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1 0 N O . 13
contents ELIZABETH WAIBEL
COURTESY CAROL CLARK-HAMMOND
6 Bucking a Trend JPS is using federal funds for low-income schools correctly, unlike many school districts. GREATER JACKSON ARTS COUNCIL
Cover photograph by Camille Moenkhaus
Mix LEGOs, psychology and muscular sclerosis, and what do you get? Scott Crawford’s story. ELLEN EMMICH
carol clark hammond artists: her mother, aunt, grandfather and sister were all artists. They also always told her that she’d be an artist. “A lot of people paint what people want to see, like still lives of flow. … I don’t do that,” she says. “If I’m going to paint something, it’s going to be something that speaks to me. It’s going to be something that comes from my heart. It’s not going to be a bowl with some sunflowers in it.” After attending Ole Miss for two years, Hammond went to Ringling School of Art and Design in Florida and graduated in 1981, concentrating on figure drawing. Now, Hammond meets at Millsaps College with others each Saturday for figure drawing sessions. There, Hammond does what she calls “quick figure studies” which she sometimes sells for $40 each or less. They are complete drawings and paintings done in less than 20 to 40 minutes. “I like to challenge myself,” she says about the class. “You don’t have anything to lose.” The Figure Drawing Class is held each Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Millsaps College in the Academic Complex drawing studio. It is free for students from any school and $10 for others. The class is always looking for new models, paid at $20 per hour. Contact Hammond at 601-624-6447 or cchstudios@ aol.com for more information or if you are interested in modeling.
38 ‘About the Children’ Clinton Johnson Jr.’s top priority is making sure everyone has equal sports opportunities in Jackson’s schools.
41 Family Fare The Trace Grill’s Kevin Thompson talks about the vision for his southern-style restaurant.
Michelangelo once said, “He who does not master the nude cannot understand the principles of architecture.” It’s just one of many quotes by which Carol Clark Hammond lives. As a freelance artist, she specializes in portrait drawing and courtroom sketching. Her work these days comes sporadically, however, because her specialties seem to be going out of style. “I always thought I would grow up to be a portrait artist,” Hammond says. “I didn’t realize that it would be less emphasized as I got older and that photography would push it out. I don’t think the judges realized that when they let cameras in that they were virtually killing an entire art form.” Hammond, 53, lives in Belhaven with her husband, Lee Hammond. They have lived there since 1984. The neighborhood, she says, is very artistic: Other artists such as Cleta Ellington and Elizabeth Johnson also make Belhaven their home. Recently, Hammond and some of the other neighborhood artists held the first Belhaven Street Artists festival where they sold their art at affordable prices. They hope to make it a biannual event. The artist has two sons, Peter and Andrew, both of whom attend Mississippi State University. Her oldest son, Peter, is also an artist and will graduate this year with a degree in sculpture. Hammond comes from a family of
4 ............. Editor’s Note 4 ................... Slowpoke 6 .......................... Talks 7 .. The Week in Jacktown 12 ................... Editorial 12 .................... Stiggers 13 .................. Opinion 16 ............. Winter Arts 33 ....................... Books 34 ..................... 8 Days 35 ........................ Music 36 .......... Music Listing 38 ...................... Sports 40 ................. Astrology 41 ........................ Food 44 ................. Gift Guide 46 .......... Fly Shopping
Latasha Willis Events Editor Latasha Willis is a native Jacksonian, a graduate of Tougaloo College and the mother of one cat. She compiled the Arts Preview listings and keeps the city in the know at jfpevents.com. Send her event info to events@ jacksonfreepress.com.
Briana Robinson Deputy Editor Briana Robinson is a 2010 graduate of St. Andrew’s Episcopal School. Her hobbies include photography, ballet and ballroom dancing. She is a sophomore at Millsaps College. She wrote the main arts feature and the Jacksonian.
R.L. Nave Reporter R.L. Nave grew up in St. Louis and graduated from Mizzou (the University of Missouri). Send him story tips to firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 601-362-6121 x. 12. And next time you see him around town, say hey.
Andrew Ousley Laurel native and freelance writer Andrew Ousley lived in Scotland and Wyoming before moving to Jackson. Andrew frequently watches Modern Marvels alone on Friday nights. He wrote a music feature.
Torsheta Bowens Freelance writer Torsheta Bowens is originally from Shuqualak, Miss. She is a mom, teacher and coach. In her free time, she loves to read. (She just doesn’t have any free time.) She wrote a sports feature for this issue.
LaShanda Phillips Editorial Assistant LaShanda Phillips is a recent graduate of Jackson State University. She is the third oldest of seven children. Her motto is: “Make-up is fantastic!” She wrote a food piece and compiled the gift guide.
Meredith W Sullivan Former New Yorker Meredith W. Sullivan is a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology. She spends her days dreaming about where to travel next. She is enjoying life in Fondren with her husband and Diggy dog. She coordinated the FLY feature.
