ourMississippi summer 2012
“Our State, Our Lives, Our People”
“THE HELP” How it helped Mississippi embrace its history
Action in Jackson In the capital city, there’s no sitting still
Building on a Dream
Toni Cooley’s System Automotive Interiors becomes a Tier One supplier for Toyota
Forces of change
Evers, Hamer and Henry altered the course of our history
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ourMississippi summer 2012
Published By Legend Publishing Company Publisher Wesley Wells
Good business should be more than just a balance sheet.
Photography Stephanie Rhea | Wesley Wells | Katie Hendricks Graphic Design Fran Sherman Advertising Sales Kelly Brewer | Wesley Wells Contributing Writers Cristal Cody | James Hull | Patricia Neely-Dorsey | Diedra Jackson | Brinda Willis
To me, giving back means making a real and positive difference in people’s lives today and tomorrow. Entergy Mississippi has a long history of investing in our communities through employee volunteer programs, Michael Fuller, Customer Service Representative community grants and economic development leadership that helps encourage and fund new business and job opportunities. I’m proud to work for a company that believes in supporting its employees and the community, and a company that takes responsibility for helping to make the world a better place. Learn more about our community and economic development activities at entergymississippi.com. Giving back to the community. That’s The Power of People.
Consultant Samir Husni associate publisher Dave Clark
on the cover
Scene from “The Help” filmed in Greenwood. Photo Courtesy of Dreamworks Our Mississippi Magazine is published quarterly by Legend Publishing Company, Copyright 2012, Legend Publishing Company. Reproduction without written consent from the publisher is strictly prohibited. OM is not responsible for unsolicited materials. We welcome your comments. Letters to the editor should be mailed to: Our Mississippi Magazine P.O. Box 1388 | Tupelo, MS 38802 Those interested in advertising can email us at: email@example.com or call (662) 844-2602. www.ourmississippimag.com
Want to keep up with lifestyles in Tupelo and Northeast Mississippi? Subscribe to Our Mississippi Magazine. Get two full years (8 issues) of Our MIssissippi Magazine for just $35, or you can get a one-year subscription (4 issues) for $20. Just fill out the form below and send your check or money order to the address above or subscribe online at: www.tupelomag.com Name_____________________________________________________ Address___________________________________________________ City____________________________State_______Zip______________ A message from Entergy Mississippi, Inc. ©2011 Entergy Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
contents summer 2012
How “The Help” helped mississippi embrace its history
09 12 15 19 22 24 25 28 31 34 36 37 40 43 46 50 52 54 56 59 62
evers, hamer, and henry helped change the course of our state Historical ‘shames’ should be shared, not censored how “the help” helped mississippi embrace its history Joined At the Hip mmba: membership has its privileges ENTERGY Hosts Supplier Diversity Business Opportunity Forum jackson: The Renaissance City the penguin rises again the almanett: african-american owns boutique hotel on the gulf coast Lessons Learned Abroad Lift Every Voice and Sing: A Platform for Education frank dowsing: courageous athlete helped paved the way for integration MSU hires African-American coach to lead basketball program MSU’s African American Studies program attracts more students kids and alcohol mississippi events calendar black alumni reunion Mississippi’s African Americans Hardest Struck by HIV Disease The Voice of Survival – and northeast Mississippi Blueprint Mississippi 2011 Getting Your “Business” Financial House in Order
elcome to another edition of Our Mississippi Magazine. We have been greeted with tremendous response and I am so excited about the future of the magazine. In this edition, we take a look back at our history and pay homage to three civil rights figures that made our state what is today. Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer and Aaron Henry are the three that we salute in this issue. If you noticed our cover, we used a photo from the hit movie, “The Help”, that was filmed in Mississippi. We share some insight on the film’s impact in Mississippi and some real life stories similar to the movie. Also, as you look through the magazine, you’ll see we have a huge interest in Mississippi business. African Americans are a huge part of the Mississippi business climate and we intend to enhance it even more. We’re happy to be working with the Mississippi Department of Health and they provided us with information that is vital to our community that we have included in this issue. There are several other important subjects that we have included. We hope you enjoy, and thank you for picking up the magazine.
I want to take time and make one point clear to our readers. Without our advertisers, there is no way we could produce this magazine for you. We could really use your help here. It is very important for you to let our advertisers know you saw their ad and appreciate them supporting the magazine. We have some big things on the horizon that will be of benefit to us all and we need the support of our advertisers to continue to grow. FOR OUR ADVERTISERS, present and future We can’t thank you enough for your support of the magazine. What you are saying is you are very interested in diversity and very interested in having the African-American community as customers. Thank you. Wesley Wells
What they are saying about Our Mississippi Magazine “Our Mississippi is a valuable source of information for Mississippians to be informed on issues that affect each of us. This magazine ranges in topics from health and wellness to business and it certainly fills a void that was present for the voices of the minority community in our state.” —Mia McNeal, President/CEO, Arkansas-Mississippi Minority Supplier Development Council
“We have been supportive of Our Mississippi Magazine since its inception and have found it to be a most rewarding way to promote outreach to minority-owned businesses throughout the state of Mississippi. The magazine’s insight into current and poignant topics makes great reading and helps us and our members stay up to date. Keep up the good work!” —Shellie Michael, Executive Director, Mississippi Minority Business Alliance
“I’m very happy to know that we have a magazine that shows what our communities are all about. There are many positive things that African-Americans are doing every day to make Mississippi better and this magazine points that out. It is filling a great void and I wish it much success.” —Kelvin Buck, Mississippi State Representative, District 5
Evers, Hamer and Henry helped change the course of our state By james hull
s Mississippians – black and white – how much time do we spend thinking about how we got here? “Where?” you ask. Here, the state about which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said black people were sweltering under the heat of oppression; the state that didn’t allow blacks to vote until the 1960s; the state that recorded an official lynching in 1975; the state that gave the world the names Emmett Till and Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner to mourn; the state that birthed and raised Ross Barnett, Byron De La Beck-
with and the White Citizens Council to scorn. But here we are – nominating a black woman for lieutenant governor in 2003 and a black man for governor in 2011; celebrating the life and legacy of Robert Clark, speaker pro tem of the Mississippi House of Representatives Robert Clark; becoming the state with the most black elected officials in the country; sending all-black high school basketball and football teams to compete for state championships representing majority white towns; and crowning not one but two black women as Miss Mississippi.
How did we get here? Without question on the backs of thousands of Mississippians who fought for justice, fairness and equality – not the least of whom were Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer and Aaron Henry. Those three legendary figures stand in the Pantheon of civil rights, yet most of us know little about them. So here’s a quick history lesson: Of course, we’ve seen Evers’ death, and the eventual conviction some 30 years later of his murderer, De La Beckwith, played out in the movie Ghosts of Mississippi. Any longtime member or supporter of the Mississippi NAACP
has been spoon-fed the legacy of Dr. Aaron Henry, a pharmacist and legislator. And Hamer’s iconic quote, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired,” has been used endlessly. Yet how many of us realize that without the untiring and relentless efforts of these three individuals, there might never have been the statewide political races of Barbara Blackmon and Johnnie Dupree, or that Robert Clark might have been just another local leader in Holmes County, or that our public schools could look radically different? Many of us automatically connect the name Medgar Evers with his service as the first field director for the Mississippi NAACP. But we don’t usually connect him to James Meredith and the integration of Ole Miss. But in 1954, eight years before Meredith applied to Mississippi’s most cherished segregated gemstone, Evers had tried to enter the Ole Miss Law School after his 1952 graduation from Alcorn A&M College (now, of course, Alcorn University). Evers’ application was rejected, but not only did he sue to gain entrance, his fight became the focus of an NAACP effort to desegregate the school. When Meredith successfully integrated Ole Miss in 1962, he had Evers to thank for being his mentor and adviser. Years earlier, Evers has crossed paths with Clarksdale pharmacist Aaron Henry, whose mentor was Dr. T.R.M. Howard, a black surgeon from Mound Bayou. Henry and Howard were founding members of an organization called the Regional Council of Negro Leadership. Both were already strong members of the Mississippi NAACP. Fannie Lou Hamer It was shortly after Dr. Howard brought Evers to Mound Bayou in 1952 to sell insurance for his Magnolia Mutual Life Insurance Co. that Howard was instrumental in having Evers appointed the first NAACP field secretary in 1954. Evers was appointed by Dr. E.J. Stringer, state president at the time. And who succeeded Stringer as head of the Mississippi NAACP? It was Aaron Henry, who was serving his fourth year in that capacity when Evers was gunned down in his own driveway on the evening of June 2, 1963. Until Evers’ death, very little grass-roots organizing
took place because Mississippi blacks were so intimidated by violence and economic reprisals. Instead, civil rights activities were confined mainly to developing black leadership through efforts like the RCNL. But Henry, wanting to organize deeper into black settlements and communities, founded the Council of Federated Organizations. And it was through COFO that Henry found an ally and friend in Fannie Lou Hamer, daughter of a sharecropper, wife of a sharecropper but a woman of iron and strength. In 1962, two years before Evers’ death, Stokely Carmichael and H. Rap Brown’s Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, along with Dr. King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference, brought one of King’s lieutenants, Rev. James Bevel, to Mississippi to deliver a series of sermons on voting and civil rights. On the night of Aug. 25 in her church at Ruleville, Fannie Lou Hamer heard Bevel preach, and her life changed forever. A week later, inspired by Bevel’s sermon, Hamer and 17 others boarded a bus to Indianola to register to vote. Their efforts were undermined by the prevailing hurdles of a poll tax and a literacy test. Refusing the orders of her plantation owner to withdraw
her application to vote, Hamer and her husband, “Pap,” were evicted, “Pap” was fired from the plantation and they lost all of their worldly possessions. But Hamer’s fight and tenacity caught the eye not only of SNCC, of which she was named field secretary at large, but of Henry, who by now was questioning the legitimacy of the all-white Mississippi Democratic Party. It was the same all-white party that Hamer found herself locked out of time and time again. So in 1963 she, Henry and others formed the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, and in 1964 the MFDP challenged the Mississippi “regulars” at the 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City. Using one of their operatives, a Minnesotan named Walter Mondale, the eventual president and vice president of the United States, Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey, undermined the MFDP’s challenge, but not before Hamer rebuffed a proposed compromise to allow two of the MFDP delegates to sit with the “regulars” as observers. “They want to give us two seats,” she famously replied, “when we’re all tired.” The fight against an all-white Democratic Party in 1964 was the precursor to the multiracial policies and constituMedgar Evers tion of today’s Mississippi Democratic Party. The lawsuit that Evers filed in 1952 was rolled over into the landmark desegregation case Brown v. Board of Education. Travel down Highway 49 South from Yazoo City to Jackson and you come into the Capitol City on Medgar Evers Boulevard. Take a flight from Jackson and you depart from Jackson-Evers Airport. Travel up Highway 30 from Oxford to New Albany and in the small town of Etta, Dr. Wovoka Sobukwe and his family of Ph.D.s and M.A.’s have formed the Fannie Lou Hamer Institute. Ask current Mississippi NAACP President Derrick Johnson where he got his start in the organization, and he will tell you it came in forming a student chapter at Mary Holmes College in West Point, where Henry’s daughter was a staff member and he was a student when Dr. Henry was honored in 1989 for his 30 years as state president. Those who care about civil rights history in Mississippi will tell you that countless numbers sacrificed and toiled, boycotted and marched, spoke and died. And then there were Medgar and Fannie and Aaron – the three that God gave. OM
The Lorraine Motel
Historical “Shames” should be shared, not censored
By Deidra Jackson
The Lorraine Motel. With rich history generated by January’s federal Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday still fresh in mind, I’m always overcome by at least two emotions whenever that famous Memphis landmark is mentioned: dread and embarrassment. It must have been sheer terror for those who wit-
nessed King’s assassination on the night of April 4, 1968, as he stood on the balcony outside room 306, on the motel’s second floor. In solidarity with Memphis’ striking garbage collectors, King had visited the city to galvanize protestors. It was in The Bluff City that he called attention to poverty in America, a national discussion that many consider to be one
of history’s great watersheds. And it was in the prophetic words he spoke that led many to believe that King saw his own death: “We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. I won’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life.” To a movement trying to forge ahead, and seemingly finding some give, seeing its most ardent leader taken down must have been demoralizing, even to the most faithful.
