May 30 - June 5, 2012
May 30 - June 5, 2012
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contents VIRGINIA SCHREIBER
6 Ramp Down The Jackson Redevelopment Authority says the Capitol Street ramp has to go, but where and how? VIRGINIA SCHREIBER
Cover illustration by Kristin Brenemen
Stephanie Parker-Weaver made a Hobson’s choice and came out a winner with a mission. COURTESY WARNER BROS.
kelly engelmann “Anti-aging is not just about how a person looks outside; it is about the inside—how to slow down aging through healthy lifestyles,” Engelmann says. The Enhanced Wellness clinic focuses on metabolic and nutritional medicine through treatment based on lifestyle changes. It conducts female and male sex hormone tests, stress hormone tests and tests to evaluate nutritional deficiencies. The clinic also focuses on Alzheimer’s and dementia prevention by suggesting improvements patients can make to their diets, exercise and sleep. In April 2011, the clinic started Precision laser-therapy treatment for hair loss in both men and women. Engelmann says she has been able to help women restore and regrow their hair in as little as six months with no side effects. “The best part of my day at the clinic is patient interaction, hearing them say that they feel better and hearing about what they have learned about their bodies,” Engelmann says. Engelmann is married to Branch Dildine, a retired military veteran. They have four children: Emily, 22; Erin, 19; Zachary, 18; and Ethan, 16; and one grandson, Cooper, who is 5 months old. —Tam Curley
30 Spin of Vinyl Records—not CDs or MP3s— provide a rich sonic experience for listeners. Get you some!
42 Traveling Girl Being comfortable and dressing with travel savvy doesn’t mean you have to give up style.
She’s more than just a familiar face with a fancy job title; she’s helping Mississippians heal and age gracefully. Kelly Engelmann, owner and family nurse practitioner at Enhanced Wellness in Jackson, is dedicated now, more than ever, to women’s health. “Women set the tone in the household for health,” Engelmann says. “When the woman is treated, she learns how to take care of herself and her family. … If I can treat the woman, I have really treated the whole family.” Engelmann, 44, grew up in Sandersville, a small town near Laurel and Hattiesburg. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Mississippi and her master’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi. “I always wanted to do something in the medical field,” she says. “I am in a profession that supports continuous growth in learning.” Engelmann recently earned a master’s degree in metabolic and nutritional medicine from the University of South Florida Morsani School of Medicine. As a student in Florida, she had the opportunity to be part of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, a nonprofit organization that helps educate practitioners on anti-aging.
4 ..............Editor’s Note 4 .................... Sorensen 6 ............................ Talk 10 ........................ Tech 12 ................... Editorial 12 ....................... Letters 12 ........................... Day 13 ................. Opinion 14 ............ Cover Story 20 ................ Diversion 22 ........................ Film 24 .................... 8 Days 26 ..................... Events 29 ...................... Music 31 ....... Music Listings 32 ..................... Sports 34 ................ Parenting 35 ....................... Food 38 ................. Organics 39 ................ Astrology 41 .................. Hitched 42 ......... Fly Shopping
Heart of Life
Jacob Fuller Reporter Jacob Fuller is a former student at Ole Miss. When not reporting, he splits his time between playing music and photographing anything in sight. He covers the city for the JFP. He wrote the cover story.
Tam Curley Tam Curley loves telling about her move from liberal California to begin a new life with her hubby and daughter in conservative Mississippi. She is an Arkansas native and enjoys time with her two lab puppies. She wrote the Jacksonian
Diandra Hosey Diandra Hosey played women’s basketball at Jones County Junior College and Mississippi College. She received her law degree from Mississippi College School of Law. She is an associate with the law offices of Matt Greenbaum. She wrote the sports feature.
Piko Ewoodze Editorial intern Piko Ewoodze is a an out-of-towner from a bunch of different places, (New York, Wisconsin, Ohio, Ghana, West Africa) who is thoroughly enjoying his time in Jackson. He wrote a music feature.
Jessica Mizell Jessica Mizell’s interests include watching “Love & Hip Hop,” crawfish boils, couponing and her poodle Lola Belle. She is the current JFP New Orleans liaison. She wrote a food feature.