December 7 - 13, 2011
Advertising Director Kimberly Griffin is a Jackson native who likes yoga, supporting locally owned businesses and traveling. In her spare time, she plots how she can become Michelle Obama’s water holder.
by Valerie Wells, Assistant Editor
Finding Seagulls in the Grain
crossed the street quickly and hurried under Interstate 55 to catch the bus. The gray, concrete columns stood silent, holding up tons of speeding commuters. The underpass space is pretty expansive. It is mostly clean and blank space with enough room for a parking lot. Right now, its only function is engineered bridge support. Getting on the bus and rolling along the frontage road, I imagined what the city might look like if the Jackson Free Press graphic designers took over. I had asked them the other day if they could rule the world, what would change? The common response was more color. No blank walls. No more all-black outfits. (This was probably directed at me, since almost all the clothes I own are black.) I wonder what the designers and the artists would do with these blank and sometimes dreary underpasses. Actually, I already have a few ideas of what they are thinking. Erin Hayne of NunoErin told me recently that she and her husband and partner, Nuno Gonçalves Ferreira, had proposed some kind of wavy, finned art display to go under some of the railroad bridges in downtown Jackson. Erin is expressive and seems to lift to her toes when talking about the innovative and fun projects NunoErin is developing. It’s contagious. NunoErin has more ideas for public art. The design studio proposed an egg-shaped playground feature for the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. The couple also proposed a photographic montage with LED lights for Jackson Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport. That’s not all—they had proposed an infinity mirror for the Art Garden at the Mississippi Museum of Art, but it didn’t make it to the final cut. That hasn’t stopped NunoErin from coming up with new ideas or from approaching the concept from a different angle. They’ve talked about installing the tall futuristic, round mirror in another park or making it part of another installation. I really love the idea of NunoErin’s finned art displays in underpasses softly moving along city streets. My imagination has taken off, probably far, far away from the actual idea NunoErin is perfecting. I imagine this flapping structure that seems to breathe along with the city and its shifting clay and active surface. NunoErin uses light in much of its work, so I wonder how this unusual project might light up Jackson. The idea is only a proposal, and like lots of arts projects, leaders are supportive in theory, but the reality is these things take money. The city of Jackson does embrace art and support public-arts projects. An inaugural program to have artists paint more than 300 traffic boxes throughout the city is an example. We just got word last week that Kimberly Jacobs with the Greater Jackson Arts Council is designing the first traffic box cover. After the city primes the traffic box on
Pascagoula Street, Jacobs will paint it. GJAC is using this first box as a test of its process. I am so curious about how Jacobs will decorate this utilitarian piece of metal. Of course, one person’s vision of a public-arts project is another’s nightmare. I still am recovering from the invasion of the swans in Hattiesburg. The Area Development Partnership in my hometown oversaw this 2006 campaign to push businesses and institutions
I still am recovering from the invasion of the swans in Hattiesburg. to purchase large, simplistic swan sculptures designed in Louisiana and manufactured in Italy. (Ahem: the ADP should have given some Mississippians that work). The idea in theory was to give local artists the honor of painting the swans with different themes. The results are kaleidoscopic at best. Some people love the swans. They take their grandchildren on tours to find all the remaining invading birds, some with cracked paint, some faded, and all of them lacking context for south Mississippi. Biloxi understands public art and native birds. The city of my birth still brings me to my knees with its poignant bird sculptures along U.S. 90, also called Beach Boulevard.
Trees in the highway median that pretty much died after Hurricane Katrina were left in place. A sculptor turned each piece of twisted wood into Mississippi wildlife. The sculptor, like a Michelangelo with marble, saw seagulls and pelicans trapped in the wood grain and brought them to life. Dolphins and turtles also adorn the Gulf Coast in similar sculptures and occasional topiaries. Two magnificent bridges along U.S. 90 are the new landmarks on the postKatrina Coast. One connects Bay St. Louis with Pass Christian. The other one spans from Biloxi to Ocean Springs. Wide with low walls for amazing views of the Mississippi Sound and the bays, the bridges include secure paths for walkers, runners and bikers. The Mississippi Department of Transportation included lots of art in the bridges. MDOT placed metal plaques with bas-relief images of the Coast’s wildlife at key points along the bridge. It makes you want to walk across both bays to make sure you take it all in. Other artists used pieces of the old Biloxi bridge to make new art, to tell a story about Katrina’s destruction. I’m one of those who is still not over it, no matter how many times I’m encouraged to leave 2005 in the past. Maybe that’s why I find the work of photographers H.C. Porter and Gretchen Haien so fascinating. They created a multi-media sculpture based on images of floor slabs Katrina wiped clean. You can see their work at the Mississippi Invitational exhibit now on display at the Mississippi Museum of Art. Lots of dreary infrastructure waits for artists to transform it all into landmarks. I’d love to see the possibilities come to life and make us optimistic, curious and proud.
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news, culture & irreverence
Thursday, Dec. 1 Michael Rubenstein, former sports reporter and anchor for WLBT, dies at age 60. … People around the globe recognize World AIDS Day. More than 9,500 Mississippians have HIV, according to the Mississippian State Department of Health. Friday. Dec. 2 The national unemployment rate falls to 8.6 percent from just above 9 percent, the lowest in two-and-a-half years. … U.S. Marshals nab Shawn Jeffery Watkins, an inmate who allegedly escaped from his Forrest County Community Work Center detail earlier in the week. Watkins, whom authorities tracked to Texas, could get five years tacked onto his sentence. Saturday, Dec. 3 The submarine U.S.S. Mississippi is christened in Connecticut. Navy Secretary and former Gov. Ray Mabus and Gov. Haley Barbour attend the event. … Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain suspends his campaign amid allegations of sexual misconduct. Sunday, Dec. 4 Mississippi State Bulldogs accept a bid to play Wake Forest in the Music City Bowl on Dec. 30 in Nashville. … The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts honors singers Barbara Cook and Neil Diamond, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, saxophonist Sonny Rollins and actress Meryl Streep.
December 7 - 13, 2011
Monday, Dec. 5 Ole Miss introduces Hugh Freeze, Arkansas State head football coach and a former UM assistant coach, to boosters as the Rebels’ new head coach. … The U.S. Postal Service announces plans to slow first-class mail delivery to reduce costs.