American Studies program on Jan. 10, after an administrative law judge ruled it violated a new state law and the state said the local district was going to lose $15 million in annual aid, according to media reports. And all this, within a school district that is 62 percent Latino. The controversial decision marked a turning point in a yearlong controversy over the new law banning certain ethnic studies, according to CNN. A recent ruling established that the Mexican American program was targeted as promoting “resentment toward a race or class of people.” ¿En serio? (Seriously?)
Manipulating the narratives of controversial facts, simply because they’re controversial, isn’t history.
MLK homage Since 1992, the Lorraine Motel has been home to the National Civil Rights Museum, which aims to preserve and showcase African-American history. I’ve visited the site and have experienced the moving tribute, with a glimpse into King’s room, which is marked with a wreath and a replica catfish dinner on a small side table. It’s an area presented in much the same way it appeared on the night he was killed. Such multilayered memoirs are revealed at the former Lorraine Motel. However, I’m embarrassed to admit that as an undergraduate college student in the Deep South in the late 1980s, and as someone who considered herself “learned,” I just hadn’t heard of this historical marker. How did I miss it? I had no inkling of The Lorraine Motel’s significance in history when a mentor mentioned it to me. This was not my best Angela Davis moment in black history. And what I know now, but didn’t know back then, still haunts me to this day. But there’s a difference between harmless unfamiliarity and willful ignorance. What’s happening to Tucson, Ariz. high school students at the hands of some unhinged and politically driven judges and school leaders is particularly heinous. Deliberately forbidding all Shakespeare, it seems, was just the match in the barrel. Turning point The Tucson Unified School District’s governing board earlier banned more than 80 texts, essays, and other books. However, this latest move, which officials have since backpedaled, comes after the district suspended its Mexican
Uncommon good According to the board’s statement, “The district shall revise its social studies core curriculum to increase its coverage of MexicanAmerican history and culture, including a balanced presentation of diverse viewpoints on controversial issues. The end result shall be a single common social studies core sequence through which all high school students are exposed to diverse viewpoints.” Inventing “balance” isn’t history. Manufacturing “diverse” viewpoints when there are none isn’t history. Manipulating the narratives of controversial facts, simply because they’re controversial, isn’t history. All these things? They’re something else, but they’re not grounded in history. Slavery, The Trail of Tears, the Civil War, the Holocaust, World War II, Jim Crow, lynchings, and more – all are part of U.S. history. And among them are horrid events. But they happened. I pity Arizona high school students who won’t learn authentic history in class. The Arizona educators and other leaders, who believe they’re scoring political points, would do better to put aside their dread, shame and embarrassment and allow real educators to retell the facts, and not recast them. OM
About the Author: Deidra Jackson is an Instructor of Journalism at the University of Mississippi Meek School of Journalism and New Media, a newspaper columnist and the mother of a 13-year-old son. This column originally ran in The Oxford Eagle on Jan. 19, 2012.
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How â€œThe Helpâ€?
helped Mississippi embrace its history By Brinda Fuller Willis
ith “The Help,” the movie industry has turned a slice of Mississippi’s less-thanglorious past into a social, economic and historical grand slam. The movie, based on the best-selling book by Jackson native Kathryn Stockett and filmed almost entirely in Greenwood, embraces our history with an impact that registers in almost every facet of life in Mississippi, a state that constantly struggles with its painfully segregated past while attempting to keep pace with an ever changing world. “The Help” shed light on an intimate part of our history that has long been ingrained and intertwined in our social and economic fabric, running from slavery through emancipation to the Civil Rights Movement to the present day – so much so that industrial projects and entities were created to enable that fabric to be stretched into areas such
as public transportation in Jackson. In 1930s and 1940s, with the development of public transit, bus routes such #10 and #11 were designed and structured to help take Negro maids to and from work in the homes of prominent white families in the Belhaven and Eastover communities. Excel Butler, a current driver with Jatran, was among the first African-American drivers to be hired to drive the maids to work. According to archival records, the public transit system was called Jackson City Lines in 1942 and no black drivers were employed until the 1960s. Although routes #10 and #11 no longer exist – they were eliminated last year because of low ridership – Mississippi and other states still use minorities and people of color as domestic help, including illegal immigrants and undocumented workers.
At the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, Mississippi’s African-American females in the South who worked outside of the home were employed as domestics; in the North, their counterparts were factory workers and domestics. At the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, Mississippi’s African-American females in the South who worked outside of the home were employed as domestics; in the North, their counterparts were factory workers and domestics. Often these women had little or no formal education because they came from rural farm families who had moved to emerging cities such as Jackson in order to escape laborintensive work as sharecroppers. Without education or clerical skills, and because Jim Crow laws denied them the opportunity to work in other places, black women were viewed as fit only to care for children and work in the homes of whites in Southern towns. Among the African-American domestics of that era was Lillie Daisy Perteet, known as “Baby Sister,” who worked in the homes of whites from 1950s to 1993. “Me and my sister, Emma Mae, both worked for white people all of our lives,” she said. “I started when I was about 13 years old and ended up working for them in total about 28 or 29 years. I had a stroke in 1993 so that was when I quit working. I worked for about three families in total. I started work about 7 in the morning and usually got through about 1 o’clock in the afternoon.
“They didn’t let me work more than that, I guess, because they didn’t want to have to pay me for a full day’s work. I washed, ironed, cleaned the house, picked vegetables out of their gardens and then cooked lunch for them but it was enough for supper, too. They would pick me up and bring me back home but there was one family who owned a store in McAdams where I had to walk home four or five miles on Saturdays because they were all too busy working in the store. “The pay was nowhere near enough for the amount of work I had to do but I raised four children of my own and sent three of mine to college. All the families I worked for treated me nice but, you know … I kept to myself and so did they inside the house. I knew what I was there to do and so we just kept our distance while I was there. There was one lady I worked for who got jealous of how attached her child became to me. That white lady soon let me go because she thought it wasn’t right that her child was that attached to me. That baby would cry because he always wanted to ride in the back seat with me when it was time for them to take me home.” “Baby Sister” came from a proud family near McAdams. She and her sister both graduated from a predominantly black high school but decided they could not afford college and didn’t want to go north. So they took the only jobs available at the time as domestics, working for white families that they had grown up around as children. As much as “The Help” brought light to a part of Mississippi’s past, it also provided a boost to the present and future, especially the economy in the areas where filming took place.
Greenwood continues to enjoy an influx of tourists who want to see firsthand what was portrayed in the movie. Several of the exterior and interior shots came from private homes that are now a part of a driving tour. Tallahatchie Flats, an extended stay group of refurbished sharecropper shacks just outside Greenwood, was the favorite lodging place for many of the industry personnel during the filming. The townspeople, she says, embraced the cast and crew as they patronized their businesses, often referring to the guests as “citizens of the community.” In return, she adds, “The people here were privileged to have Greenwood chosen as the site to make such a profound impact in illuminating the history of Mississippi that until now had not been explored by Hollywood.” OM
Greenwood became Little Hollywood, with 95 percent of the film shot there; a few scenes were filmed in Jackson at such famous sites as Brent’s Drugstore and the Mayflower Café. Paige Hunt, executive director of the Greenwood Convention and Visitors Bureau, says “The Help” infused about $13 million dollars into the city of Greenwood during the 56 days of shooting. During that time, Greenwood became Little Hollywood, with 95 percent of the film shot there; a few scenes were filmed in Jackson at such famous sites as Brent’s Drugstore and the Mayflower Café.
Joined At the Hip
SAI Opening Ceremony: Dr. Toyoda, hALEY BARBOUR, TONI COOLEY, AND PHIL BRYANT
how joint venture acumen put a Mississippi company on Toyotaâ€™s radar By Brinda Fuller Willis
“I set out to figure a way to show up on Toyota’s radar. Thus, the joint venture.”
ystems Automotive Interiors President and CEO Toni Cooley clearly understands the hip hop adage “Get in where you fit in,” using it to gain visibility on Toyota’s radar via a tried and true business practice – the joint venture. Cooley, who developed her skills under the watchful eye of her father and esteemed Mississippi business entrepreneur Bill Cooley, formed a new management team known as SAI from the Systems Group companies, among which are Systems Consultants Associates Inc., Systems Electro Coating LLC and Systems IT Inc. Systems Automotive Interiors, based in the Itawamba County town of Mantachie, is now a Tier One Toyota Supplier that produces front and rear passenger seats for the Toyota Corolla. SAI started production in October 2011. The effort began when Toni Cooley, motivated to bring the put together a team that exemplified Mississippi’s best and brightest, decided to search from within the Systems Group companies to form the new management team, one that would be ideally suited to make others in the automo-
tive industry take notice. The SAI Management Team includes Joshua Ashaka, chief financial officer; Shafter J. Briscoe Jr., plant manager; Melissa Drennan, corporate HR manager; and Mike McGuffie, chief operating officer. Briscoe and Ashaka are HBCU graduates (Jackson State University and Southern University). McGuffie and Drennan attended Mississippi State University. Knowing that she didn’t have the name recognition of a big company, Cooley said, “I set out to figure a way to show up on Toyota’s radar. Thus, the joint venture. I evaluated Systems Automotive Interiors’ skills, abilities, knowledge and track record, being satisfied that we had what it takes to do the work because Systems Electro Coating had been a supplier of electro-coated frames and other metal automotive parts for Nissan in Canton, Miss., for 10 years.” But this would be the first time that she proposed to lead her own company into the manufacturing of interior car seats. “Immediately, I knew that I had to leverage my experi-
SAI Opening Ceremony Banner and Dais Presenters
SAI Management Team
ence with someone who had the name recognition and expertise that I was lacking in the manufacturing of interior seats,” she says. “Because of the SEC Performance Team Members efforts with Nissan, as a management team, we were able to demonstrate to Toyota that we had the depth of experience that would prove helpful when Toyota was seeking to grow local suppliers.” After vetting others, she says, Toyota settled on SAI and introduced her group to Toyota Boshoku, a manufacturer of seats and other automotive interior component parts. Toyota Boshoku the selected SAI as its strategic partner, creating a joint venture that allowed the new company to have a greater impact that it would have had as a standalone entity.