Nicole Marquez In 2008, Nicole Marquez suffered a fall six stories from the roof of her apartment building, resulting in debilitating injuries. Now, Nicole teaches acting and choreography and pursuing a career in motivational speaking. She wrote the Hitched feature.
Genevieve Legacy Genevieve Legacy is an artist and writer who relocated from New York last August. She lives in Brandon with her husband and son and one of Mississippi’s laziest dogs, a piebald hound named Dawa. She wrote a theater feature.
May 30 - June 5, 2012
Web Producer Korey Harrion is a saxophonist who runs a small computer-repair business. He enjoys reading, writing and playing music, origami and playing video games. He loves animals, especially dogs.
by Donna Ladd, Editor-in-Chief
The Pursuit of Excellence
very now and then, I have to lighten up in this space. Rather than taking on the troubles of the world or trying to pull at your heart strings with serious commentary about something amiss in the state of Mississippi, I feel a calling to talk about the Jackson Free Press and our staff this week. In two simple words: They. Rock. It’s even easier than usual for me to say that now: Just over a week ago, the staff gathered for a full day on a sunny Saturday at the Duncan Gray Center to talk about the future of our paper and our business. A few days later, we found out that we’re winning six national and regional journalism awards this summer, meaning that we’ve won nearly three dozen since we launched a decade ago this summer. But first the retreat. For the first half, the staff sat in rocking chairs on the porch at the “big house” as Todd and I related the story of the JFP. We explained how we started the paper with no investment in a one-bedroom apartment on Fortification Street. We all laughed at the stories of the power being turned off just as the issue was about to go to the printer and groaned at The ClarionLedger’s “TDN” effort to control our distribution routes (they failed). We talked about how our early controversial covers kept Todd awake, but how he never tried to get us not to do a needed story even if advertisers might not like it (and how he quickly adopted his “do the right thing and wait” mantra to being a newspaper publisher). More than anything, we all bonded over why we are all here: not for a job but to tell the truth and to use it to build community and make our city (and, thus, state) the best, and then to help the world know it. I knew the staff felt the same way we do about our “why”—we hire for passion for the mission—but it wasn’t until we turned the retreat over to them that we felt how deep their passion. They broke into groups to come up with our new “why statement” as we go into our second decade. After bringing lots of options to the flipchart and discussing and voting, we settled on: “Connecting community through truth.” We then added “… and the pursuit of excellence” to show our devotion to helping our city and state be the best we can (and throw it in the faces of those who expect the worst from us). The “why” is still a work-in-progress, but it humbled me that our staff—from editorial to design to business and sales—were so united in doing what we do. In the afternoon, we moved to a conference room to figure out how we’re going to do our why—our new JFP Manifesto of our core values. Here are 13 top vote-getters: 1. Encourage progress. 2. Tell the truth as completely as possible 3. Be fearless. 4. Surround ourselves with diversity. 5. Never say “it’s not my job.” 6. Motivate others to action. 7. Strengthen the local economy. 8. Teach as well as learn.