Tuesday, Dec. 6 Entergy Corp., which provides electric power to Mississippi and other states, announces plans to sell off its power-line transmission business to a Michigan company. … The parent company of Massey Energy agrees to pay $209 million in penalties for a West Virginia mine explosion that killed 29 workers in 2010. Get daily news at jfpdaily.com.
Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree weighed in on the state of black Mississippi. p9
Jackson Aces Elementary Math
ackson is focusing more of its financial resources on schools with the neediest students, bucking a national trend, U.S. Department of Education data suggest. In many school districts around the country, however, low-income schools are not getting their fair share of state and local funds. Many school districts are directing state and local funds to relatively affluent schools and depending on federal Title I money to fill in the gaps at low-income schools, the nationwide study of more than 80,000 schools in more than 13,000 school districts found. Title I provides federal money for highneed, high-poverty schools. Districts are supposed to provide the same level of funding to poor schools that they do to more affluent ones, with Title I funds providing an extra boost to schools with the poorest children. While Jackson has plenty of low-income schools, it has no affluent public schools to compare them with. Data from the 20082009 school year released with the study showed that all JPS schools surveyed were eligible to receive Title I funds. At each JPS school, more than half the students were eligible for free or reduced-price lunches—an indicator of low incomes. At all but four schools, 75 percent or more of the students were eligible for free or reduced-price lunches. Marcus Cheeks, state Title I director for the MDE, said earlier this year that only a small percentage of Mississippi’s 152 school
districts have a mix of Title I-eligible and ineligible schools. “There are only about 2 percent of the school districts across the state that would have a direct comparison between Title and nonTitle schools,” Cheeks said. “Every school district in this state is receiving Title I funding.” Although all its schools benefit from Title I, Jackson still tends to allocate more money per student to poorer schools. Of the 32 schools with 90 percent or more of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, 20 received above-average per-pupil funding from state or local sources. Of the 24 schools with fewer low-income students, only four had above-average per-pupil expenditures. The nationwide study found that many districts are using Title I funds to fill gaps left in state and local education budgets, and lowincome schools do not get the extra advantage that Title I funding is supposed to provide. At more than 40 percent of the low-income schools the department studied, districts sent less state and local funding to low-income schools and depended on Title I funds to make up for the lack of other spending. Title I requires schools to provide comparable services from state and local sources to low-income schools, but the Department of Education has not tracked spending at the school level before. This study came out of information gathered through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which requires dis-
by Elizabeth Waibel ELIZABETH WAIBEL
Wednesday, Nov. 30 The FDA announces it is considering tighter restrictions on the levels of arsenic in apple juice after consumer groups say juices they tested had too much of the contaminant. ... Former Mississippi Gov. Bill Waller dies at age 85.
Among the many famous creative people born in Mississippi are: actors Morgan Freeman, Eric Roberts and Sela Ward; musicians Tammy Wynette, LeAnn Rimes, David Banner, Cassandra Wilson and B.B. King; and authors Richard Wright, John Grisham and Greg Iles.
A national study found that some school districts are using federal funds—intended to supplement low-income schools’ budgets—to fill gaps in state and local education budgets. Not in Jackson, though.
tricts to report school-level expenditures per pupil, rather than more general, districtwide information. “Educators across the country understand that low-income students need extra support and resources to succeed, but in far too many places policies for assigning teachers and allocating resources are perpetuating the problem rather than solving it,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
If artists ruled the world… BUTT
“There’s a reason they’ve got chocolate and vanilla. Some people like one better than the other.” —Gov. Haley Barbour Dec. 2 in response to this question from The New York Times: “Are people having a hard time warming to (Mitt) Romney?”
• People wouldn’t wear black in winter. • Salvador Dali’s face would droop on Mt. Rushmore. • Plaid stop signs would be standard. • Everyone could access free, citywide wi-fi. • More people would go to art museums, galleries and performances. • Living statues would pose at key intersections. • Black lights would illuminate underpasses. • Traffic lights would alternate from hot pink to yellow to lime green. • Legislators would make motions on the Senate floor through interpretive dance. • Arts programs at universities would be funded, and athletic programs would struggle. • Starving athletes and bankers would have a decent homeless shelter. • White walls would be banned. • New developments would go through a feng shui review board. • Streets and highways would have beautiful curves and public art, but they may not go in sensible directions.
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December 7 - 13, 2011
Believing In Jacksonâ€™s Kids
ackson struggles with a graduation rate below the national average, but the community is not giving up on its students, an group started by former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says. Americaâ€™s Promise Alliance named the city a Grad Nation Community and one of the 100 Best Communities for Young people in 2011 by Americaâ€™s Promise Alliance. The award recognizes the work of organizations in Jackson to improve high school graduation rates and other factors to make the area a better place for young people. At a press conference at the state Capitol this morning, Tanya Tucker, senior vice president of community engagement for Americaâ€™s Promise Alliance, said Jackson is living out what community is all about. â€œThis (award) isnâ€™t really about recognition for one program or one initiative; itâ€™s
by Elizabeth Waibel
about a community coming together to help young people,â€? Tucker said. Donna Barksdale, a board member at Americaâ€™s Promise Alliance, presented the award to Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. and representatives from United Way of the Capital Area, Operation Shoestring and other community organizations. The mayor issued a proclamation celebrating Jackson as one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People. Organizations working to keep Jackson kids in school face high hurdles. In 2009, Jackson Public Schools had a graduation rate of 74.1 percent. This year, however, the graduation rate had dropped to 63.6 percent. Studies from the past few years have put the national graduation rate at 71 to 74 percent. Robert Langford, executive director of
Introducing new stylist: Nicki Nichols!
