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Mississippi Teen-agers Enjoy Visit To Chicago

April 18, 1988

CHICAGO (AP) _ Thirteen Mississippi teen-age girls are taking home lessons in history and culture - and new friendships - after a whirlwind visit that gave them a taste of the big city.

″I got to see a lot of things about culture that I didn’t even know about,″ said Chandrika Rankin, 16, one of the wide-eyed teen-agers from Greenville, Miss., who took part in the weekend meeting between North and South.

The Mississippians’ visit was sponsored by the Greenville-based Daisey M. Greene National Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the services of minority youth and elderly.

It gave new insight to teen-agers in Chicago, too.

″We’re so much in Chicago that we want to know what life is like in the outside world,″ said Marlene Seja, 16, who was among a group of inner-city minority girls from the METRO Achievement Program that met with the Mississippi visitors. The girls exchanged addresses and planned to write to each other.

″I didn’t think they were going to be so modern,″ said Kina Stone, a ninth grader at Chicago’s Whitney Young High School. ″We thought they were going to have straw hats, overalls and wear no makeup. But they were pretty much like us.″

Before they left for home Sunday, the Mississippi girls said their trip was so short that they wanted to take pieces of Chicago back with them.

″If I could bring one thing from Chicago back to Mississippi, it would be the Sears Tower, because it’s big,″ said Daisy Jackson, 17, after a look at the 110-story building, the world’s tallest.

″I’d bring the whole city ... because we didn’t have enough time to see everything,″ said 15-year-old Loraine Loving.

Others giggled and said they would rather take back another one of Chicago’s soaring attractions: pro basketall star Michael Jordan.

The visitors’ busy schedule included attending a performance by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, a sightseeing tour of Chicago, and a stop at the DuSable Museum of African American History.

Miss Loving said she was especially impressed with the museum.

″I like the in-depthness of the history there,″ said. ″There is not enough taught in the schools, and it was just there waiting for you to come and see it.

″I learned that a lot of things were invented by the black man, but because they didn’t have the power to get a patent, the white man had a patent on it,″ she added.

The weekend trip was the idea of Mary Wiley, a Greenville native who is chairwoman of the board of the Greene organization. Ms. Wiley, who now lives in Chicago, said she came up with the idea during a visit to Greenville, a city of about 39,000.

″I thought the Greenville youngsters should be exposed to culture outside their own environment, and Chicago - with all the performing arts here - is an ideal place,″ she said.

Miss Jackson said she plans to recommend Chicago to her friends, and she’d love to return - on one condition.

″As long as I know I can go back home to Greenville,″ she said. ″I’m used to a slower pace.″

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