9. Transcend the typical. 10. Tell the untold story. 11. Enjoy what we do. 12. Engage in no drama and no gossip. 13. Go get it; don’t wait on it. We’re still working on the manifesto as well, but their efforts that day—done with focus, humor and lots of joy—really inspired me. And I don’t know about you, but I like a little inspiration every day, and the first place I get it is from the people who choose to work here and to work harder than they ever have. I so appreciate these folks and what they do. That feeling was no stronger than on Tuesday when we found out that we’re winning three Association of Alternative Newsmedia awards this year—to add to the 22 we’ve won since 2004. We compete against remarkable writers and reporters from across the U.S. and Canada in this competition, and we’re humbled every time they announce our names. It truly means the world to us. This year, we are winning a public-service award for our Personhood coverage last fall. Winners for that one are several staff members plus several “grassroots mamas” who wrote columns during the lead-up to the election: Valerie Wells, Elizabeth Waibel, Lacey McLaughlin, Lori Garrott, Shannon Barbour, Stacey Spiehler and Funmi Franklin. I am included in the group for writing one of the editorials, but those women did the heavy lifting. We are thrilled that freelance columnist Tom Head, who has helped the JFP in so many ways over the years, will win an award for his political columns about the state Legislature. It’s about time someone recognized him for his excellent contributions here. And I was tickled that we are getting an
Innovation/Format Buster award for GOOD Ideas issue dedicated to crime prevention last fall. The GOOD issue is one of our favorites—and most difficult due to its emphasis on infographics. That issue had very important content, including studies on why the typical crime sensationalism by media actually makes communities less safe. Flip through that issue online at jfp.ms/crime. We find out the final award placement on June 8 so keep your fingers crossed for us. As if that wasn’t great enough news, right before I went to bed the same night, I checked email on my phone and saw that we are also winning three Green Eyeshades Awards, presented by the southeastern region (eight states) of the Society of Professional Journalists. We’ve done well in these awards since we started competing two years ago. In two contests, we’ve won six awards, including several first places. This year, all the women named above, plus R.L. Nave and Adam Lynch, are named for a public-service award for our Personhood coverage. Contributing Editor Valerie Wells is winning a coveted feature-writing award for a collection of her best stories in 2011, including a hard-hitting story about the rise and fall of The Clarion-Ledger and her in-depth Personhood features. And I am honored to be getting another serious commentary award from SPJ for the kinds of column that I usually write for this space. We have an amazing team, and there is nothing like being honored nationally and regionally by your peers. It’s even more sweet when you do it from the middle of Mississippi. Cheers, team. And thanks to all of you for your support. Follow me on Twitter @donnerkay.
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To Dr. Carl Reddix, the political camps
news, culture & irreverence
Thursday, May 24 The New Orleans Times-Picayune announces it will drop its circulation from daily publication to three editions per week. â€Ś The Department of Labor says weekly applications for unemployment benefits dipped slightly, suggesting hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate. Friday, May 25 A judge approves a settlement between the Southern Poverty Law Center and Jackson Public Schools. JPS has agreed to stop handcuffing students for non-criminal behavior and to ban handcuffing students under the age of 13. â€Ś JPS students celebrate the last day of the school year. Saturday, May 26 Shyeuna Vance remains in critical condition after being hit by a car while helping push a car off Highway 80 in Jackson Friday morning. The wreck severely injured Shyeuna, forcing doctors to amputate her leg, and killed her sister, Kyeuna. â€Ś Mississippi State Universityâ€™s baseball team defeats Kentucky, advancing to the SEC Tournament championship game. Sunday, May 27 Syrian authorities blame foreign terrorists for a massacre that killed more than 100 people in the town of Houla on Friday, including more than 30 children. Witnesses blame thugs sympathetic to the Syrian government. â€Ś MSU beats Vanderbilt 3-0, winning the SEC Tournament.
May 30 - June 5, 2012
Monday, May 28 Americans observe Memorial Day. The state Highway Patrol says no fatalities occurred on state and federal highways in Mississippi over Memorial Day weekend this year. â€Ś Alcorn State University announces it has hired Jay Hopson as its football coach, making him the first white head football coach in the history of the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
Tuesday, May 29 The United States and other countries expel Syrian diplomats in response to the Houla attack. â€Ś Facebookâ€™s stock price dips below $30. Get news updates at jfpdaily.com.
in the abortion debate are far from compromise. p8
JRA Says Capitol Street Ramp Must Go
by Jacob Fuller
omething needs to be done with the Jackson Place parking garage ramp if the city is going to make Capitol Street two-way. Jackson Redevelopment Authority board members, however, donâ€™t seem to know just what to do. JRA owns the building, located at the corner of East Capitol and Farish streets, and the ground-level retail space below it. The ramp serves as an entrance to the garage from Capitol Street. The City has been working toward making Capitol Street a two-way street again for a few years. Many Jacksonians remember it that way, when it served as a hub of commerce in the city, before the Interstate and suburban shopping malls. The $16.1-million project will include removing the Jackson Place ramp, as well as pavement and water line improvements. The ramp blocks the ground floor of the Jackson Place building from street view hurting the potential for successful retail space in the building, JRA board members said at the May 23 meeting. In 2010, the state awarded JRA a $2 million grant to fund internalizing the ramp, the Jackson Free Press reported in July of that year. However, some JRA members said at last weekâ€™s meeting that they do not want to internalize the ramp because it would require losing a portion of the buildingâ€™s potential retail space. Also, according to estimates by
Wednesday, May 23 Southaven Sen. Merle Flowers resigns from the Legislature, saying he wants to spend more time with his family. â€Ś Gov. Phil Bryant signs a bill that will require schools to screen children in kindergarten and first grade for dyslexia.