Cooley also says the affiliation with Nissan “made us more attractive as a supplier to Toyota and deserves a lot of the credit for us being in the game.” Toyota has a strong commitment to diversity, as does SAI, which uses local vendors for supplies, catering and janitorial services and works with the WIN Job Center and temp services to bring in employees from the surrounding Toyota Blue Springs Plant communities. SAI is located about 10 miles east of Tupelo. Says Cooley: “SAI has been embraced by the Itawamba Community College family and President Dr. David Cole, offering us the use of the facilities and services to help us keep the community apprised of our progress and efforts to keep the citizenry of the surrounding counties informed.” OM
recent mmba business forum in jackson
membership has its privileges By Brinda Fuller Willis
t the heart of Mississippi’s economy is the small and midsize business owner and that is where the Mississippi Minority Business Alliance, Inc. (MMBA) focuses its attention, because these are the employers of the present and future. The mission of the Mississippi Minority Business Alliance is to expand and create business opportunities for minority businesses throughout the state. It was created to thrust minority businesses into the mainstream business environment in Mississippi with a common goal to provide greater customer satisfaction to enhance market share, profitability and growth. MMBA membership privileges include: • State and local advocacy for minority-owned business concerns and issues • Member-to-member interaction, information and resource exchange • Coalition building with member businesses, orga-
nizations and agencies • Referral to professional resources • Profile of member business on the MMBA website • Formal success recognition as a minority–owned business entity MMBA seeks members that need direction and ongoing support to get their doors open and to keep their doors open, which grows their businesses and maximizes their collective strength. That creates a climate where relationships can produce joint ventures. Executive Director, Shellie Michael states MMBA has continually moved forward since its inception in 1997 to access a wealth of information and cutting edge technology, training room facilities, workshops, staff development and industry conferences, which allows MMBA members to take advantage of resources that they could not afford individually.
“We are the one stop statewide shop dedicated to the advancement of minority businesses in all arenas and sectors within the statewide business community,” Michael says. “Our board of directors consists of volunteers that represent major banks, corporations, educational institutions and MBEs who provide our members with firsthand knowledge and counseling, not just from the academic world, but are actual employers and or employees that work in fields that provide them with the tangible skills necessary to run a business.” She adds, “MMBA board members are well versed and abreast of the day-to-day operation of businesses and are informed of the long-term strategies required to build a business that will be sustainable.” On February 9, 2012 MMBA installed its newly elected board of directors to guide the organization through 2014. The new MMBA Executive Committee & Officers are: • Jack Thomas, Chairperson • Mae Johnson, Vice-Chairperson • Cyla Clark, Recording Secretary • Erik Lewis, Corresponding Secretary • Jean Lee, Treasurer • Reuben Smith, Parliamentarian Mississippi presently boasts over 250,000 small businesses that facilitate economic opportunities to diverse groups and brings dynamic ideas, innovative products and services to local, state and global marketplaces.
With its simple and straightforward mission to expand business opportunities for minority businesses, MMBA simplifies the process of conducting business in Mississippi through mutually beneficial economic links between minority suppliers and major institutions. MMBA offers: • Training and technical assistance • Online training • Networking opportunities • Service provider and mentoring to businesses housed at the Mississippi-e-Business Innovation Center located in the Jackson State University e-Center complex • Directory to Corporate Contacts • Statewide membership meetings • Innovative strategies for organizational development Annually, MMBA celebrates business owners with the production of an awards gala to spotlight the accomplishments of minority businesses throughout the state. In 2011, MMBA hosted the formal black-tie 11th Annual Award Gala at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Jackson with approximately two hundred minority business owners in attendance. Contact Shellie Michael at (601) 965-0366 and or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information about MMBA membership services. The Mississippi Minority Business Alliance, Inc. (MMBA) is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit. OM
2012-2014 MMBA BOARD OF DIRECTORS Right to Left (Seated) Reuben Smith, Parliamentarian, ITG Consulting, LLC Jean Lee, Treasurer, Mississippi Products, Inc. Mae Johnson, Vice Chairperson, M.L. Johnson & Associates, LLC Cyla Clark, Recording Secretary,
Entergy Corporation Jack Thomas, Chairperson, Jackson Municipal Airport Authority Right to Left (Standing) David Johnson, BankPlus Betty Mallett PLLC, Attorney at Law Shellie Michael, Executive Director DeJonnette Grantham-King, Advanced
Environmental Consultants, Inc. Brian Johnson, Fisher Brown Bottrell Insurance Agency, Inc. Dr. Henry L. Berry, N. MS Center for Higher Educational Advancement, Inc. Not Pictured: Erik Lewis, Corresponding Secretary, Beau Rivage Resort & Casino
Fred Keeton, Caesars Entertainment Joan Branson, Ingalls Shipbuilding Cedrick Hurd, Mississippi Power Company Andrew Jenkins, AJA Management & Technical Services, Inc.
hosts supplier diversity business opportunity forum
n Thursday, November 10th, 2011, diverse suppliers which were comprised of more than 100 minority and women-owned businesses filled the Entergy Echelon Auditorium in Jackson, Mississippi for the Annual Business Opportunity Forum hosted by Entergy’s Supplier Diversity & Development team. The forum allowed diverse suppliers from Entergy Mississippi’s service territory and surrounding areas, to interact with Entergy’s procurement team, Prime contractors, Government agencies and affiliated organizations. Participants were welcomed to the event by Haley Fisackerly, President and CEO of Entergy Mississippi, who detailed the value and importance of the supplier diversity program at Entergy. Al Gahn, Vice President & Chief Supply Officer and Walter Loyd, Director of Supplier Diversity & Development provided attendees with an overview of Entergy’s Supplier Diversity historical background,
from left to right are Entergy Supplier Diversity employees, Cyla Clark Rome and Rivers Frederick talking to representatives from minority owned businesses in MS.
from left to right is prime supplier to Entergy, Cushman & Wakefield employees, Steven Singleton, Sherri Mancil and Stanley Sanders.
from left to right is the Entergy Supplier Diversity staff which includes Donald Altheimer, Sandra Reed, Walter Loyd, Cyla Clark Rome and Rivers Frederick
objectives, programs and the overall mission. Entergy departments hosting information tables at the business forum included HR&A/Professional Services, IT/Telecommunications, Generation Services & Materials, Transmission & Distribution Materials & Services and Nuclear (Materials, Purchasing and Contracts), as well as Entergy’s Prime contractors: Guidant and Cushman & Wakefield. In addition to talking with Entergy’s buyers, participants also had the opportunity to engage in discussion with other minority businesses and with representatives of government agencies and affiliated organizations such as the Mississippi Minority Business Alliance, Arkansas Mississippi Minority Supplier Development Council, Minority Contractors Association of Mississippi, Small Business Administration – MS branch, Mississippi Development Authority, Our Mississippi Magazine and Entergy’s Customer Service Support department. OM
from left to right is Entergy Nuclear Sourcing employees, Cassandra Patterson, Christine Palmer and Julie Graves.
from left to right is Walter Loyd, Shellie Michael (Executive Director of MMBA), Cyla Clark Rome and Rivers Frederick.
jackson convention complex
The Renaissance City By Brinda Fuller Willis
ackson is fast becoming a new melting pot for tourism, business, food, music, history and fun. It’s no wonder that more and more people from around the country are making Jackson their new home and vacation spot. No other city matches the all-in-one deal Jackson makes for singles, families, and seniors. It has the
best weather – practically no snow, lots of sunshine – great food, live theater, living history, fine music, outdoor sports facilities and plenty of libraries that are filled with books about Jacksonians who have changed the world. Just take a ride down I-55. Turn off at any exit you’ll see what’s happening in the capital city:
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Jackson is an open history book for many who have heard about James Meredith, Medgar Evers, Eudora Welty and Richard Wright, and that history is kept alive by Jacksonians who few cities actually grew up with those history makers.
new buildings, businesses, museums, great restaurants, a state park, planetarium, botanical garden and an airfield where small planes still land regularly. Jackson is an open history book for many who have heard about James Meredith, Medgar Evers, Eudora Welty and Richard Wright, and that history is kept alive by Jacksonians who few cities actually grew up with those history makers. You can sit down with James Meredith while he’s reading the newspaper at the new Willie Morris Library, talk to Medgar’s brother, Charles, at radio station WMPR, walk through the Eudora Welty House while smelling her roses near Belhaven College, and stay at the King Edward hotel, where Wright was a bellhop. Mayor Harvey Johnson touts Jackson as “a travel destination for tourists from around the world and a businessfriendly city with new construction in every part of town.”
Jackson is becoming a favorite city for the Travel Channel, having hosted “Man v. Food Nation” in three days of filming at the Chimmneyville Smokehouse, Two Sisters and Hal & Mal’s in November. The Appetite for Jackson Festival premiered in downtown Jackson as a first of its kind in January and will be part of an upcoming episode of The Travel Channel’s new “Appetite For Life” show. More and more filmmakers will soon find Jackson as a prime location. The state Legislature recently provided a 25 percent tax credit for anyone wanting to make movies in Mississippi, and a Mississippi Film Office helps moviemakers bring their films to the big screen. Hinds Community College now offers a film industry curriculum to anyone who wants to learn the movie-making business. According to the Jackson Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, $483 million was injected into the city by an estimated 4.1 million visitors who made Jackson their travel destination
in 2011. Nearly 21,000 citizens now work in hospitality and related industries, making tourism one of Jackson’s major economic catalysts. People from all over the world come to Jackson for such notable events as football games between the state’s historic rivals, and the International Ballet Competition comes to town every four years for two weeks of sheer madness with its Olympic-style contests that makes every Jacksonian want to dance. In the academic arena, Jackson has more colleges and universities per square mile than any city in the state. Jackson is home to two of the nation’s most historic HBCUs – Jackson State University and Tougaloo College – with such graduates as Ann Moody and Walter Payton. The city is also home to the most celebrated teaching hospital – University of Mississippi Medical Center, which is credited with having doctors who performed
the first human lung transplant in 1963 and the first heart transplant a year later. Additionally, the city has the nation’s seventh-ranked law school at Mississippi College, along with Millsaps College and Belhaven College, both of which have produced the some of the top businessmen and women in the world along with top-rated scientists and journalists. Jackson is home to numerous technology schools, such as Virginia College and Antonelli College, that produce whiz kids who are sought after by the nation’s Fortune 500 companies year after year. According to Mayor Johnson, “Business is booming downtown” at the new $65 million Capital City Convention Center, a 300,000-square-foot venue with room for large business events, concerts and trade shows.” It provides the capacity, the mayor says, “to welcome visitors to view the renaissance firsthand.” OM
Jackson is home to two of the nation’s most historic HBCUs – Jackson State University and Tougaloo College – with such graduates as Ann Moody and Walter Payton.
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The Penguin Rises Again By Brinda Fuller Willis
he rebirth of the Penguin Restaurant & Bar provides a new addition to the many amenities around the Jackson State University campus. The grand opening of the Penguin at the corner of Dalton Street and One University Place brings back wonderful memories for most Jacksonians but especially for former Jackson State students. For more than 20 years, they frequented a small hot dog stand that stood as an iconic eating establishment and feeding hole. Back in the day, the Penguin Hotdog could be had for a mere 40 to 95
cents. Students could get the famous hotdog and fries with its special barbecue sauce and be satisfied until they could gather up enough money for the next day’s meaty treat. Former Jackson State University student and Jackson food aficionado John Hardy, along with several other prominent Jackson businessmen, have made a dream come true by opening the all-new Penguin Restaurant & Bar. Hardy, who attended JSU from 1975 to 1978, told a boisterous crowd at the grand opening ceremony on Dec. 2, “I once ate a ‘Penguin Hotdog Special’ almost daily when I
was a starving college student on a violin scholarship many years ago. At the time, my years at Jackson State were the best years of my life until now. I have realized my dream to own a restaurant but never imagined it would be on the campus where I received a quality education.” While at Jackson State, Hardy said, “Dr. Bill Cooley was my professor as I was a business major. I’m still trying to get an “A” from him. I never dreamed he’d be my business partner and confidant. I always had an idea in the back of my head to own a restaurant somewhere in south Jackson but never dreamed it would be to give rise to the resurrection of the Penguin.” Hardy said the restaurant will serve a larger purpose than simply serving food. “ I’ve always wanted to be a part of the revitalization in south Jackson. I’m glad the void will no longer exist. I pledge that I will earn your business every day with quality cuisine, ambience, and service. We are in this together; as President Obama said, “Yes We Can.” I want the Penguin to be a focal point of this community. I knew I had the right idea about this place when I got conformation from Dr. John Peoples that the restaurant should be called the Penguin.”