dents from Chastain. sure of the polite answer to that question. â€œAnd if the foodâ€™s not â€œItâ€™s not very sanitary,â€? Hardy said. If you close to you, you can ask have to leave the table, place the napkin to the somebody to pass it.â€? left of your plate. About 30 students Besides explaining which fork to use and from Chastainâ€™s gifted how to pass the butter, Hardy demonstrated program attended the howâ€”and how notâ€”to hold silverware. etiquette lunch Nov. 30, â€œIf you have been using the toothbrush sponsored by Mississippi hold, stop today!â€? he said. Proper etiquette State Universityâ€™s Central says you should hold a fork almost like a penMississippi Alumni As- cil, rather than clutching it in your fist. â€œWhen sociation. Businessman we know better, we do better,â€? Hardy said. Jonathan Lee, who is on Thea Faulkner, a Chastain parent and the board of the alumni coordinator of the Parent Leadership Institute association, talked to the at Parents for Public Schools, organized the Chastain Middle School students Kevin Hunt, right, and Ryan students about MSUâ€™s event. She said the goal of the lunch was to tell Nichols discuss the etiquette of used sweetener packets. honors college and the the students about the importance of setting importance of getting high academic standards and going to college, bout 30 students from Chastain Mid- a good education. Mount Helm Baptist perhaps in an honors program. dle School filed into The Penguin Res- Church pastor CJ Rhodes also talked with â€œSet high goals, excel academicallyâ€”that taurant, dressed in collared shirts and the students. opens opportunities for them,â€? she said. ties or dresses and bows. They politely Before the soup course arrived, Hardy Some students have higher aspirations took their seats at tables arranged around the gave the students an abbreviated course in fine in mind. Ryan Nichols, one of the Chastain room, then fiddled with an unfamiliar num- dining etiquette. students, said the etiquette lessons will be ber of forks and glasses. â€œThe napkin remains in your lap for the useful when he goes to formal restaurants in Waiters in pressed, white shirts poured duration of your dining experience,â€? he told the future. sweet tea, and some students poured in more the students, explaining that under no cirâ€œIf Iâ€™m trying to meet somebody who is sweetener and sugar. Uncertain of what to cumstance should they ever place their nap- very important, like the president or somedo with the empty sweetener packets, several kins in the seats of their chairs. thing, I would want to go to a restaurant like of the students turned to their neighbors for â€œBecause what goes in your seat?â€? he this,â€? he said. guidance and finding none, piled the little asked. The students replied with giggles, unComment at www.jfp.ms. pink packets inconspicuously at the edge of %TIQUETTE 4IPS IURP *OHN (ARDY their place settings. Although the exact protocol for disposing Â‡ 5SE SILVERWARE BEGINNING WITH THE FARTHEST AWAY VSRRQDQGHQMR\VRPHSROLWHFRQYHUVDWLRQDV\RXZDLW FROM THE PLATE AND WORK YOUR WAY IN7KHVPDOOHU IRULWWRFRRO of sweetener packets may have eluded them, IRUNLVIRUVDODGDQGGHVVHUWZKLOHWKHODUJHURQHLVIRU Â„ "EVERAGES ALWAYS GO ON THE RIGHTDQGEUHDGSODWHV the students quickly picked up on etiquette WKHHQWUpH JRRQWKHOHIW tips, courtesy of John Hardy, the restaurantâ€™s Â„ #UT NO MORE THAN THREE BITE SIZE PIECES OF FOOD AT A Â„ $ISPOSE OF CHEWING GUMEHIRUH\RXJHWWRWKHWDEOH TIME7KLVNHHSVWKHHQWUpHIURPJHWWLQJFROG Â„ 7AITXQWLOHYHU\RQHDW\RXUWDEOHLVVHUYHGWR general manager, to supplement what they Â‡:KHQEUHDGLVVHUYHGEUHDNRIIRQHSLHFHDWDWLPH EHJLQHDWLQJ had already learned at school. DQGEXWWHULW$ONÂ´T STUFF AN ENTIRE ROLL IN YOUR MOUTH Â„ $ONÂ´T CARRY ON A PHONE CONVERSATION AT THE â€œWhen you eat, youâ€™re not supposed Â„ $ONÂ´T BLOW ON YOUR SOUP TO COOL ITÂ˛LWPLJKWVSODWWHU TABLE,I\RXKDYHWRWDNHDFDOOH[FXVH\RXUVHOI RQ\RXUQHLJKERU,QVWHDGOHWWKHVRXSUHVWLQ\RXU DQGOHDYHWKHURRP to put your elbows on the table, because itâ€™s rude,â€? said Carrick Thomas, one of the stu-
Donna Barksdale, second from left, presents an award naming Jackson one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People. (Also pictured, from left to right: Carol Burger, Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr., Jim Barksdale, Shawna Davie and Pam Shaw.)
Operation Shoestring, said that while Jackson faces challenges, the award recognizes the hard work to make the metro area a better place for children. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
by R.L. Nave
Doomsday for Black Folks?