Mississippi was the first state to grant property rights to married women. The law passed after a 1837 court case in which a half-white, half-Chickasaw woman named Betsy Love took her husbandâ€™s creditors to court, claiming she should not be forced to turn over a slave named Toney to settle her husbandâ€™s debts.
JRA wants to remove this ramp to its parking garage on Capitol Street, but doesnâ€™t know yet where to build a replacement or how to fully fund the change.
former garage and retail space tenant Parkway Properties, it would cost about $1.8 million of the available $2 million just to prepare the building for the new ramp. That would leave far too little money in the budget to build it. JRA board member John Reeves said in an interview Friday that preparing the building for an internal ramp would cost even more than Parkway anticipated. â€œThereâ€™s about $2.8 million worth of in-
frastructure thatâ€™s got to be improvedâ€”water, gas lines and so forthâ€”to accommodate (the ramp),â€? Reeves said, adding that the board may look to local bonds, federal or state grants or their own revenue to finance internalizing the ramp. The second roadblock to the construction is the buildingâ€™s new tenant, Hertz, who RAMP, see page 7
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news, culture & irreverence
RAMP, from page 6
recently purchased all of Parkway Propertiesâ€™ holdings in Jackson. Parkway helped with previous plans for the rampâ€™s removal, but now that Hertz is renting and maintaining the building, JRA has to get them to agree to any changes. JRA attorney Pernila Brown said at the meeting that it makes more sense to get Hertz involved in the planning than to present them with a finished proposal and hope they accept it. Thatâ€™s why she presented a proposal to the JRA board for a memorandum of understanding that gets Hertz involved from the start. â€œThe plan, if you will, will ultimately be devised by the working efforts of the city, Hertz, JRA and any other party that might be involved, since they all have interest,â€? Brown said. The memorandum of understanding includes an agreement that Hertz will not seek compensation for any parking spaces lost in the new design, as long as no more than 40 spaces are lost. The involved parties will dis-
cuss the plans and ultimately have to agree to sacrificing parking spaces or retail space. One idea mentioned at the meeting was moving the ramp to Farish Street. That plan could be done for approximately $2 million, the amount JRA has budgeted for the project. Doing so could impede development between the Jackson Convention Center and the proposed Farish Street entertainment district that the JRA has been promoting, Brown said. â€œI donâ€™t know what weâ€™ll do,â€? Reeves said at the meeting. â€œTo me, moving one ramp from Capitol to Farish is just Tweedledee and Tweedledum. What we want to do is get rid of those nasty looking ramps and beautify the area.â€? The JRA board approved the memorandum of understanding to move forward with the city and Hertz on plans to remove the ramp. â€œIâ€™m concerned with how Jackson looks,â€? Reeves said. â€œWhoever approved that (ramp) was just not thinking. We need to make the city look good.â€? Comment at www.jfp.ms.
City Acts to De-sludge Lagoons by R.L. Nave
Chick Ball Happy Hour Thursday, May 31, 6-8 p.m. Hal & Malâ€™s Oyster Bar Sign up to help and/or donate and weâ€™ll buy you a drink and feed you munchies. Free, so come on! Details: 601.362.6121 x. 16
To Help Fund A Rape Crisis Center Items Needed: Original Art, Gift Certificates, Corporate Items, Gifts (big & small), Monetary Donations, Chick Toys & Decor Sponsorships Available: Imperial Highness $5,000, Diva $2,500, Goddess $1,000, Queen $500, Princess $250, Chick $50
If we receive your donation by July 11, it will be featured in our big Chick Ball Gift Guide on July 25.
