James Jones column: Never forget your roots

Published 11:11 am Thursday, March 28, 2024

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People often forget where they come from. 

Over the years, I have seen that common thread in human behavior. Whether it was in Tuscaloosa, Biloxi, or Selma, I have watched people abandon their roots and principles for success.

A few years ago, a very talented basketball player in Selma transferred to another school and simply ripped the Queen City to shreds at another media outlet. I will not name the player, out of respect for that person’s family. The person transferred to a highly-touted Junior College in the state and was never heard from again.

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I have been to events in Selma, where some people tried being someone they were not. Here is a piece of advice, be yourself. People can spot fakeness a mile away. When the dignitaries leave, it is back to business.

While we realize the excitement of people moving up in the corporate world for their families, it is okay to stay humble.

Growing up, I was taught by family and teachers at every level the adage: “Never forget where you came from.”

I have always followed that advice. Whether I worked at The Sun Herald or The Selma Times-Journal, I am still that same person. I always visit family and friends, the ones who helped me.

I visit the cemetery twice a month to visit the gravesites of my family, reminding myself that I miss them dearly.

In some instances, I often message old friends on Social Media to have lunch or dinner with me. I do not need a high school or college reunion every 10 years to see them. 

I occasionally get nostalgic enough to visit the old school or college, replaying classic memories inside my head. I have taken one of the girls to my two old stomping grounds, where the legend was born.

In the end, I want to see more people remember their upbringing and honor their legacies. 

James Jones is the managing editor of The Selma Times-Journal. He can be reached at james.jones@selmatimesjournal.com.