believes that the state could return to an era In response to a state Department of Revwhen whites wielded power and blacks were enue report showing November revenues $4.9 relegated to second-class citizenship. million less than expected, Gov. Haley BarSpeakers at the black leadership summit bour last week called for prudence in â€œspendspeculated that in a state that already trails other states in a number of quality-of-life areas, and where blacks lag behind their white counterparts in many of those same areas, various Republican-led branches of state government could make life difficult for African Americans in the years to come. Johnny DuPree, the Democratic Hattiesburg mayor who lost his gubernatorial bid to Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, likened Mississippi to a patient who needs to en- Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree wants to push back against legislative initiatives that might be harmful to black citizens. ter a treatment program. â€œMississippi is sick, and when Mississippi is sick, black Mississippi has walking pneumonia,â€? ing state revenues and reserves until economic DuPree said. conditions improve.â€? He named education, jobs, health care The NAACPâ€™s Johnson and other promand poverty as areas where blacks are at the inent blacks believe the Legislature might greatest disadvantage. Jobs seemed to be the look to strip state jobs in Jackson, which they most immediate concerns to members of say would disproportionately hurt blacks. In a black-leadership panel. Republicans have majority-black Hinds County, the state emalready indicated that deep cuts to the state ploys 31,556 people. Another 14,000 people budget could be on the horizon. work for the state-supported Jackson Public
y all measures, the state of black Mississippi should be strong. Mississippiâ€™s concentration of African American residents, 37 percent, is the highest of any state. Mississippi also has the highest number of majority-black counties, 25, and black elected officials (900+). So why did the Mississippi Black Leadership Summit, which took place in downtown Jackson last week, strike such a somber tone? Most of it came down to the stateâ€™s political dynamic: Blacks in Mississippi overwhelmingly vote for Democratic candidates, but Republicans overwhelmingly control state government, which has African Americans around the state nervous. â€œWithin 30 days, weâ€™re going to see a radical restructuring of state government like weâ€™ve never seen before,â€? Derrick Johnson, president of the Mississippi branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, told the summit crowd at the Jackson Convention Center. He was referring to the Republican near-sweep in the recent statewide election, which left the GOP in control of both houses of the Legislature and the governorâ€™s mansion. â€œWithin 30 days, itâ€™s going to look like 1962,â€? Johnson added. Racial tensions reached a crescendo during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s in Mississippi and across the nation. Johnson, along with several other prominent blacks,
Schools and the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Johnson also believes that the issue of merging three historically black universities into one might be back on the table as well. In 2009, as part of his budget proposal for the coming fiscal year, Gov. Haley Barbour recommended merging three HBCUs, with Jackson State University absorbing Alcorn State University and Mississippi Valley State University. For their part, Republican-elected officials, from Lt. Gov.-elect Tate Reeves to House Speaker-designee Phillip Gunn of Clinton, have vowed to put partisanship aside, so it remains unclear whether all the hand wringing is justified. In the meantime, DuPree and others say they will push back if the Legislature oversteps its bounds. â€œWe have won every fight weâ€™ve been a part of. The problem is, we stopped fighting,â€? DuPree told the crowd. Comment at www.jfp.ms 53 2ANKS FOR
"LACK -ISSISSIPPI 0OPULATION SHUFHQWRIVWDWHÂśVWRWDO.O -AJORITY "LACK #ITIES.O -AJORITY "LACK #OUNTIES.O "LACK %LECTED /FÂ˝ CIALS.O "LACK 3AME 3EX 0ARENTS.O
Black Farmers: Getting Their Due?
ississippi is likely to have the highest concentration of farmers who are entitled to a piece of two landmark decisions. In fact, more than one-fourth of the claims under the second decision originated in Mississippi, according to the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association. Many people know little about the billion-dollar settlement, however. Hereâ€™s some background information: The case began in the late 1990s when Timothy Pigford, Cecil Brewington and 400 other African American farmers sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The suit, which named then-Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman as defendant,
alleged that between 1983 and 1997, the USDA discriminated against black farmers in giving out farm loans and other forms of assistance and for failing to investigate the farmersâ€™ complaints. The parties reached a settlement in Pigford v. Glickman in 1999. â€œThe Court finds that the settlement is a fair resolution of the claims brought in this case and a good first step towards assuring that the kind of discrimination that has been visited on African American farmers since Reconstruction will not continue into the next century,â€? wrote a U.S. appellate judge in affirming the settlement. The case didnâ€™t end there, however.
Many black farmers complained about the settlementâ€™s structure, the large number of late claims and poor legal representation. The 2008 federal farm bill allowed claimants who had filed late claims and not received a determination on the merits of their claims to petition a federal court. Congress approved a maximum of $100 million to pay the late claims, which became known as Pigford II. In 2010, new USDA secretary Tom Vilsack and Attorney General Eric Holder announced an additional $1.15 billion to settle Pigford II claims, contingent on congressional approval. After several unsuccessful attempts, Congress appropriated the
funds in November 2010. At $1.25 billion, the Pigford settlements represent one of the largest sums awarded in a race-discrimination class-action lawsuit in U.S. history. A series of meetings is now underway across the nation, including in Jackson, to provide information about the case and help claimants with filling out forms. In Jackson, they will take place at Jackson State University e-Center. To schedule an appointment, call 1-877-810-8110 or visit blackfarmercase. com/meetings.aspx for a complete list of available dates. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
Carol West, 67, a Mississippi College School of Law professor, died Dec. 5. West was an expert in domestic law and womenâ€™s issues. She worked with the Legislature and educated a couple of generations of lawyers and lawmakers. The American Association of Law Libraries has a collection of her papers.
Michael Rubenstein, 60, executive director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, died Dec. 1. He directed the museum since it opened in 1996. Before that, he was a television sports journalist for WLBT TV.
Former Gov. William Waller, 85, died Nov. 30. Waller was governor of Mississippi from 1972 to 1976. He appointed blacks to state boards and commissions, the first governor to do so. He also abolished the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission, a racist state agency that spied on its citizens.