SAVE THE DATE Saturday, July 28, 2012 Hal & Malâ€™s Red Room Cover $5 | 18+ To donate or volunteer: 601-362-6121 ext 16 or firstname.lastname@example.org For more information: jfpchickball.com â€˘ follow us on twitter @jfpchickball
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by Elizabeth Waibel
Dr. Carl Reddix Talks About Political Realities
May 30 - June 5, 2012
You said you understand the political realities; I wonder if you could flesh
that out a little bit. What do you think that political reality looks like? Well, I think the elected officials have to play to their base, whoever they think that is. And the question is whether our state leaders choose to be servants of the fringe or statesmen for us all. … All politicians have to listen to their base and make sure they get re-elected; ultimately, that’s their central focus. But when you have major issues, as we do in our state, especially regarding health care and the needs of its citizens, I just believe
even an issue for me. I had forgotten that I was even their provider because I don’t get called very often—just a few times, a couple times within the last 10 years. … To answer your question: Is there any compromise? Obviously not, if you don’t want any of the community physicians to provide needed care during a major complication where you need hospitalization. … It’s either they use someone like me who said, “Call me if there’s an issue, and I’ll take care of them,” or you just show up at the emergency room, and one of my colleagues is going to be forced to take care of them.
r. Carl Reddix wasn’t looking for national media attention when he agreed to serve on the Mississippi Board of Health, but if it has people talking about public-health policy in Mississippi, he’ll take it. Last summer, former Gov. Haley Barbour nominated Reddix, an OB/GYN at Reddix Medical Group, to serve on the state Board of Health. Reddix served on the board until April, when he learned that Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves had not referred his confirmation to the Senate Health Committee because of his ties to the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Mississippi’s only abortion clinic. “(Reeves) felt that his association with the abortion clinic was not appropriate in a role that would shape health policy for the state,” Laura Hipp, a spokeswoman for Reeves, told the Jackson Free Press. Gov. Phil Bryant has since appointed another person to the board. Reddix has agreed to care for the abortion clinic’s patients if they need to go to a hospital. He has what are called “hospital admitting privileges.” If that phrase sounds familiar, it’s because Bryant recently signed HB 1390 into law, which would require all doctors who perform abortions at abortion clinics to have those privileges. Supporters of the law say admitting privileges will help protect women’s health. They also say it will likely force the clinic to close. Although he doesn’t take losing his seat on the Board of Health personally, Reddix says his situation shows that the lieutenant governor has too much say in the confirmation process, which should be the Senate’s job. “I understand the political realities, so that’s not my issue,” he said. Reddix, 53, has no intention of remaining silent about public-health issues in Mississippi, however, even if it’s not from a seat on the board. A Biloxi native, he graduated from Tougaloo College and moved to the northeast, earning degrees from Tufts University School of Medicine and Harvard University. He completed his residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He always wanted to come back to Mississippi, though, and eventually returned to the state to open a practice with his wife, Natalie Brookins-Reddix, and his brother, Michael. “As a provider and (as someone) in public health, I think I see things that most people ignore, and my job is to bring them to the forefront and work toward making some of these incremental, positive changes,” he said. He lives in Jackson and has three children, Joseph, Lacey and Nia.
Dr. Carl Reddix says even relatively small investments to improve the health of Mississippians can have a positive impact on businesses.