Mayor Harvey Johnson was among the many wellwishers present for the ribbon-cutting ceremony organized by Dr. Juanita Sims Doty and the International Community Ambassadors Network, whose members served as hostesses for the event. “I appreciate John and his service to this community while at the University Club where he served as general manager, cook and chief bottle washer for several years,” Johnson told the audience. “They don’t come any more dedicated than John Hardy when it comes to hard work.” Reverend C. J. Rhodes of the Mt. Helm Baptist Church invoked a blessing upon the establishment and those who will frequent the Penguin. “Today we can hush the hater. … Lord, give this Penguin wings as eagles.” Several community leaders and fellow investors were on hand for the grand opening. Duane O’Neil of Jackson Chamber of Commerce said, “John Hardy is a larger-thanlife character. I’ve gotten to see the love and conviction he has for his community.” Jonathan Lee, a Penguin investor and owner of Mississippi Products, said, “Once again economic development can happen in this community. We can think of the Pen-
jackson mayor harvey johnson congratulates john hardy, general manager of the penguin restaurant and bar. photo courtesy jay johnson
“I just want to hug John’s neck to thank him for the vision to keep my parents dream alive and bring the Penguin back to prominence in the same neighborhood.” guin as a place away from home. … Thank you, John, for being at the helm of this restaurant and your 36 years of service at the University Club and now to the Jackson State University community.” Fellow investor and Realtor Mike Lewis said, “In order to know your future, you have to know your past if the Penguin is going to be a success. Thus the Penguin is going to be successful and continue to uphold the historic pride of a once prominent eatery in the original neighborhood. ” Sen. John Horn presented John Hardy with a proclamation from the Mississippi State Legislature. Also on hand was Ruth Williams, whose parents, Nellie and Duke Williams, owned the original Penguin when it was at the corner of Lynch Street and Dalton streets. V.A and Aubrey Nelson were the second owners of the Penguin at that location, according to historians.
“John Hardy has the original recipe and I hope you all enjoy the new Penguin,” Ruth Williams told the crowd. “I just want to hug John’s neck to thank him for the vision to keep my parents dream alive and bring the Penguin back to prominence in the same neighborhood.” The Penguin Restaurant & Bar is located at One University Place, Suite 6A. (1100 J. R. Lynch Blvd.) Jackson, Mississippi. For reservations and additional information regarding event planning for special occasions please call 769-251-5222 and visit www.thepenguinms.com. The hours of operation are 11:00 am-11pm Monday through Saturday. John Hardy is the principal owner and working general manager and Lawrence Crockett serves as the assistant manager. Mr. Darrell Harper is the Penguin’s executive chef and Ms. Trlisa Mosley is the sous chef. Local contractor Frank Dixon of Dixon Interiors created the plush interior of the restaurant and architect Jeffery Yentz designed the sleek appearance of the Penguin. OM
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African-American owns boutique hotel on the Gulf Coast By Brinda Fuller Willis
Indulgent and decadent are the words that come to mind when you enter the grounds of The Almanett, the only boutique hotel on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. The Almanett is marketed as the premiere travel destination for people with class as its amenities are matchless. Not many other hotels on the coast; large, small and or in between can compete with
the Almanettâ€™s exquisite offerings with respect to ambience, food, music, privacy, view, and interior appointments. On a very personal tour with Rip Daniels, the owner of the Almanett, he explained that the hotel is the namesake of his mother; Mrs. Almanett Ray Daniels. Being a sentimental guy Rip said, â€œI love my family and felt I wanted to provide a living
testament to that fact so much so, I named each of the rooms after my family members…..Della, Lottie, Melinda, Genevieve, Loretta and my father Sandy, all whom I loved dearly because they were people whose entrepreneurial spirit and diligence were imparted in me. They instilled in me a commitment to become a business owner as they were. I decided to attach these names to the rooms of the Almanett as a constant reminder of their get-it-donekinda attitude, they were truly industrious. I was impressed with the attention to detail and the sensitive appointments that he included in his newest entrepreneurial feat. As I was guided into each room of the property, I felt as though I was in a Key West estate home with the ocean breeze filtering through every window as the cascading light of the color prism leaped out to greet me on every turn and in every nook and cranny of the Almanett. The Almanett is nestled among a grove of large live oak trees just off the main drag. Each embraces a king, queen, or full size bed decorated with high thread count cotton sheets, down comforters, and duvets that are handcrafted
in rich reflective hues of aqua, magenta, red and blue that are, “symbolically associated with the personalities and attitudes of the women in my family” noted Daniels. All of the rooms have bathrooms that rival any five star in-
ternational hotel suite with pristine vanities, exquisite bath products, and luxurious towels that are punctuated with unique monograms. Rooms feature hardwood floors, Juliette balconies, fireplaces, granite countertops, large verandas, ocean views, high-speed internet, Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs. Room service is also available. Additionally, there is an extended stay cottage that is separated from the main facility. The cottage is designed to accommodate guests for a stay positioned for the privacy-conscience with a full kitchen if you want to cook your own meals while enjoying a spacious living room with soft leather sofas, teakwood benches, tables and chairs. Local and domestic artwork, along with accessories, is sprinkled throughout the property lining the walls and on accent tables. According to Daniels, â€œMy love of history and appreciation for art allowed me to choose pieces that date back to my early travels to the Caribbean, West Indies and Africa. I think that color influences oneâ€™s comfort level, therefore, I strategically placed artwork and used colors that I felt would make my guests feel at ease and peaceful enough to have enjoyable and relaxing stays at the Almanett thus, creating a desire to return frequently to recreate their first impression and experience the sense of pleasure that lingered from their very first visit.â€? From a business prospective the Almanett is the only African American owned hospitality property on the Gulf Coast at the present time. The Almanett opened its door in the spring of 2010 with accommodations for individual overnight and extended stays. Additionally, the Almanett is equipped to accommodate family reunions, business meetings and parties of all kinds. It also has a fully accredited restaurant and bar on site utilizing the local fare of farmers and fishermen to create meals that are made with the freshest of ingredients created by Chef Alvin Duplantier. The Almanett also holds a little known secret, a grapefruit tree frequently utilized in dishes that are complimented by the distinctive flavor of citrus. Tucked away on the ground floor of the Almanett is a small intimate music spot where guests are invited to enjoy the best music on the coast. The Almanett is located at 1514 18th Avenue in Gulfport, Mississippi. OM
education “Look at what Mississippi can be if we care enough to work at it.”
Lessons Learned Abroad By Jajuan McNeil
reams aren’t easily attained – they are Look at where our education can go. bought with tremendous amounts of Look at how healthy we can be. time, talent and work. And see how healthy our family relations can be. Service learning aims to teach that, This message goes especially to The Meek School and Belize, in the northeastern coast of Central of Journalism and New Media at the University of America, gave me the opportunity. Mississippi and right to my heart. We must be willThis world is, generally, comprised of groups of ing to advocate for those who cannot advocate for friends that should work together to create a biothemselves. sphere that everyone benefits from. That’s what We have to tell people’s stories, and when the happens when everyone is working toward the time comes for us to help educate and be a part of same goal. the community, we’ve got to do that also. Over the last month or so I have had the chance Mississippi needs it. We need it. to sit in more airplanes, ride more boats and watch A few years ago I was quoted as saying that I more bicycles fly down the streets of San Pedro, never really needed to go abroad. All the work and they all have one thing in common. Each part that I need is waiting for me in the inner cities and works to completion to benefit the action they are slums of America. trying to complete. I take that back. No Tropic Air flight ever takes off with one quarLeaving America taught me many things. The relsome wing. most important thing has been to man up. Seeing No water taxi ever sets out to the deep with one families torn apart by the absence of one person working motor. in the household devastated my days and tore my No bicycle ever left Joe’s rental without two tires. insides apart. That would be ludicrous. The main idea of the I’m taking a stand and saying that won’t and machines is to help in the completion of one action can’t be my contribution to society. Entire genera– to get the cargo from Point A to Point B. tions of kids are losing out on life and fighting for Service learning is the vector. Belize is the means the wrong things because they would like to have of propulsion. Mississippi is where the fruition of the love of a father figure. action must take place. Man, that hurts. Over the last few weeks, we as journalists, and I don’t know when or if I will make it back to San others as social workers, exercise scientists and Pedro. educators have participated in service learning in I don’t know if Punta Gorda will summon me one way or another. again. We realized our purpose in being in Belize the What I do know is that Oxford and Mississippi first day in San Mateo; now we must use the skills as a whole will derive some benefit from me being we learned in caring for those folks to positively here. OM affect our families and our nation. The moral of the story shouldn’t begin, “Oh, look at poor Belize,” but the moral of About the Author: the story should originate with Jajuan McNeil of, Oxford, is a graduate student at the University of Mississippi Meek “Look at what Mississippi can School of Journalism and New Media. be if we care enough to work at it.”
