Letter to the editor: Tom Baker

Posted on May 19 2017 - 5:56pm by Tom Baker

Here’s to you, Brandon Niemeyer

Brandon Niemeyer’s staff photo from when he served on The Daily Mississippian editorial board.

Brandon Niemeyer matriculated at his beloved Ole Miss in the fall of 2000. He wrote for The DM from September 2000 until June 2005, starting as a columnist and ending on the editorial board as The DM’s opinion editor. In that time, he published frequently. His first big editorial in September 2000, ‘Gay rights are human rights,’ was published by The DM and reprinted by the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s school newspaper the same month. Not bad for an 18 year old freshman history major from Olive Branch.

The articles and editorials that Brandon wrote while at The DM were reprinted, debated and/or cited nationally and internationally, from the Neshoba Democrat to the University of Colorado and the University of Florida Law Review. One of his most controversial and memorable DM editorials written in March 2005, ‘Traditions of a racist past,’ was cited as recently as 2011 by the Journal of Sport History and in 2016 by a graduate student in Brazil.

Brandon’s gift was that he was his own man. At times it made him fearless and controversial in the context of where he was, but it also enabled him to be an independent thinker and writer. Brandon’s ability to perceive the often beautiful and sometimes failed history of his surroundings combined with his unapologetically outspoken style motivated him to frequently write about social justice and civil rights, using The DM as his outlet. Personally, he was a consummate gentleman with a big heart and an old soul. Partial to both William Faulkner and Hunter S. Thompson, Brandon joked that in a previous life he was either a civil war soldier or a communist revolutionary.

My friend Brandon Niemeyer died unexpectedly, age 34, on Tuesday, May 16, 2017. He will be sorely missed.

Tom Baker graduated from high school with Niemeyer in 2000. Baker is now an active duty military officer near Seattle, Washington.