On The Campaign Trail With Barbara Blackmon

Published: Oct. 30, 2003 at 8:15 PM CST|Updated: Oct. 30, 2003 at 9:01 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Brad Kessie: "What do you want people to know about Barbara Blackmon the person?"

Barbara Blackmon: "That I have a caring spirit. I have an honest spirit. That my parents instilled in me great values."

Barbara Blackmon is one of nine children raised by Julious and Willie Thelma Martin. Her father passed away four years ago.

Kessie: "If he knew you were running for Lt. Governor, what would he say to you?"

Blackmon: "My father would be so proud, because he was always proud of all of his children, and all of their accomplishments. He would be my number one fan going around the state, talking about his daughter."

Kessie: "Where do your values come from?"

Blackmon: "My values were instilled in me by some very, very caring, loving, supportive parents."

With their help, Blackmon earned four college degrees before she was 26.

Blackmon: "And nothing that I've ever achieved has been given to me. It has come through persevering and knowing that if you work hard, you will get the fruits of your labor."

That hard work has turned the democrat into a lawyer, a state senator, a wife, a mother of two boys, and possibly the first black woman to become Mississippi's Lt. Governor.

Kessie: "Is there any one thing that you learned as a child that you think will help you be a more effective leader?"

Blackmon: "Yes. Growing up, my grandmother used to always tell us, if you do it right the first time, you won't have to do it over again. So that has stuck with me throughout my life where I try, whatever I'm doing, I try to do it right the first time."

Barbara Blackmon has two great joys in her life. When she talks about her sons Madison and Bradford, a proud parent's smile beams across her face.

When Bradford Blackmon ran for 100 yards in a recent high school football game, the ninth grader became a bit of a television celebrity.

Blackmon: "And I screamed upstairs. Bradford, Bradford come here. I said, 'You're on television.' He said, 'Mom I know.' I said, 'Well how come you didn't tell me?'"

The 14 year old's proud Mom is usually the family's only TV star.

Kessie: "Were there points where the family said, 'you know what mom, no way'?"

Blackmon: "Well, yes, there were. It was a two two decision. My husband and my oldest son did not think that MS was ready. But my youngest son and I are eternal optimists. And we believe that we had something great to offer the state. And the state, the voters would look at what we have to offer and not the color of one's skin."

Blackmon's oldest son, Madison, is an 18 year old Tougaloo College junior.

Kessie: "Your proudest treasure, would it be your two boys?"

Blackmon: "It would be my two sons, without any doubt, without any doubt. I am very proud of them. I'm truly, truly blessed to be able to have a career, and have two phenomenal sons, and then run for Lt. Governor and have a law practice that my husband can maintain and allow us the opportunity to seek this position."

This campaign appearance was 126 miles from Hattiesburg to her grandparents Utica, Mississippi farm. That's where a teenage Blackmon labored every summer in the hot sun.

Kessie: "How did that experience change you or define you as a person?"

Blackmon: "It instilled in me hard work, a perseverance spirit, and getting an honest day's work for an honest day's wages."

Blackmon passed on those life lessons to her children. It's why, when her 14 year old looked into the football stands recently and didn't see his mother, he was okay with it.

Blackmon: "My son encouraged me to run for this office. And he knew there would be times that I would not be able to be at his functions. And he has said mama, go ahead, I understand."