that it’s an easy place for people to hold off their political base and much easier to be statesmen. Do you think there are any issues or priorities in the abortion debate that both sides could agree on? I would have thought that the issue which they brought against me would have been one of those issues. My participation was to make sure that any young woman who had a major complication had easy access to the hospital, which is what I provided. … In all honestly, I have had this, as I call it, loose affiliation for so long (more than a decade) and got so few calls that it was not
With the amount of news coverage that we in the media give to the abortion debate, what are some of the other health issues that we are missing? In our state, just look at what’s bad, and we are the worst. We’ve got the highest infant-mortality rate of anyone in the country; we’ve got the worst adult-onset diabetes problems; we’ve got the worst obesity, the worst hypertension, the worst kidney disease, … the highest percentage of people in our population on dialysis—as a result, usually, of hypertension or diabetes. On top of those bad things … the difference between white health and black health is worsening and not improving, so that’s a
major issue from a public-health perspective, and it costs our state a lot of money. In what way does it cost our state a lot of money? On all sorts of different functions. If you’re an employer and you’ve got—plain and simple—if you’ve just got too many black people in your employment group, and the employer is paying for health care, just because of the differential between white morbidity and black morbidity on disease, it’s going to cost you more to take care of your employee population. … On top of that, when people get sick, obviously they take off work and someone has to pay more to have those shifts covered. … For the African American male, our life expectancy in Mississippi is 64.8 (years), so technically, we’ve got no reason to pay into Social Security because on average, we’re not going to make it. … For the black male in Mississippi, we don’t reach retirement age, for all intents and purposes. That’s a major problem. For the most part, while we die at 64-point-something, we’re sick 10, 15 years before that, for part of the highest (productive) output years, when we know the most, have seniority, when we can be the most beneficial to our employers. Are there any areas where Mississippi is making progress, or is it all bad news? No, clearly not. But unfortunately, we always slip when things are good, based on the leadership du jour. From a public-health perspective, from what I know, things like tuberculosis, like our immunization rates (are better than before). We were best in the country in teen smoking prevention before all the money was spent in the tobacco trust fund. We know how to do good things with limited resources; there’s no question about it. The problem is that we are not consistent over long periods of time in making sure that we address an issue and eliminate (it) or at least make dramatic improvements before we move on. … Almost every place where we could really have targeted efforts, we are not doing it. And all our schools are yet one of those examples where you can have a lasting impact with a little bit of money. (It takes) more up-front expenditure, but the rewards are immense on the back end— more dramatic than the tax abatements and up-front money that we use with attracting these large employer groups like Nissan and Toyota. If we just had that sort of public-health vision, we would never be last. We would be among the best, healthiest citizens in the United States. Read more of the JFP’s interview with Dr. Reddix at www.jfp.ms.
by Ronni Mott
A Heart for Survivors 0.8 millimeters or about the same diameter as a drinking straw, the cancer had spread to her lymphatic system. The cancer was one of the most aggressive she could have.
curly locks to the drugs, she said. When her husband, Cordell Weaver, put a lock of her treasured tresses in her hand, the full brunt of what was happening hit her. â€œI cried those hot tears of pain,â€? she said, when she realized that she might not survive her cancer. Facing her mortal, and nowbald, image in the mirror, she was petrified. â€œI finally got enough courage, and I peeked with one eye and saw what I looked like, and I said, â€˜Hmmm. Not so bad,â€™â€? she said. â€œAnd then I opened both eyes and smiled broadly.â€? It was, a friendâ€™s son told her, a rebirth. Rebirth Alliance (rebirth Stephanie Parker-Weaverâ€™s Rebirth Alliance hosts a day of fun for cancer alliance.org) is survivors and their families June 2. the nonprofit organization â€œDoc, am I going to die?â€? she asked. Parker-Weaver began soon after that. Its Lackey told her that with hard-hitting purpose, she said, is to educate the meditreatmentâ€”18 months of weekly chemo- cal community, the pharmaceutical intherapy plus another six to eight weeks of dustry and the public about breast cancer, radiationâ€”her odds were about 50 percent specifically the rare and aggressive type to 60 percent for recovery. Her first doctors of cancer complicated by the Her2 gene. had been right about her having cancer, but This type of cancer is most often seen in they didnâ€™t realize it was so bad. African American women and the AshkeUndaunted, Parker-Weaver began nazi Jewish community. chemotherapy. In February of that year, Beyond its educational aspect, the she had a hair-cutting party. She didnâ€™t organization also helps women and their want to go through slowly losing her long families navigate what can be an intimidat-
