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'Believe It': Proud Mississippians Shun Stereotypes

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'Believe It': Proud Mississippians Shun Stereotypes

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'Believe It': Proud Mississippians Shun Stereotypes

'Believe It': Proud Mississippians Shun Stereotypes

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/88034662/88034653" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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An ad from the "Mississippi, Believe It" campaign. The Cirlot Agency, Inc. hide caption

toggle caption The Cirlot Agency, Inc.

An ad from the "Mississippi, Believe It" campaign.

The Cirlot Agency, Inc.

More from the Ad Campaign

Mississippi's conflicted history of race relations, and portrayals of that history in film and books, is one reason why some are quick to associate the Southern state with racism and economic disparities, perceptions more likely to be held by non-Mississippians.

Rick Looser, a Mississippi-based advertising executive, is at the center of a campaign aimed at dispelling common stereotypes about the state. Materials from the ad blitz, "Mississippi, Believe It," have been strategically circulated among the nation's top newspapers, magazines and among the state's colleges and universities.

Just before the state's upcoming presidential primary, which has thrust the state into the national spotlight, Looser and two other Mississippians — Janelle Jefferson, a student adviser at Jackson State University, and Derrick Johnson, of the Mississippi chapter of the NAACP — explain their frustration with age-old stereotypes and why they're proud to call the state home.

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