Lift Every Voice and Sing: a platform for education
ift Every Voice and Sing, the Black National calls for hearts full of the faith that the dark past has Anthem, is a song with lyrics written by taught us beckoning change facing the rising of the James Weldon Johnson, an attorney, a sun of a new day begun. Let us march on till victory is poet, a novelist, and an educator. It was won. It is a call for achievement; it fosters decision set to music by his brother, John Rosamond Johnmaking; it guides actions; it opens doors; it gives son in 1900. Lift Every Voice and Sing predates the the will for contributing the utmost to master one’s civil rights movement. Nonetheless, the anthem own destiny. Thus, President Barack Obama’s embodies the movement’s campaign to end and to educational initiative ignites a campaign to furobliterate injustice, prejudice, racial discrimination, ther highlight the significance of education for all and segregation that were the impetus for social throughout America. “A world-class education is unrest. The anthem reflects the struggles of the the single most important factor in determining not early years; struggles, which have laid the foundajust whether our kids can compete for the best jobs tion for many of the opportunities that are taken but whether America can out-compete countries for granted in today’s society. Yet, as a nation, we around the world.” (Obama, Education Roundtacannot afford to dismiss the resounding and magble, Staying Competitive through Education, 2011) nanimous contributions of our forefathers and past At this present juncture in society, educational generations. pursuit and educational liberty must be accepted With such incredible fortitude, many of these not only as relevant to one’s own personal livelicontributions came through colossal sacrifices, hood, but also educational pursuit and educational which included the loss of many lives so that future liberty must be viewed as demonstrable evidence generations might benefit from true “Life, Liberty that has significance. It is necessary to achieve a and the pursuit of Happiness.” (The Declaration of better life, a better society, and a better global econIndependence, IN CONGRESS, 1776) In the puromy. Thus, society cannot afford to function on suit of justice for all mankind, such contributions the premise that education has lost its relevance as are today significant historical events. Accordingly, being the strongest form of cultural capital, which these specific contributions continue to stir the bears credence for educational attainment. Failing emotions of today’s society as America elected its to recognize the significance of education as a comfirst black commander in chief, President Barack modity to successfully compete in today’s global Obama as the 44th President of the United States on economy opens the door for one’s own peril. OM November 4, 2008. As a poignant call About the Author: for solidarity and unity, Regina Eichelberger Boyd, Ph.D., NBCT is an educational consultant and Lift Every Voice and Sing has consulted on local, state, and national levels. She is a National exudes inspiration and Board Certified Teacher and has served as a National Board for Profeshope as an educational sional Teaching Standards State Liaison for the state of Mississippi. platform. The anthem
photos courtesy mississippi state university
courageous athlete helped pave way for integration By paul jones
suring his years at Tupelo High School and later at Mississippi State University, Frank Dowsing was often the most talented athlete on the gridiron, court or track. He set records, led his teams to championships and earned all-conference honors. But Dowsing, who died almost 18 years ago, is often remembered more for his accomplishments off the field during a tumultuous time in Mississippi’s history. In the fall of 1967, Dowsing was one of six students to transfer from the all-black George Carver High School and enroll at Tupelo High. At the time, Mississippi had a “freedom of choice” period in which parents could enroll their children in any public school. And Dowsing was one of those courageous people in the early days of school integration. “Frank was graceful, smart and tremendously athletic,” said Tupelo Mayor Jack Reed Jr., one of Dowsing’s former high school teammates and among his closest friends. “He was exactly the right person at the right time to lead the integration of the Tupelo schools. He did more than any single person in the city of Tupelo to make that transition peaceful. “I know how much people love sports and sports were always a great equalizer when it came to integration. But Frank was not just talented. He was also very well-liked and a great friend. He was also sixth academically in a class of 218 students and graduated with distinct academic honors, too.” Another one of Dowsing’s teammates at Tupelo High School echoed Reed’s thoughts. “All of us loved Frank and he was just a good friend,” said George Worthern. “He was a great student and a great
athlete and we all got along great. His personality probably had as much to do with the smooth transition with integration as anybody in the city of Tupelo. “Back then me and Frank and Jack would room together on road trips in sports. Frank was always friendly, funny and would go out of his way to do anything for you. He was just a likeable person. Once you were around him, it didn’t take long for you to become friends with him.” Dowsing stood out in three sports at Tupelo – football, basketball and track. His football prowess led him to a college career. In basketball, as a 5-11 center, he led Tupelo to a Big 8 state title. In track, he set records in
the 220 meters and other events. During his first days of playing football at Tupelo, recalled Worthern, it didn’t take Dowsing long to make an impression on the field. “I remember me, Frank and Jack were all on the B team at first, that first week Frank came out for football,” said Worthern. “Well, on the way to our first game, the coaches wanted us to catch Frank up and teach him all the plays while we were traveling on the bus. “Well, they put Frank in and that first play called was an off-tackle running play for Frank. He went around the end and scored a touchdown the first time he touched the ball. Of course, he didn’t play on the B team after that game.” His personality and athletic talents had the same impact at the college level. Dowsing played for the Bulldogs from 1970 to 1972. He led the team in punt return yardage two straight years and in kickoff return yardage for one year. Playing defensive back, Dowsing led MSU in interceptions in his first season and earned All-SEC honors in 1971 and 1972.
“I know how much people love sports and sports were always a great equalizer when it came to integration. But Frank was not just talented. He was also very well-liked and a great friend. He was also sixth academically in a class of 218 students and graduated with distinct academic honors, too.”
“Frank ended up doing the same thing at Mississippi State as he did at Tupelo,” said Reed. “I believe him and Robert Bell of Meridian were the first black athletes at Mississippi State. Frank was voted Mr. Bulldog by the time he graduated and was an All-SEC defensive back. “Instead of helping to integrate high school gyms in Mississippi, he helped to do that in football stadiums around the South like at Alabama, Auburn, Florida and LSU. He was really the Jackie Robinson of athletics in Mississippi.” Like Robinson, Dowsing succeeded despite racial harassment along the way. “One of our friends was Bill Beasley and he told me a story about a track meet they had,” said Reed. “They were on the road and the night before the track meet a few local rednecks found their hotel. They threw some things at the door of the room where Frank and others were staying that night. They threatened Frank and told him it would be best if he didn’t show up for the track meet. “Well, Frank never said a word about it or even mentioned it. But Bill said what he did do was go out that next day and got first place in every individual event he did and then anchored two relay events that won first place.” In smaller quarters, such as high school gyms, the prejudice was more apparent. “You heard more of the comments in gyms because those comments could be heard better than on a football field,” said Reed. “Another story one of our coaches told me at our recent reunion happened in a state championship game in Jackson. A man was sitting on the front row and he kept calling Frank by the name of ‘Leroy,’ which was a slur back in those days. “Every time Frank touched the ball in drills and in the game, that guy would just keep saying ‘Leroy.’ Well, Frank went over to where that guy was sitting and said, ‘How did you know my name was Leroy?’ That guy was taken aback by that and by the middle of the game, that same guy was
applauding for Frank because of how he was playing in the game.” As with his athletic performances, Dowsing was smooth when faced with the attempts at racial intimidation. “He never showed any signs of being under pressure,” said Worthern. “At school there wasn’t much negativity toward Frank but he did hear it from opposing fans in basketball. But it never bothered him and he just had a way of talking to people. Once they saw his hard work, it had a way of winning them over.” Dowsing, said Reed, never considered himself a hero of race relations. “It was a miracle as far as how well he handled it all,” said Reed. “It was almost like he had a super-human grace about him. He didn’t want to be viewed in the public eye as a pioneer or as a guy trying to make a statement. He just wanted to be one of the regular guys, a regular high school student, a regular college student and a football player.” Dowsing, who died in July 1994, was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2010. It’s an honor that many of his contemporaries thought was long overdue not just because of his abilities, but because of what he represented. “He wasn’t the tallest in basketball but he out-jumped everyone and was the first one I played with that could dunk the ball,” said Worthern. “Then in track he may not have been the fastest but he was so coachable. Once he learned all the techniques of track, he was always first in the track meets. “He had a lot of natural ability but he was very coachable and that helped him to excel even more. He was just a great friend, a great athlete and a great guy. We should all hope to leave the impact that Frank did.” OM
education rick ray
MSU hires African-American coach
photos courtesy mississippi state university
to lead basketball program
By paul jones
ick Ray didn’t grow up with dreams of roaming the sidelines as a head coach in the basketball world. In fact, after his his playing career at Grand View College in Iowa, he wanted to teach. But that started to change after receiving some encouragement from his college coach, Nick Nurse. “He suggested that I go and do some high school coaching while I was doing my teaching,” Ray said. “Then he suggested I go be a graduate assistant at Nebraska-Omaha.”
And from there, Ray began to find his calling in life, one that has led him to Starkville as head coach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Nurse told him that “at the very worst you come back with your master’s degree, get paid at a higher level with high school teaching,” Ray added. “But once I got there, I really loved it and enjoyed it and said I might as well try it and see what happens. I was lucky enough to get on with Indiana State, and from that point on I’ve never looked back.
“I don’t know if I caught the coaching bug or something like that. But it was something I enjoyed and I still wanted to be around kids and compete. And my way to still compete was in coaching because I wasn’t good enough to play at the highest level.” Before taking over the Bulldogs’ program in early April, Ray spent the previous two years as Clemson’s associate head coach. He was also an assistant on the staffs at Purdue and Indiana State. Throughout his time as an assistant coach, Ray had the opportunity to prepare for his initial head coaching job. For that, he credits his former mentors. “Fortunately, I worked for guys who sought input,” said Ray. “So I didn’t only think those things but I was able to voice my opinions. Now ultimately, that head coach decided whether he wanted to go with my opinion or knock it down. But as you go through this business, if you don’t have original thoughts on how you want to do things as a head coach, then you are probably not progressing as a coach. “So yeah, I had those thoughts and now we get to see if they come to fruition and mean anything now.” Ray’s task at Mississippi State will not be an easy one. He takes over a program that has fallen short of expectations on the court and seen plenty of problems off the court. But during the search process, which included a meeting with school President Mark Keenum, MSU Athletics Director Scott Stricklin had a good feeling about Ray just minutes into their initial conversation. “When you sit down with somebody, usually about 15 minutes in, could I see this guy as our basketball coach? Rick was a guy that early in the conversation I could envision him as our coach. It’s unusual, we had three face-toface meetings. I just wanted to make sure I’m certain. And the last one with Dr. Keenum was in on, I wanted to get his perspective, to see if he saw what I saw.” And what both Stricklin and Keenum both saw was a man who could instill some missing ingredients into the Bulldogs’ basketball program. “He talked about recruiting the right kind of person,” Stricklin said. “And I think we’ve got the right kind of people coming back next year that fit what he wants to do from a character standpoint, from a work ethic standpoint. It’s not just recruiting talent; it’s recruiting the right kind
of people that are going to fit. And he is going to play a hard-nosed style, so you’re going to have to recruit those people.” Not long after Ray became the Bulldogs’ 19th head coach in school history, his first order of business was to complete his coaching staff with hires whose mindsets matched his. Ray’s first move was to retain George Brooks from the previous staff, giving the new head coach someone knowledgeable about in-state recruiting. “The biggest thing is those guys bring work ethic and integrity,” said Ray. “Those were the two key components I was looking for. With Coach Brooks, I wanted someone who knew the map of Mississippi and to have someone to tell me where to go and who to see and who to call. I think George is really tied in well to the state of Mississippi. He’s been tied to the state of Mississippi for so long and obviously he has done a good job in Alabama, too. So that was important to me.” Ray completed the staff with the hiring of assistant coaches Wes Flanigan and Chris Hollender. Flanigan’s name is a familiar one in SEC country because of his playing days at Auburn, and he last coached at Nebraska. With Hollender, Ray found a coach who knows the motion offense and on-the-court coaching strengths. Similar to how he was treated as an assistant and relied on for his input, Ray will ask the same of his assistants now. In early April, said Ray, “We had a long staff meeting for the first time and then before that we had a team meeting. We just talked about what I want from them and what our duties are and what our specific needs are in recruiting, just making sure everyone is on the same page on what I want and what we want. “I am going to take a great deal of input from my assistants. I don’t want a ‘yes’ man. I want guys that will voice their opinions. I am happy about it and these guys are ready to get going and we got to make sure we make the right decisions going forward.” The next step is building back a competitive roster for the coming years. But as Ray points out, he would rather enter a program that is familiar with winning than taking over one in despair. “There are obviously two kinds of situations you can enter,” said Ray. “I know Mississippi State fans have expec-
Ray’s task at Mississippi State will not be an easy one. He takes over a program that has fallen short of expectations on the court and seen plenty of problems off the court.
