Question: Who are you?
Jim Barksdale: My name is Jim Barksdale. I was born in Jackson, Mississippi. And after I semi-retired, I moved back there 40 years later.
I’m one of six boys. So at a very early age, I learned the value of the word “no” – as in, “Can I have the car tonight?” “No. Other brothers have already spoken for it.” But also I grew up in a time of great social turmoil in the deep South. I was a child of the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s. I was at the University of Mississippi when James Meredith came to school there, and a riot broke out and two people were killed. That probably had shaped . . . that shaped my life quite a bit. I saw the enormous issues of civil rights firsthand, and I think it’s had a pronounced effect on me the rest of my life.
When I was in college, I studied literature and was gonna be an English-Lit major until I realized that was gonna make it hard to get a job. So I switched to the business school, and I think I pictured myself going into the world of business. And about that time the hot new things were computers. So I went to work for IBM when I got out of Old Miss
Recorded on: July 5, 2007