Can we tell your story? Suggest it to firstname.lastname@example.org
by Valerie Wells
Honey, I Shrunk My City! GREATER JACKSON ARTS COUNCIL
pleted his doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi. He got an internship in Miami, Fla., and eventually a job. As a young professional, he had it made. He often went sailing, and he traveled. When he was 33, he got a bad case of progressive multiple sclerosis. “I went from snowboarding to a wheelchair in a year,” he said. Crawford moved back to Mississippi that year to be close to family. Crawford can no longer work as a psychologist. MS so exhausts him, he has to sleep 12 hours a day. Even talking to people wears him out. “Speaking is like yelling for me,” he said. Scott Crawford rebuilt Jackson...in Legos.This picture shows only about one-fourth of the scaled city. It’s But his eyes lit up, and on display at the Arts Center of Mississippi Dec. 8 to Jan. 15. Watch for the tiny communion bread. he did talk in detail when he showed off his workspace where he creates LEGO buildcott Crawford maneuvers his wheel“Be kind,” he said. ings. Several plastic organizers chair from the front of his house The bed was stacked with about two with drawers fill the space. Small ones hold through his living room to a dining dozen plastic bins with lids. The neat bins little, unusual pieces. Larger ones hold fat room table set with LEGO replicas of varied in sizes, some long and shallow, oth- chunks of UFOs and starships. The drawers Jackson landmarks. ers stubby. Several original LEGO packages sort LEGO pieces by color, by size, by the He has built a LEGO cathedral that held pieces of spaceships and rocket launch- original set the pieces might have made up. measures only about a foot long, detailed ers. One of the plastic bins on the bottom Three identical Atlantis project boxes sat with stained-glass windows, a roof that opens contained the fire department. Someone had opened. He had to use pieces from all three to show all the people sitting in pews, a pipe knocked into it, though, so one of the towers boxes to create his City Hall. He does this for organ, and even communion bread and wine was damaged inside the Rubbermaid con- many of his original LEGO structures—he on the altar. tainer. Crawford said it was OK. has to buy several kits and then choose the Crawford’s replica of City Hall includes “LEGOs break,” he said in a forced pieces he needs for the project at hand. He the council chamber, an elevator and so- whisper. “But they go back together.” keeps the extra pieces in the lined-up boxes. lar panels. Jackson City Hall doesn’t have a Crawford, 45, has multiple sclerosis. He Creating LEGO Jackson is as much roof with solar-panels that store energy, but wears a splint on his right hand that’s wavy about a future vision of urban planning as Crawford thinks its should. like a gigantic piece of corrugated cardboard, it is replicating details in specific landmarks. This tabletop sampling is not Craw- only it is hard plastic. He wears it to keep his Crawford has a LEGO Convention Center ford’s entire LEGO Jackson complex. He has fingers separate and to keep his hand from that happens to be hosting a UFO conferbuilt enough structures to fill his entire living clenching up in a fist that would never un- ence with aliens in attendance and spaceroom and dining room together. He stores clench. At night, he also has to wear a similar ships to ride. the extra pieces of Jackson in a spare bed- splint on his left hand. One of the signs in LEGO Jackson reads, room. He wheeled through his living room, He grew up in Vicksburg and went to “Keep Jackson Beautiful.” Crawford serves on turned on the bedroom light and paused. Millsaps College. In 1995, Crawford com- that particular city board, and littering is one
December 7 - 13, 2011
of his concerns. He wants his scaled capital city to inspire residents to be clean, to pick up and to plant flowers. His LEGO city has many small gardens and trees. Crawford, who receives disability insurance benefits, volunteers to raise awareness of Americans with Disabilities Act. That work involves educating government agencies and private developers about ADA requirements to make sidewalks, entries, bathrooms and parking lots accessible for disabled residents. He serves on Jackson’s ADA Advisory Council and Chairs Handlift Advisory Council. Despite the fatigue, Crawford works on a big project in spurts. This year, he expanded LEGO Jackson from a 12-foot long display to 24 feet of his vision. He’s excited for school children to see the display and get their own ideas, although he’s a little concerned they might reach out and touch too much. He’s devised a system for putting LEGOs together. Sometimes he takes his right hand out of the splint and uses the right thumb in his building. He can snap together a lot of pieces using only his left hand, though. Exercising his fingers and wrists are important, but that’s not why he builds with LEGOs. Besides his love for it, he has another practical reason. “It’s cognitive therapy,” Crawford said. Multiple sclerosis damages myelin in the brain and spinal cord. As a result, cognition suffers in 50 percent of cases. High-level brain functions, such as learning, organizing and solving problems, can diminish. Building new structures with LEGOs requires the same skills. “People meet me and they say, ‘You seem OK,’” Crawford said. He said he often tells them, “But you didn’t know me before.” LEGO Jackson is on display beginning Thursday, Dec. 8, at the Arts Center of Mississippi (201 E. Pascagoula St., 601-960-1500). Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and noon-5 p.m. Sundays. The free exhibit remains through Jan. 27. An opening reception is Thursday, Dec. 8, beginning at 4 p.m. For information, call 601-960-1500. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
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opining, grousing & pontificating
Follow Lead of Powell, Barksdale
here are people who complain, seeing insurmountable problems everywhere, and there are people who take action infused by hope and informed by facts and evidence. We were thrilled to see people in the latter category, working for the future of the city’s children, and thus all of us, honored this week by Colin and Alma Powell’s America’s Promise Alliance. The alliance named Jackson one of the country’s 100 Best Communities for Young People. What’s farsighted—and very Powell-esque—about this award is that it’s not given to communities with few challenges or to those that have overcome their problems. It is awarded to communities that unite to solve them. Often lost in political and crime rhetoric about Jackson is the vast alliance of groups and individuals who are determined to attack our problems at their roots. This coalition contains Democrats and Republicans, young and older, and a variety of races. These are people who recognize the challenges our young people face in a city where a quarter of the residents live in poverty. Poverty is not the sole cause of crime, but as Richard Rhodes reports in his book, “Why They Kill,” young people who grow up in poverty are more likely to act out when other difficult conditions exist. Those conditions range from growing up in violent cultures and abusive homes to being from communities that are constantly disparaged in the mainstream media, thus increasing feelings of hopelessness and inequality. It’s not easy to dismantle the deck many of our children have stacked against them, and many will shrug and tell us just to arm ourselves against “the other.” Fortunately, the solution is more sophisticated than yelling “DRAW!” This city is blessed to have dedicated people—from city leadership to social-service organizations—who take the time to learn the best practices that it will take to change our city. They are also smart enough to know that we must plant a tree today in order to see it grow leaves a few years from now. Powell’s group knows that just one thing, or one person, cannot solve the challenges. It urges five promises for children: caring adults, safe places, healthy habits, effective education (including early childhood) and opportunities for young people to then help others. In his book, Rhodes reports on the need for “pro-social” behaviors to help children develop empathy skills for others. (See Elizabeth Waibel’s report on page 8 about teaching etiquette skills to Chastain students for one example. Kids with good manners are more successful.) It may not be fashionable in some (boorish) circles to believe in Jackson and our young people, but it is the only route for anyone serious about reducing both poverty and crime. It should not be political, and Republicans such as Powell and our own Jim Barksdale, a strident proponent of public education, demonstrate how smart people must approach crime and poverty. Let’s all follow their lead.