tations and they are used to winning. That can make it tougher at times. With a program that’s been downtrodden for so long, if you have a little bit of success then fans are happy with that and content.” The keys, he said, the types of players and how they perform. “At the end of the day we have to rely on some toughness,” said Ray. “We got to make sure we bring in some character guys and establish some toughness on this team. In college basketball, if you have guys with toughness and are smart and work hard, you always got a chance to win. Obviously we wish we had more talent on the team. But I know we are going to develop this talent and go out and get some more talent.” With the addition of new Bulldogs in the fall, Ray and his staff will begin laying down the foundation of a new era in MSU basketball. “To me the most important thing to me in this first year is I want to put together a true team,” said Ray. “I want guys on the court that care about winning and care about each other and care about doing things the right way both on and off the court. I want to establish a culture and an identity. “Then from that point on we can worry about how many wins and conference titles and things like that. What you have to do is build the little things first. Once you have those little things you can actually build towards a championshipcaliber team. If you don’t have those little things established from the very beginning then you will never get to that championship-caliber level because you will lack that toughness that you need.” Despite the challenges in Ray’s basketball future, he knows he also has another important role, this one off the court. He is the father of two children, including a 15-month old son. “It gives you balance,” said Ray. “It is the most important thing.” “I have a young son now and sometimes when I come home upset … that dude comes in laughing and giggling and wants a hug. He wipes all that other stuff away be-
cause he just wants to be with you.” And helping him navigate the dual roles is his wife, Breyana, who ran track at Penn State. “So she gets it and understands it and knows how to deal with the situation with coaching,” he said. “Then I try to go see my daughter, who is a freshman at the University of Iowa, as much as possible. “But it’s hard. This job is demanding and not just for your time but also your energy and your mind.” What wasn’t an issue for Ray was his race. His hiring was based on credentials, not the color of his skin. “Well, the biggest thing is Mississippi State showed they had the courage to hire the first African-American head coach in football in the SEC with Sylvester Croom,” said Ray. “And now they have the first African-American head coach in basketball in school history, and it shows we are a progressive university.” OM
Dr. Stephen Middleton
Four years and growing MSUâ€™s African American Studies program attracts more students and steady footing By SLIM SMITH
(1st Row) Left to Right: Linda Miller, Administrative Assistant; Aaron Rollins, Graduate Teaching Assistant; Jeanice Louine, Graduate Teaching Assistant (2nd Row) Left to Right: Jason Ward, History Professor; Donald Shaffer, African American Studies and English Professor; Michael Willians, African American Studies and History Professor; Stephen Middleton, Director African American Studies, Professor of History (3rd Row) Left to Right: K. C. Morrison, Professor and Head, Political Science and Public Administration/Senior Fellow, African American Studies; Kweku Ainuson, Professor, African American Studies and Political Science; Matthew Hughey, Professor, Sociology
farmer wouldn’t scatter his seed one day, then return to the field the next day and wonder why the corn isn’t as high as an elephant’s eye. So it is with the African American Studies program at Mississippi State. This spring, six MSU students will graduate with a minor in African American Studies, a number that might sound small but delights program founder Dr. Stephen Middleton. “It’s the highest number we’ve had so far,’’ he says. MSU’s African American Studies program, the first in the state, is approaching the end of its fourth year. And while the “crop’’ might seem modest, Middleton says those half-
dozen students represent the leading edge of a department that is growing steadily. “It’s been a very interesting process,’’ says Middleton, who taught at North Carolina State for 18 years before being lured away by then-MSU President Robert “Doc” Foglesong to create the African American Studies program. “President Foglesong came from a military background,’’ says Middleton, who officially began at MSU on July 1, 2007. “He had been in the Air Force for more than 30 years and, as you know, the military is one of the most diverse bodies in America. When he came to Mississippi State and there was no African-American studies program in a state
Today, the African American Studies program features 10 courses, including history, literature and psychology.
that has a large percentage of black people and a state that has a historic past when it comes to civil rights, I think he really saw it as an opportunity. He encouraged the faculty to establish an African American Studies program.’’ In many respects, Middleton was an ideal candidate. Not only was he a noted scholar in African-American studies, he could draw from his own experiences growing up near Charleston, S.C. “I was from that sharecropper era,’’ he says. “I was picking cotton when I was 6, plowing behind a mule when I was 14. I went to a segregated school.’’ Under most circumstances, leaving North Carolina State would have been difficult for Middleton, who was a professor of history. “I had a great job at North Carolina State. I had worked my way through the ranks for 18 years and they tried hard to keep me there,’’ Middleton said. “But when President Foglesong called, I realized what a rare opportunity it was – a chance to help Mississippi State establish something that did not exist.’’ The African American Studies program began offering courses in 2008. “At first, it was just me,’’ Middleton recalls. “We had no staff, no office space. At first, we were able to identify some courses that were already being offered in other departments – courses in history and literature – and make them a part of our program. It was the start.’’ Today, the African American Studies program features 10 courses, including history, literature and psychology. The program recently hired a social psychologist. In addition, an adjunct professor teaches a course in African Americans and the law. The program now has five teaching positions, including Middleton’s, that are exclusively assigned to the A.A.S., plus two adjunct professors and three affiliated faculty. In addition, the program’s graduate-degree focus allows for graduate students in other disciplines to teach courses. In return, those students are qualified to teach in their fields of expertise but also in African American fields. To earn a minor at MSU, a student must complete 18 hours in the program. Middleton says the ultimate goal is to offer A.A.S. as a major. The steady growth of the program is not something that
Middleton takes for granted. In fact, not long after he arrived at MSU a crisis emerged that could have ended the program in its infancy. “Six months after I got here, President Foglesong was gone,’’ says Middleton. “In fact, that first year, the university president, our dean and our provost were all gone. Naturally, that creates some concern.’’ But while the faces changed, the support for the program did not. “I can say, without reservation, that we’ve had wonderful support from our administration,’’ Middleton says. “We have a budget, staff, the things we need. Our administration has been nothing but supportive.’’ He did encounter one unusual hurdle. “It’s a unique situation in the sense that the idea for the program did not germinate among the student population,’’ Middleton says. “So all of the sudden there is a program that students didn’t even know existed. They had to catch up.’’ Today, MSU offers three Introduction to African American Studies courses each semester, and they are all filled. But the focus of the program is not only on students, Middleton says. “Mississippi State is a unique opportunity for us,’’ he says. We are a land grant university and, by definition, the people’s university. So one of the things we are trying to do with our program is to reach out to our state and community, especially the African American community. “The white community is aware that this is their university, but I think maybe some of the African Americans here, especially the older ones, might still think of this as the big white school in the state. We are reaching out to the African American community and we are encouraged by what we are seeing in that area.’’ In addition to building the program along conventional lines – adding courses, offering a major and expanding its popular scholar-in-resident program – Middleton wants to ensure that what is being taught and learned can help the larger community as well. “”We want people to benefit from the production of knowledge in our program,’’ he says. “That’s why we do research. It’s a part of our land grant mission: We want to extend our research beyond the walls of our university.’’ OM
Kids and Alcohol Anheuser-Busch Family Talk About Drinking program Q&A with Parent Coach, MJ Corcoran
o matter how old they are, you have the power to influence their decisions. And you can start right now. “Kids do listen to their parents,” explains MJ Corcoran, a certified parent coach. “The problem is, as they get older, they’re listening for different things. What worked when they were seven won’t work when they’re 17.” Corcoran is the Director of Parent Education for the Ladue School District in St. Louis, Mo. and a
spokesperson for the Anheuser-Busch Family Talk About Drinking program. She has more than 25 years of experience working with children and families in the St. Louis area. Our parents asked MJ some interesting questions, which she answers while explaining the “stages” of parenting and how understanding what to say—and when—can be the key to preventing underage drinking.
What is Family Talk About Drinking and how did you get involved? MJ Corcoran: Family Talk is an underage drinking prevention program that Anheuser-Busch started more than 20 years ago. They contacted me because they really wanted to expand the program and make it something that would be relevant to all parents, no matter how old their kids are. I thought that was a great approach and suggested that their materials should also show how parenting changes as kids grow up. I was excited because I saw they were very sincere in their desire to make a difference. The employees all said: “We’re parents, too. We’re proud that our company is committed to this.” You’re a parent coach. What does that mean? MJC: It means I have one of the best jobs in the world: I get to help strengthen the relationships between parents and children.
TEACHER – For ages 1-7 Explain parenting stages. What are they, and how do they relate to underage drinking? MJC: The concept of parenting stages is about adjusting parenting styles to match kids’ developmental needs. For instance, in the teaching stage, kids can’t really process abstract ideas. So, it doesn’t make any sense to tell them what could go wrong if they drink. We just say: “Alcohol is for adults only.” But as they get older and their brains develop, they start to notice inconsistencies. They may see teenagers drinking and they think, “Hey, what’s that about? I thought you said only grown-ups drink.” That’s when you’d want to transition into value statements like, “In OUR family, we don’t drink until we’re 21.” Your parenting approach to alcohol may need to change to accommodate your child’s new and more powerful brain. Describe the teaching stage. MJC: In this stage, you’re mostly providing expertise. You want to become their number one, go-to person for any questions about alcohol. Beyond that, it’s about setting clear boundaries (“It’s wrong to drink alcohol before you’re 21.”); checking for understanding (“How old do you have to be to drink alcohol?”) and being consistent. Why is consistency important? MJC: At this stage of parenting, you have tremendous power because what you say has as much weight as what they experience. You’re creating their world for them. If you’re inconsistent about alcohol, they’ll walk away thinking that this whole underage drinking thing is kind of a gray area, and that’s not what you want at all. When young kids hear the rules, they have to know you really mean them and you really believe in them.
You’re setting a foundation. MJC: That’s exactly right. You’re building trust. If your child believes that he or she can go to you with questions about alcohol—even tough questions—and get honest answers, you form a connection over the issue. If you can do this early on, your child is more likely to share drinking-related information with you as he or she grows up.
FACILITATOR – For ages 8-13 What changes when kids get to be 8 or 9? MJC: They start to test boundaries and they begin to develop a really acute sense of fairness. If you have children this age, I’m sure you’ve heard them say things like: “How come you say we can’t eat food in the living room, but Dad does it?” or “Why do you make me go to bed at 8:30, but Tommy’s parents let him stay up until 10?” Things like that. How should parents respond? MJC: The first thing is just to realize that it’s all a normal part of growing up. As a parent, it might feel like you’re losing your influence, but you’re not. It’s just taken on a new form. Your job now is to keep the communication channel open and to help them analyze all these complexities and inconsistencies. You’re helping them understand new experiences and friendships, including negative influences regarding alcohol. You’re replacing hard-and-fast rules like “Kids don’t drink” with clear statements of your family values, such as: “In our family, we don’t drink until we’re 21 because it’s against the law.” So, what you’re saying is that parents have to be willing to relinquish some control. MJC: Absolutely. It’s about letting go, but letting go with a purpose. Kids are navigating a whole new world of experiences and influences, and you want to make sure they’re handling it correctly, by integrating your values into their decisions. You’re kind of like their co-pilot: they get to fly the plane a little bit, but you’re there in case anything goes wrong. That’s pretty hard for most parents, isn’t it? MJC: Yes, it’s very hard. It’s almost the exact opposite of what we want to do, which is to hug them tighter and protect them from the world. Speaking of opposite approaches, what about the old “my way or the highway” tactic? MJC: First of all, it doesn’t work very well. If we keep setting stricter limits with even bigger consequences, we tend to cut off communication with our kids at the worst possible time, just as their peers are becoming a really alluring presence in their lives. Threats are very non-supportive and can actually be counterproductive. The other reason to resist that urge is that a certain amount of disagreement from our pre-teens is perfectly normal and healthy.
So, we should encourage our kids to push boundaries? MJC: In a way, yes. As parents, we don’t like to hear our kids tell us “no.” But at the same time, we want them to develop of sense of independence. We want them to think for themselves in high-pressure social situations (for instance, when alcohol is offered to them), so we need to support their independent choices, even when that means they disagree with us. We can look for low-risk situations—like music or clothing preferences—and use them as opportunities to reinforce the importance of making smart, independent choices. It’s also a chance to help them understand how their decisions have consequences, good and bad.
