Bird Like Me

  • Aired:  01/24/11
  •  | Views: 124,729

Wyatt Cenac finds an historic black town in Mississippi where birds are revered more than people. (5:49)

APPROACHING IN FEBRUARY.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH FAST

APPROACHING PEPSI COMMERCIALS

WILL SOON BE REMINDING US OF

AFRICAN-AMERICANS LONG

STRUGGLE FOR JUSTICE.

WE REPORT ON THE NEW VOICE

CONTINUING THE FIGHT FOR CIVIL

RIGHTS.

>> Reporter: TURKEY CREEK,

MISSISSIPPI, FOUNDED BY FREED

SLAVES IN 1866, IT'S BEEN A

THRIVING HAVEN FOR LOCAL BLACK

RESIDENTS WHICH MEANS A

DUMPING GROUND FOR EVERYONE

ELSE.

FOR 150 YEARS THEIR LACK OF

POLITICAL POWER HAS MADE THEM

AN INVITING TARGET FOR EMINENT

DOMAIN SEIZURE AND A HANDY

WASTE BIN FOR INDUSTRIAL

POLLUTION, AGENT ORANGE AND

WHATEVER THE HELL DID THIS.

>> WE'VE BEEN HERE FOR ALMOST

150 YEARS.

BUT INTO THE 21st CENTURY WE

WERE ERASED FROM THE MAP.

THAT'S THE MOST LIKELY

OUTCOME.

>> Reporter: TO PROTECT WHAT

LITTLE LAND WAS LEFT THEY

APPEALED TO LOCAL OFFICIALS,

STATE OFFICIALS, THE NAACP,

ANYBODY-- ALL TO KNOW AVAIL.

BUT THEN CAME A SAVIOR.

>> WE ALWAYS LOOK FOR

OPPORTUNITIES TO HELP

COMMUNITIES LIKE TURKEY CREEK.

IT REPRESENTS A PLACE WHERE

NOT JUST RESIDENT BIRDS BUT

MIGRATING BIRDS THAT FLY

THROUGH HERE ON THE WAY.

>> Reporter: WHAT THE HELL ARE

YOU TALKING ABOUT?

>> I'M TALKING ABOUT THE BIRDS,

THESE FEATHERED CREATURES THAT

FLY IN THE SKY THAT ALSO LIVE

IN TURKEY CREEK.

>> Reporter: THAT'S RIGHT.

THE ONLY ORGANIZATION THAT

COULD HELP PRESERVE WHAT

REMAINS OF TURKEY CREEK....

>> YOU'RE THE MOTHER (BEEP)

BIRD PEOPLE.

>> Reporter: THE AUDUBON

SOCIETY.

RESIDENTS HAD TURNED TOWARDS

THE HEAVENS FOR HELP, AND

THEIR PRAYERS WERE ANSWERED BY

BIRDS.

>> WHEN OUTDOOR ENTHUSIASTS,

WHEN THEY GOT INVOLVED, IT

JUST CHANGED THINGS

DRAMATICALLY I THINK.

WE RECENTLY WERE ABLE TO FORCE

A CONCESSION FROM THE STATE TO

PUT 1600 ACRE INTO PERPETUAL

CONSERVATION.

>> THANKS TO THE BIRDS.

>> BIRDS ARE VERY REVERED IN

MISSISSIPPI.

>> Reporter: MORE THAN PEOPLE?

>> I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO SAY.

>> Reporter: TO THE AUDUBON

SOCIETY'S CREDIT, THEY WERE

EVEN THERE AFTER HURRICANE

KATRINA RAVAGED TURKEY CREEK.

>> AFTER THE HURRICANE A

COUPLE OF YEARS AGO WE BUILT

THOUSANDS OF THESE.

INCLUDING HERE IN TURKEY

CREEK.

>> SO AFTER HURRICANE KATRINA,

YOU GOT PEOPLE TO COME OUT AND

BUILD HOMES FOR THE BIRDS.

>> Reporter: IF ONLY THE BIRDS

HAD GOTTEN HERE A LITTLE

SOONER.

>> THIS IS ABOUT 20% OF WHAT

WAS OUR HISTORIC CEMETERY.

>> Reporter: WHERE IS THE REST

OF IT?

>> IT WAS BULL DOZED TO BUILD.

>> Reporter: SO THE ORIGINAL

FREED MEN AND WOMEN WHO

CREATED TURKEY CREEK ARE UNDER

THIS?

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

IF THIS HAD BEEN A LISTED,

RECOGNIZED FORMALLY MAPPED

OFFICIAL BIRDING AREA, NONE OF

THIS WOULD HAVE HAPPENED.

>> Reporter: HOLD ON FOR A

SECOND.

>> SURE.

>> Reporter: HEY THERE,

REVEREND.

BEEN BUSY?

>> TURKEY CREEK, MISSISSIPPI,

MEAN ANYTHING TO US?

>> JUST A TOWN.

>> Reporter: NOBODY COULD HELP

THEM BUT THE AUDUBON SOCIETY.

DO YOU FEEL A LITTLE

EMBARRASSED.

MAYBE YOU'RE GETTING SHOWN UP

BY THE BIRDS, MAN?

>> NO, I THINK THEY SHOULD BE

EMBARRASSED THAT THEY DON'T

LISTEN TO HUMAN BEINGS.

THEY LISTEN TO BIRDS.

>> Reporter: CLEARLY THE BIRDS

HAD PROVEN THEIR VALUE TO

SOCIETY, BUT WHAT COULD THE

PEOPLE OFFER?

>> WE HELP THEM TO ELEVATE THE

IMPORTANCE OF THIS COMMUNITY

BY PROVIDING THEM SHEETS ON

HOW TO IDENTIFY BIRDS IN THEIR

BACKYARD.

>> Reporter: YOU TAUGHT THE

DIRECT DESCENDANTS OF SLAVES

TO COUNT BIRDS TO PROVE THAT

THEIR HOMES ARE WORTH SAFING?

>> I HEAR A BIRD RIGHT NOW.

>> Reporter: WAS THIS PLACE

ALWAYS CALLED TURKEY CREEK OR

DID YOU CHANGE THE NAME TO

TURKEY CREEK BECAUSE NOBODY

WOULD COME HELP WHEN IT WAS

CALLED THE BLACK PEOPLE'S

SWAMP.

>> IT WAS NEVER CALLED

ANYTHING BUT TURKEY CREEK BUT

THAT ANONYMOUS.

>> Reporter: THE RESIDENTS

HAVE TAKEN THE BIRDING WITH

GREAT ENTHUSIASM.

>> (BEEP) BIRDS GOT MORE POWER

OR SAY-SO THAN ANYBODY.

>> Reporter: ALBERT'S ANALYSIS

OF RACE IN AMERICA MADE ME

THINK, WAS SOCIETY STILL

TREATING ME A CERTAIN WAY DUE

TO THE COLOR OF MY SKIN?

>>

>> Reporter: BUT WHAT IF I

WEREN'T BLACK?

WHAT IF I WERE GREEN?

>> YEAH.

MIND IF I HUG YOUR LADY?

ALL RIGHT, YEAH, LET'S GET A

HUG HERE.

OH, YEAH.

THAT'S NICE.

YOU'RE A NICE HUGGER.

WHAT ARE YOU DRINKING THERE?

>> LEMONADE AND DIET COKE.

>> OH, I'D LOVE TO TRY THOSE

LEMONADES.

>> Reporter: LIFE IN

MISSISSIPPI WAS SIMPLY BETTER

AS A BIRD.

I HAD JUST ONE MORE QUESTION

FOR DEREK.

SERIOUSLY?

Loading...