tephanie Parker-Weaver has looked death right in the eye and said, â€œOut of my way!â€? In 2007, she began to feel unwell, she said. She was inexplicably losing weight, was feeling nauseous and had developed what she called a shiny, itchy spot on her left breast. She brushed it off as sadness despite the protestations of her family and friends. Then, in December of that year, an old friend, Leroy Walker, who hadnâ€™t seen her in months, told her, â€œStephanie, youâ€™re sick.â€? That finally scared her, she said, enough to schedule a physical and a mammogram. That test showed some abnormalities in her breastâ€”like 12 grains of sand, ParkerWeaverâ€™s doctor told her. It turned out to be cancer, she said, but they had caught it early enough to give her an excellent prognosis for a full recovery. In January 2008, she underwent a lumpectomy. She decided to go to a different doctor for follow-up treatment: Dr. Van Lackey at the Hederman Cancer Center of Baptist Health Systems. She expected a straightforward and short course of treatment, with little chemotherapy or radiation. â€œDr. Lackey began with, â€˜Stephanie, this is not good,â€™â€? she said, to which ParkerWeaver responded incredulously, â€œAre you sure youâ€™re looking at my chart?â€? The doctor who first examined her had led her to believe everything would be just fine, with a 99-percent to 100-percent cure rate. Lackey rattled off a list of things that tilted the odds of recovery against her: She was young for breast cancer, 45 at the time, African American, had started her menstrual cycle before age 12. She was ER negative, he told her, a condition that makes her unable to take the most effective types of anti-cancer medications. She also had an unusual gene abnormality called Her2â€”human epidermal growth factor receptor 2. But the thing that disturbed the doctor even more was that, although the tumor was small, less than
ing and frightening experience. Volunteers go with patients to doctorsâ€™ appointments to ensure they get answers to the tough questions about prognosis and treatment. Parker-Weaver says they also provide relief for caregivers. On June 2, the Rebirth Alliance will celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day with a day of family-friendly activities at the Jackson Medical Mall from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The free event will include games, workshops for survivors and caregivers, an â€œin loving memoryâ€? tree, and a balloon release. This is a day of celebration for all survivors, which Parker-Weaver said includes those with active cancer as well as those in remission. In June 2008, after eight rounds of chemotherapy, Parker-Weaverâ€™s heart began to fail. She was diagnosed with congestive heart failure due to the toxic chemo drugs for the cancer; fluid in the sac surrounding the heart had substantially decreased her heartâ€™s ability to pump effectively. Dr. James Warnock of the Jackson Heart Clinic gave her more bad news: The treatment she was getting to save her from cancer was destroying her heart. Treating the heart condition could save her life, but continuing the chemotherapy for her cancer was out of the question. She stopped the chemotherapy. â€œI didnâ€™t have the option to take care of my cancer,â€? she said. In January 2009, after the heart drugs proved ineffective, she had a pacemaker and defibrillator installed. Her breast cancer had disappeared. Four years later, Parker-Weaver remains cancer free. She continues to sport a shaved head, however, in solidarity with her sisters and brothers wracked by the disease. She is convinced that God healed her for a purpose. â€œA cancer diagnosis does not mean a death sentence,â€? she said. For additional information about National Cancer Survivors Day, call 601-966-7252 or visit rebirthalliance.org. Volunteers are needed and sponsorships are available.
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Bing, Local.com, YP, Yelp, etc.) Once you’ve got some email addresses, what are you going to do with them? Here’s what you shouldn’t do: If it’s more than a few dozen addresses, don’t send them as “CCs” or “BCCs” straight from the store’s email account. You could find yourself in a bind, where COURTESY MAILCHIMP.COM
am surprised when I find a local business or organization—restaurant, retailer, nonprofit—that isn’t using an email newsletter service to reach their loyal customers and clients. Email newsletters offer a wonderful opportunity to follow up with clients, reminding them of sales, trunk shows, happy hours, bands, giving opportunities and more. Building this sort of “club” mentality is an important part of your sales funnel, resulting in longer-term customers who feel a bond with your brand. Advertising, marketing, signage and sales fill the top of the funnel—bringing in people who know only a little about your business and who hopefully have a good experience that first time. The next step, though, is to filter down to those folks who want to get to know you better and engage with them so that you can get them to come back. Part of that strategy should be good email newsletters. First, you’ve got to get the addresses. For retail, I suggest an opt-in at the cash register; for restaurants, put a simple reply card (name and email) in their check holder. If you’ve got a low-fi setup for transactions, you can simply ask your customer to fill out a card with their email address on it or to drop a card in a fish bowl. Tell them you’re signing them up for your newsletter and give them a rough idea of the frequency. (“We send out a newsletter every week with our lunch specials,” or “We send out the newsletter whenever we get a new shipment of shoes, plus to tell you about our monthly sales.”) If your cash register is a little higher-tech, you might ask if your customer wants their receipt emailed to them, and, if they say “yes,” if they’d also like to sign up for the newsletter. Other options include a giveaway or coupon in exchange for the email address, or you could post QR codes on signage in the store so that smartphone owners can sign up for the newsletter on a whim. Of course, you’ll want to put a sign-up form (which your software will help you create) on your website and on your social media landing pages, as well as any directory listings that you’ve claimed (Google,
Email newsletter software like MailChimp offers pre-designed templates to make your marketing a little easier.