COACH – For ages 14-21 Maybe you can tell us: what’s going on in the head of a teen? MJC: Every kid is different, of course, but as a general rule teenagers have become truly independent thinkers. They’re constantly investigating new ideas and taking in outside thoughts that may be different from what they grew up with. They crave respect, especially from their parents. That may sound funny, but it’s true. The need they have to connect with their parents hasn’t disappeared, it’s just changed. How should parents approach the issue of drinking? MJC: At this stage, which I call the Coaching stage, your influence depends almost entirely upon the strength of the relationship with your child. It’s time to get really curious about their lives and start listening at a deeper level. The way to preserve your influence is to show you take their world seriously and you care about their pressures, their friends, etc. Ask open-ended questions about their opinions about alcohol. Can you give us some examples of open-ended questions? MJC: Most parents are pretty good at asking what I call checklist questions: “Do your friends drink? Will there be alcohol at the party? Have you ever been offered alcohol?” The yes-or-no questions. As we become more coach-like in our conversations, we want to ask questions that honor the independent minds of our kids and cause them to reflect and think about possible scenarios. For example, “What do you think you’d do if your best friend Jacob asked you to drink?” Or, “Can I ask your opinion; why do some teens choose to drink?” You should also let them know very clearly what they can expect from you, like “If your ride home has been drinking, you can call me and I’ll come get you, no matter what time it is.”
What about once they turn 21; your job is basically done, right? MJC: No, not at all. Actually, this is one of the most critical times for parents to exercise their influence. You’re still a parent, even when your child becomes an adult. It’s important to maintain that connection. The way the law works, one day they aren’t legal and the next day they are. A lot of young adults go out on their 21st birthday and make really poor decisions out of inexperience – they don’t know their limits. A big part of the coaching approach is helping your children make a healthy and safe transition into legal-age adults who, if they choose to drink, do so responsibly. Parents should begin by modeling responsible behavior and habits when they drink, such as drinking in moderation, eating when they drink and using a designated driver. Discuss these behaviors with your child and help them continue to make smart choices when they are of legal drinking age. What else can parents do? MJC: First, I’d encourage them to visit the Family Talk About Drinking page on Facebook. There’s a free parent guide they can download that covers parenting stages in depth and offers them a lot of tips and strategies they can start using, right now, to have more meaningful conversations with their kids about alcohol. And I’d encourage them to participate in the Family Talk parent community on our Facebook page. Ask questions, connect with other parents and post their ideas and concerns about underage drinking. I’m amazed by how much it helps parents just to see that they’re not alone. Any parting words for parents? MJC: You have the power! Research* shows that parents can significantly influence their children’s decisions regarding alcohol, and that’s what makes programs like Family Talk powerful resources. In fact, 68 percent of children ages 8-17 cite their parents as the No. 1 influence on whether they drink alcohol, a statistic that has been consistent since the survey began a decade ago. Family Talk is just one way to help parents leverage their influence. And it works, it really does. Download the Family Talk About Drinking Parent Guide at www.facebook.com/ABFamilyTalk. om * 2009 GfK Roper Youth Report
About the Author: MJ Corcoran is an educator and parent coach who, in conjunction with an advisory panel of family counselors, child psychologists and alcohol treatment professionals, has revamped and expanded the Anheuser-Busch Family Talk About Drinking program.
Mississippi State University is actively engaged with companies and communities, and working with them to increase their global competitiveness. Mississippi Stateâ€™s central economic development mission is to strengthen collaborations between the university, economic development organizations, and businesses to create high-wage jobs. The scope of work includes assisting existing businesses, recruiting technology-oriented companies, and encouraging spin-off companies from the university. Major research universities are vital for growing the economy, building capacity, and enhancing quality of life. Mississippi State takes this responsibility seriously, and is moving our state forward through outreach, engagement, and support. Mississippi State University is working for Mississippi â€” and we are ready to work with you.
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www.research.msstate.edu Phone: 662-325-3570 Fax: 662-325-8028
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Institute of Golf
events JOE June 23 The famous R&B Singer - performs live! • Date(s): 06/23/2012 - 06/23/2012 • Times: 8pm • Location: IP Casino Resort Spa, 850 Bayview Avenue, Biloxi • Phone: (888) 946-2847 or (228) 436-3000 • Admission: Call for tickets!
New Edition June 30 • Location: Mississippi Coliseum, Jackson, MS • Times: 7:00 PM BRIAN MCKNIGHT August 3 The American singer-songwriter, arranger, producer, and R&B musician - performs live! • Date(s): 08/03/2012 - 08/03/2012 • Times: 8pm • Location: Hard Rock Casino, 777 Beach Blvd, Biloxi • Phone: (877) 877-6256 or (228) 374-7625 • Admission: Call for tickets!
visit us online at ourmississippimag.com
to advertise in Our Mississippi Magazine, call 662.844.2602 •
B.B. KING August 24 Famous American blues guitarist and singer-songwriter - still going strong at almost 82 - performs live! • Date(s): 08/24/2012 - 08/24/2012 • Times: 8pm • Location: Beau Rivage Casino, 875 Beach Blvd, Biloxi • Phone: (888) 566-7469 or (228) 386-7111 • Admission: Call for tickets! FOUR TOPS & THE TEMPTATIONS September 7 Two of Motown’s legendary artists perform live! • Date(s): 09/07/2012 - 09/07/2012 • Times: 8pm • Location: Beau Rivage Casino, 875 Beach Blvd, Biloxi • Phone: (888) 567-6667 or (228) 386-7111 • Admission: Call for tickets!
SMOKEY ROBINSON October 12 American R&B singer-songwriter, record producer, and former record executive performs live! • Date(s): 10/12/2012 - 10/12/2012 • Times: 8pm • Location: IP Casino Resort Spa, 850 Bayview Avenue, Biloxi • Phone: (888) 946-2847 or (228) 436-3000 • Admission: Call for tickets! DARIUS RUCKER October 13 The platinum-selling country solo artist performs live! • Date(s): 10/13/2012 - 10/13/2012 • Times: 8pm • Location: Hard Rock Casino, 777 Beach Blvd, Biloxi • Phone: (877) 877-6256 or (228) 374-7625 • Admission: Call for tickets!
University of Mississippi
2012 black alumni reunion
Mary Reeves, Annie Rice, Tameka Rice, Kawonder Moore
Tonya Y. Collins, Dr. Reginald H. Turner
Sandra Cox-McCarty, Shaquinta Morgan
Kimberly Northcutt, Jamil Northcutt
Jennifer Young, Debra Hairston
Charlotte Dufie, Theresa Johnson
Cathryn Robinson, Sarah Robinson Jones
Morkeena Morgan, Shaquinta Morgan
Wade Fondren, Carnelia Fondren, Ava Jackson
photos courtesy joe worthem
Felicia Harvell, Joe Harvell
Darryl King, Tiara King, Tiffany King
Tracy Jeffries, Greg Sykes
Jeremy and Candies Cook
Eldridge Rose, Charlotte Dailey, Loretha Jones, Dexter Foster
Tashekia Brownlee, Antonio Brown
Richard Noble, Laurie Noble
Latonya Weekly, Lawanda House
James Beard, Cynthia Agnew, Ronnie Agnew
Kassidy Ingram, Yolanda Ingram
Cecil Moore, Ron Earl
Craig and Joyce Weeks
Mississippi’s African Americans
Hardest Struck by HIV Disease
he state’s African American population continues to be the hardest struck by the spread of HIV-AIDS, according to the most recent data released from the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH). In 2010, Mississippi’s African American women were nearly seven times more likely than white women and nearly three times more likely than Hispanic women to be newly diagnosed with HIV. African American men were nearly nine times
more likely than white men and three times more likely than Hispanic men to be newly diagnosed. African American men were four times more likely than white men to be living with the infection. This means that African Americans are more likely to be in a situation where HIV status is unknown or undisclosed, according to Dr. Nicholas Mosca, director of the MSDH Office of STD/HIV. “Those who have sex outside of a long-term mutually monogamous relationship shouldn’t ‘guess’
Those who have sex outside of a long-term mutually monogamous relationship shouldn’t ‘guess’ a partner’s status or rely on their honesty.
a partner’s status or rely on their honesty,” said Mosca. “Casual sex always requires the correct and consistent use of condoms and routine HIV testing after each sexual encounter to determine expose to HIV infection.” MSDH encourages people diagnosed with HIV infection to seek treatment to improve their well-being and quality of life, even if they have no symptoms. The agency offers fast, free and confidential HIV testing at all of its county health departments, and some resources are available to assist infected individuals in getting the
medications that they need. In addition to its own programs, MSDH partners with community-based organizations, some hospital emergency departments, mental health facilities, and alcohol and drug treatment centers to increase access to testing and link those who are HIV positive to care and treatment. For more information about HIV resources in your community, contact the MSDH Office of STD/HIV at 601-5767723, visit www.healthyms.com, or call the AIDS Hotline at 1-800-826-2961. om
stan allen listens to a caller during his morning show
The Voice of Survival– and northeast Mississippi A bout with cancer left Stan Allen with a message of inspiration for his listeners
By james hull
tan Allen is one of radio’s rarities. He looked death squarely in the eye and lived to tell the tale. Now, every opportunity he gets on his daily radio show “Brother to Sister Jam Talk on WESE, FM 92.5” to talk about cancer, beating cancer and the lessons he’s learned from having cancer, he readily takes advantage of it. It’s just
one way he tries to inspire those northeast Mississippians who tune into the show, every Monday through Friday, to listen to Allen and his co-host, C.C. Jackson, cover a multitude of topics. “We talk about everything and anything,” Allen says, now 53, as he sits comfortably in a big chair that occupies the corner of a local coffee house. “Being here in northeast Mississippi, which has
very few talk shows geared toward African-Americans and other minorities, I believe it is our responsibility to cover topics which might otherwise not be covered. In fact, it’s more than a responsibility – it’s a duty. It’s our duty to help people stay informed and educated about the world around them.” But it’s not just Allen who takes his work seriously; his peers in the radio industry also have taken notice, having put his name in nomination –for the third time – for the Jackson Music Awards Radio Announcer of the Year for 2011-2012. “It’s pretty stiff competition,” acknowledges Allen, a Houston, Mississippi native. “I consider it an honor just to be mentioned and thought of by my peers. I’m just gratified that they’ve taken notice of my work, and I hope to win it.” Allen’s work almost didn’t make it to this point. In 2001, when he was diagnosed with brain cancer, he was given discouraging odds for survive. “A 40 percent chance,” he reflects somberly. “I was given a 40 percent chance to live. I admit, I was scared.” It all started when he found himself unable to blow his nose out of the right nostril. At first he thought it was a severe sinus infection, but the malady just wouldn’t clear up. “So they put a scope up my nose,” he says, “and found a growth that was blocking the nasal passage. It was diagnosed as cancer.” And it was malignant. At first, Allen consulted with local specialists until he got a tip from someone in the oncology field. “They told me to go to Vanderbilt University, and I did. I underwent 14 months of treatments, recuperated and here I am, cancerfree, thank God.” Of course, it wasn’t that simple or easy. Allen is cancer-
free only after weeks of chemotherapy, nausea and much prayer. “Prayer, more than anything else, got me through it,” he says. “I had always considered myself a person of faith and prayer. And now I know just how hard one person actually can pray.” He says it in a way to make his listener chuckle slightly, but his words are deadly serious. “In order to survive cancer, I believe, you have to have a very strong determination and a very strong prayer life. I learned to have both.” And he’s learned how to get that message over to his daily listeners, who depend on Allen and Jackson not only for inspiration but for entertainment and insight into issues of the day. Through the course of one particular week, the two bantered on topics as varied as President Barack Obama’s presidency and mothers who let their daughters’ boyfriends sleep over, all the while fielding phone calls from listeners who wanted to weigh in with their own opinions. “That’s the part I like most – interacting with the callers. Sometimes challenging their thinking, sometimes agreeing with them and sometimes, just letting them have their say. I think I have the best job in the world.” Many northeast Mississippi radio listeners think they have one of the best radio personalities in the world, and now he’s also known for his work on television. Allen hosts two talk shows: “Community Edition” on ABC affiliate WKDH, and “West Point of View,” which airs on Fox’s WLOV. Just like with his radio show, Allen uses television to keep people informed and help them stay aware of issues and events. “I’ve been doing this for nearly 30 years, and I know the responsibility I have,” he says. “I take it very seriously.” om
stan allen with 92 jamz co-host, c.c. jackson
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Blueprint Mississippi 2011 Goal: Cultivate Diversity, Community Cooperation, and Racial Reconciliation
espondents to the Blueprint Mississippi 2011 roadshow surveys readily and frequently recognized that cultivating racial reconciliation and community cooperation in the state, increasing diversity in leadership roles, and changing misperceptions of Mississippi are important to the stateâ€™s future. The respondents also applauded Mississippiâ€™s recent achievements in racial reconciliation and community cooperation. Indeed, the record of progress of recent years
should be celebrated. Identifying Mississippiâ€™s progress can bolster the state from within and help Mississippi determine what paths to follow as it continues to pursue the goal of improving race relations. Stronger race relations can help communities work together more effectively, ensure diverse future leadership, and transform Mississippi into a place recognized not for where it has been, but for how far it has come.