Stimulation to Occupation
December 7 - 13, 2011
oneqweesha Jones: “Live from the Funky Ghetto Mall is the Ghetto Science Community Annual Holiday Parade, brought to you by Ghetto Science Team Public Television. With me is co-host, D.J. ‘Loose Booty’ McBride of the ‘Loose Booty’s Old School Funk Revue’ on Ghetto Science Radio.” D.J. ‘Loose Booty’ McBride: “Thank you, ‘Qweesha, for allowing me to be a part of this event for the Ghetto Science community. The theme for this year’s parade is ‘From Stimulation to Occupation.’” Boneqweesha Jones: “Break that theme down for the viewers, please.” D.J. ‘Loose Booty’ McBride: “Negative stimulation from stubborn politicians, callus corporations and fear-generating media organizations have caused the angry masses (aka the 99 percent) to start nationwide protests and occupation of Wall Street.” Boneqweesha Jones: “And all of this craziness is happening during the year 2011 ‘Great Recession.’ The first holiday parade float is from the Hustle/ McBride Family Foundation. Both families are the backbone of the Ghetto Science Community.” D.J. ‘Loose Booty’ McBride: “The next float is a great collaboration between the popular businesses and institutions of the Ghetto Science community. The float features Jojo’s Discount Dollar Store, Pork-N-Piggly Supermarket, Rev. Cletus Car Sales Church, Clubb Chicken Wing and the Vegetarian Church, International.” Boneqweesha Jones: “This last float is new to the holiday parade. It’s the Occupy Operation Corporate Backlash with Scooby ‘Angry Black Man’ Rastus, Tipsy Lee the wino, protesters from Occupy Operation Corporate Backlash 12 movement and members of the ‘New Poor’ (aka the Middle Class).”
The War Outside “There’s a war going on outside no man is safe from.” —Prodigy of Mobb Deep
o truer words have been uttered as it relates to this country. There is indeed a war going on right under our noses, and it will at some point land on all our doorsteps. It’s not a battle being waged on a battlefield but one that will challenge our psyches and our hearts, especially during this holiday season. It’s class warfare. A lot of Americans are out of touch from those who have been unfortunate. Who truly knows the plight of the poor among us who lack the things that you or I may take for granted? Sure, a lot of us are charitable during the year, particularly in November and December. But do we really know what it’s like to be poor? Do we really understand and empathize with what impoverished families have to go through every day? It almost seems as if to some politicians want poor people to be poor. Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired, like the “Occupy” protestors? Protest and watch as you’re labeled “lazy,” “shiftless” or “slacker.” Inferences that homeless people like being homeless or that those who live in poverty are “comfortable” with their situation are sad. Those sentiments begin to pick up steam the closer we get to election time. Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich even went so far to say that poor people have no work ethic, and that poor kids don’t know how to make money unless it’s illegal. The fact that he wasn’t soundly booed is amazing. It means that a contingent of voters agree with him. And thus, the war is on. All of us have not been blessed with the same level of success. Period. We all don’t possess the same
talents or the same opportunities. Period. And although our country allows anyone to achieve, the fact is that some of us don’t have the same options. Some kids, some families go to bed hungry many nights in Jackson. Families live in squalor, with no heat in the winter and no air in the summer. In Jackson, some families have few clothes. Many in those households who want to work can’t find it. Many Jacksonians are one paycheck away from being out on the street. The need is real in our city. This holiday season, I implore you: Please don’t listen to those who would have you believe that poor people are just “not applying themselves.” Let’s ensure that the places that serve the less fortunate are able to do so. Donate some toys this Christmas. Give some warm clothes to a homeless shelter. Collect food for the pantries around town. If you don’t wish to go the conventional route, find a family in need and assist them personally. The best way to show you’re thankful for what you have is to give to those who have little. If you’d like to “adopt” a family, contact me through my Facebook page (facebook.com/bradkamikazefranklin). If you’d like to help us refill the pantries at Stewpot and the Salvation Army, please join us Dec. 18 at Dreamz Jxn at 6 p.m. for our annual Artists’ Canned Food Drive. We will be collecting canned goods and other perishable items. If you have a charitable event that you want blasted, follow me on Twitter @kamikaze601. Ending hunger, poverty and homelessness in our city starts with us—black, white, rich, middle class, Republican, Democrat. When the least among us do better, we all do better. Goodwill should be the monarch of this house. Practice it. I think you’ll like it. And that’s the truth ... sho-nuff.
