Gypsy Queen and Southern Lady? Seriously?

A person sitting on the ground in front of water.
Kelly Mitchell, Queen of the Gypsies, inspiration for “Into The Free” by Julie Mitchell


Is that what I just said?  Well..yes.  Stay with me.

Kelly Mitchell, Queen of the Gypsies died in 1915 at 45 giving birth to her 15th child.  A local physician, paid $10,000 tried unsuccessfully to save her life.  Her husband Emil was born in Brazil, but I could not find a record of Kelly’s birth. She died in nearby Coatopa Ala, but her body was brought to Meriden, Miss for burial because it was the only place they could find with enough ice to preserve her body until the burial ceremony could be performed.  Her burial established the southern burial ground for the Mitchell tribe.  Links to a description of the elaborate  ceremony, attended by thousands,  can be found at

So just how is a Gypsy Queen, of Romani descent, clearly not born in the land where she died, how is THIS a Southern Lady?

EXACTLY!!  There is no such thing as “The Southern Lady.”  For many, and sadly, maddeningly,  the phrase conjures up visions of long skirts, verandas and magnolias.  Flirty and male-obsessed. A little daft, but to be expected in someone so beautiful.

Not. Women in the south don’t fit a mold just as they don’t in New York, or Chicago or San Francisco.  We are black and white and brown.  We work on farms, we work in the legislature. We win beauty contests, we win marathons.  We are stay-at-home moms, we fight in Afghanistan. We ride horses, we drive 18 wheelers.  We are straight, we are gay.  We are Republicans, we are Democrats (well some of us are…), we are Catholic, Baptist, agnostic, athiest (really! ) And some of us are Gypsies (more correctly Romani).

Come get to know us.  You might be very surprised.!