By NEMS Daily Journal
Tupelo would rate among top cities
This morning I found a copy of the Smithsonian Magazine on my desk with the headline “America’s Twenty Best Small Towns.” I immediately read the article really expecting Tupelo to be included. Unfortunately, the selection was limited to towns with less than 15,000 population.
Nevertheless, I read the qualifications for selection which I was pleased to see resulted in the inclusion of Cleveland, Miss., among the “Twenty Towns.”
The rhetorical question answered in the article was “What makes a small town big on culture?”
The answer was: “Small towns and cities that have exceptional concentrations of museums, art galleries, orchestras, theaters, historic sites and other culture blessings. Top towns that are devoted to preserving their historic centers, encouraging talent and supporting careful economic growth. There’s usually an institution of higher learning, too. Most important are the people, unpretentious people with small town values and high cultural expectations.”
How could Tupelo not be included had we been eligible?
Last week was a perfect example. Saturday evening you have to choose between Tupelo’s Symphony (which has more than once been named “America’s best small town symphony”) and a wonderful performance at Tupelo’s Community Theatre of “To Kill a Mockingbird” with a superb and integrated cast with professional production, direction and scenery, while bringing a great message of tolerance, courage and family values to a wide, appreciative, local audience. Nor can I imagine any community more “devoted to preserving their historic centers or supporting careful economic growth” than Tupelo.
As to the “institution of higher learning,” George McLean, who founded CDF, very early recognized the need for this and led the campaign years ago to attract the University of Mississippi branch here by raising $200,000 to provide a building for that purpose. In addition we now have ICC and our Advanced Education Center which includes MSU and MUW.
I just think (in fact I know) that Tupelo has everything that the Smithsonian was looking for!
Jack Reed Sr.