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A Lottery for 3-Year Olds EDITORIAL Managing Editor Ronni Mott Assistant Editor Valerie Wells Reporters R.L. Nave, Elizabeth Waibel Events Editor Latasha Willis Editorial Assistant LaShanda Phillips Deputy Editor Briana Robinson Copy Editor Dustin Cardon Music Listings Editor Natalie Long Fashion Stylist Meredith Sullivan Writers Torsheta Bowen, Quita Bride, Marika Cackett, Scott Dennis, Bryan Flynn, Brandi Herrera, Diandra Hosey, Pamela Hosey, Robyn Jackson, Garrad Lee, Natalie Long, Larry Morrisey, Robin Oâ€™Bryant,Tom Ramsey, Julie Skipper, Ken Stiggers, Rebecca Wright Editorial Interns Brittany Kilgore, Sadaaf Mamoon, Hannah Vick Photography Intern Robert Hollins Consulting Editor JoAnne Prichard Morris
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n 1962, 58 Michigan toddlers won a lottery. To pick up their prize, these 3-yearolds were dropped off at a row of buildings in Ypsilanti, a small town near Ann Arbor, on a September morning. All the children were from disadvantaged backgrounds, and expectations for them had not been particularly high. The lottery had some losers, too. Sixty-five toddlersâ€”neighbors of the othersâ€”didnâ€™t go anywhere on that particular morning. They stayed with their parents, or grandparents or neighbors, just as the winners might have done if not for their good luck. Those lottery winners spent two hours together that first day and began learning a few simple things: how to share their toys nicely, the responsibilities of taking care of a pet, finishing a task on time and keeping their emotions in check. The days after that werenâ€™t much differentâ€”just three hours each morning, interacting with their peers and some adults. After two years, the lottery winners and losers were all back in the same schools, the same neighborhoods, the same churches and the same home environments. Yet the payoff for the winners was astounding. By 2002, when they had turned 40, the winners made more than 30 percent more in income, were far less likely to receive government assistance and were more likely to own their own homes, cars and savings accounts. Girls were much more likely to graduate from high school (84 percent vs. 32 percent) and half as likely to be unwed mothers. Boys were much less likely to have been arrested (28 percent vs. 52 percent), be incarcerated at age 27 or be habitual drug users. For many winners, this lottery was the break they needed to get out of a cycle of poverty. By the numbers, the estimated return to society is $16 for every $1 spent paying for these toddlersâ€™ unearned prize. That lottery prize? A simple preschool program. These are the results from a highly regarded study called the Perry Preschool Program that was started in the 1960s, in which 3-year-old children in a disadvantaged community were randomly chosen by lottery to attend less than three hours of structured preschool a day for two years. The researchers then followed the participants for the next 40 years, and they also followed the children who didnâ€™t attend the preschool classes. Many Mississippians have concerns about publicly funded preschools. Isnâ€™t it just fancy baby-sitting? Is it a waste of taxpayer money? Actually, quality preschool looks like smart business. The evidence from Perry and other studies proves that children learn â€œsoft skillsâ€? that lead to a successful lifeâ€”responsibility, temperance, and conflict resolution, among many othersâ€”in the early stages of life, at roughly the same time that children are learning language skills. And just as with language skills, these abilities
are harder to absorb as time goes on. Teach a 3-yearold Spanish? No problem at allâ€”they are little sponges. Wait until heâ€™s 23? Hay muy dificil. Teaching someone to show up on time, play nicely, or hold his tongue at 23 is just as difficult. Our state doesnâ€™t have the luxury of trying to fix it all on the back end. Most Mississippians have personal connections to individuals and families who are in the cycle of poverty with insufficient education, ill health and broken families, whether blacks in the Delta or our urban areas, or whites in rural counties like Perry and Tishomingo. By the time theyâ€™ve reached adulthood, the compounding effect has piled up against them. We can break these cycles. The benefit of investing in â€œsoft skillsâ€? early is clear. Little advantages grow into big advantages, while disadvantages might get a counterweight. The Perry study used less than three hours per day of preschool for two years before returning the children to their â€œnormalâ€? (i.e. difficult) environments for the next 12 years of education. Imagine what might happen if we planted the seeds of success statewide as early as possible and then continued to nurture them. The investment in todayâ€™s children will pay off for their children, so that as we continue to take early childhood education seriously in future decades, we will see our investments compound. Thatâ€™s good news for all our kids. Thankfully, early childhood education is gathering consensus as a worthy focus for Mississippi. The Mississippi Economic Council, which serves as the Chamber of Commerce for the state, has included â€œthe creation of a quality early childhood education and development systemâ€? as a major goal in its just-announced Blueprint Mississippi framework of priorities across the state. The Councilâ€™s leadership training program, Leadership Mississippi, targeted early childhood education as a focus of its community efforts. The Barksdale Reading Institute, founded by former Netscape CEO Jim Barksdale, was created because one of the most successful businessmen in the history of our state concluded that we most effectively address Mississippiâ€™s biggest challenges by investing in our smallest citizens. This is an issue we can all get behind. Increase marriage rates and reduce welfare rolls, and Republicans can show that statewide early childhood education has paid off. When wages rise and our prison population declines, Democrats can claim success. Right and Left, conservative and liberal, white and blackâ€”we all want to see our children succeed. Letâ€™s encourage our public officials of every stripe to make sure each child wins the lottery: quality preschool everywhere in Mississippi. Henry Jones is a native of Richton, Miss., and is a partner in Iron View Capital, a quantitative hedge fund located in Ridgeland. He is thankful his two kids have won the lottery, but thatâ€™s not good enough.
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