of silt carried by the river from northern tributaries. As a boy, Ott Guyton certainly heard about the Great Flood of 1927 and read with interest about the expansion of levees and scientific study of hydraulics by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.[1] Floods in Mississippi typically don’t burst upon the scene in an onrushing torrent. Instead the water rises inch by inch often under clear skies in bright sunlight with inescapable devastating effect. Continue reading “Slowly Rising Pressure”

Early Education: Counting to Ten

At the Guyton household in Jackson, Mississippi, new babies began to arrive. David, Robert, Johnny, Steve, Cathy, and Jeannie had moved with Ruth and Arthur from Oxford to a cramped small house on Meadow Road. Doug soon occupied a crib in a corner of his parents’ room. By the time Jimmy and Tommy arrived, the big concrete house was ready to welcome them.

That might have been enough, but later in the 1960s a bonus package arrived. It seemed only fitting that this Protestant mother would name her 10th child Gregory Paul after two Catholic popes. Ruth had to send a telegram to her Wellesley classmates explaining why she would not be able to attend their 25th reunion. “They were struck dead with horror,” she recalled with great amusement. Continue reading “Early Education: Counting to Ten”

Whirly-Go, Soldering, and Forgiveness

Struck by polio, Arthur Guyton could not pursue his chosen career of cardiovascular surgery and turned instead to basic medical science in physiology. In the fall of 1947 he joined the faculty of the 2-year University of Mississippi Medical School in his hometown of Oxford. The following year, despite some concern from the dean that he might not be able to withstand the rigors of leadership and research due to his disability, he became chairman of the Department of Physiology. Continue reading “Whirly-Go, Soldering, and Forgiveness”