city of philadelphia mayor james a young
Success in Philadelphia Telegraphs Message to World One must look no further than the moving story of progress in Philadelphia, Mississippi, to see how far Mississippi has come in recent years. In 1964, the tragic murders of three civil rights workers in Neshoba County rocked the nation and turned all eyes to the state. In a failure of justice indicative of that dark time in Mississippi’s history, the killers were allowed to escape true accountability, and the deaths of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner went without justice for four decades. But the story did not end there. In 2004, on the 40th anniversary of the killings, a multiracial groups of Philadelphians – the Philadelphia Coalition – joined together to issue a call for justice. Thanks in no small part to their community’s work, the state of Mississippi brought murder charges in 2005, and in 2007 upheld the manslaughter conviction of former Ku Klux Klansman Edgar Ray Killen. The entire process that led to the conviction illustrates what colossal achievements can be made when communities work together to bring about restorative justice. News of Philadelphia’s victory for racial reconciliation made headlines throughout the nation. The Philadelphia Coalition remains an active multiracial community group, supported by the Chamber of Com-
merce and other public officials. The group helped create a civil rights tour and began an oral history project, and is now committed to a civil rights educational initiative. As a direct result of these changes, Philadelphia is better able to promote itself and has seen increased business from outside the community. In 2009, the community also elected its first African American mayor, James Young. Mississippi leads the nation in elected African American officials – and Mayor James Young’s election was seen by many as a landmark indication of change. Freedom 50th Celebration Focuses on the Future This same willingness to face history with honesty and integrity was demonstrated at the recent “Freedom 50th” in Jackson, a celebration that marked the 50th anniversary of the 1961 arrest of the Freedom Riders who protested travel segregation. The event was hosted by a diverse group including former Governor Haley Barbour, Myrlie Evers-Williams, and Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson, Jr. who welcomed dozens of returning Freedom Riders to be honored at the event. Former Governor Barbour delivered an apology for the mistreatment the riders received fifty years ago and unveiled a marker in their honor at the former site of the Greyhound Bus Station.
By continuing to address remaining racial disparities and increasing understanding among its citizens, Mississippi is sure to have a brighter economic future.
Mississippi has also seen growth in the number and quality of organizations committed to helping heal Mississippi’s wounds. Since 1999, the University of Mississippi has been home to the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, which serves as a resource and facilitator for communities that have suffered as a result of racial discrimination. The Institute has supported projects in a number of communities. Other emerging organizations are devoted to recognizing Mississippi’s past and present racial experience – among them, the Emmett Till Memorial Commission, the Welcome Table, and the Mississippi Truth Project. With its 2010 population split almost equally between with and black minority individuals in the “under 18” age demographic, Mississippi is rapidly headed toward becoming a “majority-minority” state for the first time since the 1930s. This creates many opportunities related to diversity, community cooperation, and racial reconciliation.
Racially Diverse Leadership Among Elected Officials One such opportunity comes through partnerships with governmental leaders. As recently as 2010, Mississippi had more African American elected officials than any other state, with 134 county supervisors, 81 mayors and 50 state legislators. Historically, Mississippi has also had more elected African American officials than any other state in the nation, according to recent census data. This provides continuing opportunities for greater cooperative partnerships between the public and private sector that can actively engage a racially diverse leadership in addressing economic development opportunities for Mississippi, and in shaping policies and initiatives that are aimed at raising the standard of living for all Mississippians. By continuing to address remaining racial disparities and increasing understanding among its citizens, Mississippi is sure to have a brighter economic future. By encouraging in-
terracial cooperation in community projects and increased business involvement, businesses can help increase trust in communities, which will in turn promote more economic competitiveness and outside investment. Specifically, the business community should invest in public, businessdriven initiatives to build sound, healthy race relations – as well as acceptance and recognition of diversity in not only race, but gender, age, sexual orientation, national origin and points of view. Diversification within Mississippi’s workforce and management will also help businesses compete in today’s global economy, and help Mississippi cultivate its own homegrown talent. Consumers are increasingly making purchasing decisions based on whether businesses are socially engaged and contributing to the common good. There exists now the opportunity for Mississippi to be the national leader in developing an important factor for consumers to consider: a commitment to racial reconciliation, evidenced through a business’ active involvement with and support of diversity and community engagement. It is also extremely important to promote interracial cooperation among Mississippi’s youngest people. Programs from early childhood through high school that promote interracial interaction and cooperation will encourage an environment of inclusivity, ensuring that young Mississippians enter higher education institutions or the workforce prepared to participate in a multiracial environment. om *This above piece is part of Mississippi Economic Council’s Blueprint Mississippi. The entire program can be viewed on the company’s website at www.msmec.com
Getting Your “Business” Financial House in Order
any of us aspire to launch a business and that is an admirable goal. The beauty of having a flexible schedule and being your own boss is appealing. However, the reality of owning a business requires hard work, tenacity, and dedication in the face of adversity. Therefore, in this initial article about business financials, we will explore the basics of owning a business and what is required from a financial prospective to make it a success.
We will use as an example, Mr. John, the plumber. He has all the necessary licenses and skills needed to be a successful plumber. As a matter of fact, he has worked as an employee for a plumbing company for over 15 years and now believes it’s time that he started his own business. What should John do to get the business established from a financial standpoint? Before we discuss the financials, I would like to mention, that John should establish a business plan which identifies his business
purpose, goals, customservices are profitable. ers, marketing strategy, 3. Determine whether to and financial projections. hire employees or indeTo obtain assistance pendent contractors. with this, John can visit 4. Determine all taxes the his local Small Business company may be liable Development Center for (ex. Sales, use, conor consult with a busitractors and etc). The acness professional. Also, countant will be familiar he should have a clear with the taxes that apply picture of where fundto your business and will ing is coming from to have contact information launch the business. Be on agencies that regulate aware that most banks or provide assistance will probably not be to your business. Not interested in financing establishing the potential your aspirations without taxes upfront can cause a proven track record. a business to go out of Now that we have that out the way, how should John business. For example, if an audit reveals after 3 or more approach the financial aspect of getting the business estabyears of operation, that your company owes sales tax, lished? the burden of paying the tax along with the penalties First, before he opens the doors, an accountant or Certiand interest can be too much for the business to bear and fied Public Accountant should be consulted and/or hired. thus cause operations to cease. Also, the interruption to Why is this step so important? An accountant will provide the business operations to answer the audit can be frusthe following foundational items: trating, time consuming, and cease operations. 1. What type of business entity should the business be Answering these questions and many others when start(example Sole Proprietor, LLC, S-corp. or etc.)? How the ing a business can not be overstated if one desires to build business is structured will have a direct impact on the sustainability. The aspect of having flexibility and ownertax filing and liability of the company. ship should not over shadow the realities of owning a busi2. How should the accounting books be set-up? The anness. Even if you thoroughly enjoy what you do, business swer to this question is directly related to question numownership requires tenaciousness. ber one. Also, having the books set-up before the comA truly successful or thriving business seeks to make a pany open the doors helps the owner of the business and positive impact in the community where it is located. The accountant determine the following: most common type of positive impact is providing employa. The ownerâ€™s equity in the company which can imment opportunities. If the financial foundational items are pactthe tax write off of loses. not addressed thoroughly and at the beginning, there will b. Depreciation schedules be no positive impacts. om c. Begin to build a financial history for the business and provide the ability to produce financial statements About the Author: which can aid in the Aletha Washington, is President and CEO of Integrity Financial Associates, Inc. (IFA) business acquiring lines of in Jackson, MS. IFA is a full service tax and accounting company which provides credit. Also, financial hisyear round tax preparation, payroll processing, and bookkeeping. She has an tory provides the owner accounting degree from Jackson State University and an MBA from Illinois State (s) with the ability to University. She is the wife of Gene Washington, and mother to Genea and Solomon. make informed decisions about what products or
African-American buying power continues to grow and that buying power is expected to top $1.1 trillion by this year. Mississippi is a state that will account for a huge share of that total. Mississippi ranks first among the 50 states in percentage of African-Americans in resident population. Of the nearly three million residents in Mississippi, 37% of those are African American. Our Mississippi Magazine is designed to reach these residents with stories and features that deal with their everyday way of life. GROW YOUR BUSINESS. ADVERTISE IN OUR MISSISSIPPI MAGAZINE!
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Subscribe to Our Mississippi Magazine and get two full years (8 issues) for just $30, or you can get a one-year subscription for just $18. Just fill out the form below and send a check or money order to: Our Mississippi Magazine P.O. Box 1388 • Tupelo, MS 38802
Making History Hattiesburg Mayor
Johnny Dupree Dr. Donald Cole’s triumphant return to ole Miss
Mississippi Minority Business alliance
celebrates11th annual Awards Gala $3.95
sets sights on governor’s mansion
touring Mississippi tackling
Health Disparities State’s Cardiovascular Disease Mortality Rate Remains Nation’s Highest
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GROW YOUR BUSINESS. ADVERTISE IN OUR MISSISSIPPI MAGAZINE! African-American buying power continues to grow and that buying power is expected to top $1.1 trillion by this year. Mississippi is a state that will account for a huge share of that total. Mississippi ranks first among the 50 states in percentage of African-Americans in resident population. Of the nearly three million residents in Mississippi, 37% of those are African American. Our Mississippi Magazine is designed to reach these residents with stories and features that deal with their everyday way of life.
SUBSCRIBE TODAY ourMississippi to Mississippi’s only state-wide, fALL 2011
“OuR StAte, OuR LiveS, OuR PeOPLe”
Subscribe to Our Mississippi Magazine and get two full years (8 issues) for just $35, or you can get a one-year subscription for just $20. Just fill out the form below and send a check or money order to: Our Mississippi Magazine P.O. Box 1388 • Tupelo, MS 38802
Making History Hattiesburg Mayor
Johnny Dupree Dr. Donald Cole’s triumphant return to ole Miss
Mississippi Minority Business alliance
celebrates11th annual Awards Gala $3.95
sets sights on governor’s mansion
touring Mississippi tackling
Health Disparities State’s Cardiovascular Disease Mortality Rate Remains Nation’s Highest
Name____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Addressss_________________________________________________________________________________________________________ City_________________________________________________________________________State_______Zip________________________
believe. do. At AT&T we believe in communities. That’s why we do what we do. Like striving to connect people with good jobs, donating our time and talent, supporting the underserved, and promoting innovative educational programs. Because we believe the power of you creates limitless possibilities for us all. That’s why we proudly support the African-American community here in Mississippi.
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