other people’s email services blacklist your account for sending “spam.” You could also get in trouble with your own ISP for sending too much email at once. Instead, sign up for an email marketing service; not only do they handle the behindthe-scenes work, but you’ll get templates, support, advice and in many cases, additional features that you can add when you need them. At the JFP we use two different services. Constant Contact, which we are using for JFP Daily (constantcontact.com), is certainly making a play to be the mindshare leader. In fact, they’ve just published their own book, called Engagement Marketing (engagementmarketing.com) that offers advice on exactly what I’m talking about—moving people from new customers to engaged members of your “club.” Constant Contact offers full-fledged email service, including the ability to build
multiple lists of email addresses, creative emails and newsletters with attractive templates, and tracking and reporting features so you can see what works and what doesn’t. They also offer event marketing and management (it’s what we use for RSVPs to the Best of Jackson party) so that you can send out invitations and reminders, and generate a list of RSVPs at the door. The other service I use is MailChimp (mailchimp.com), which is noteworthy because of how well it integrates with a number of other web applications such as Drupal, WordPress, all sorts of CRM, or Customer Relationship Management software, GoToMeeting, FreshBooks accounting, and many more. That means we can enter customers once in software that’s used to capture them as leads and then moved over to MailChimp to actually fulfill that lead. Another feature I like in MailChimp is the Mail Beamer, which enables you to send emails to MailChimp that are then broadcasted to your list. That’s handy when you don’t want to go through the whole process of putting together a newsletter via template, but you want to get something out to your list quickly. MailChimp also offers RSS to Email that can send out email alerts whenever you add blog entries on your website. MailChimp offers some fun mobile services, like an off-line sign-up feature for the iPad, enabling you to gather email addresses while you’re working show booths or outdoor festivals and fold those folks into your marketing system. These are only two of the many email services available. Find one in your price range with features that appeal to you; that’s half the battle. The other half is to offer more than sales and sales pitches—you need to offer value in your newsletter as well, such as tips on flower arranging or fashion styling or wine pairings or legal need-to-knows. Offer a little insider information in your “club newsletter” and you’re on your way to creating a fanbase that helps you build and sustain your business. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
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Public schools do more than educate children. They measure a cityâ€™s pride. They reflect community. They predict the social and economic well-being of a cityâ€™s future. For 20 years, Parents for Public Schools of Jackson has worked to keep our public schools strong, to empower parents as leaders for positive change, and to engage community support of our public schools.
Founding Chapter, Parents for Public Schools, 1989 200 N. Congress, Suite 500, Jackson, MS 39201
Join us. For our city. For our children. For our future.
opining, grousing & pontificating
Getting Past the Rhetoric of Hate
ere in Mississippi, our history is filled with people, events and creations that stir pride in us. Sadly, our history also contains wrongs, violations and prejudices that cast a long, shameful shadow over our state. We are all happy to boast of the state’s unparalleled musical history, the rich literary catalog of its authors, or the sports stars that came from our high schools or colleges. Most of us rarely, however, bring up our state’s important—and embarrassing—role in the implementation and continuation of slavery and the institutional racism that followed. In history classes, teachers tell us about slavery, the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement. We read the stories in our history books and see the black-and-white photographs, but the stories seem so long gone that they often leave us searching for their relevance in today’s Mississippi. To understand our history, though, is to understand our present. A quick look at the divided demographics of neighborhoods in Jackson and its suburbs will show that the institutional racial separation of our past still has a lasting effect today, as do the disproportionate rates of black incarceration and divided families. And as some neighborhoods see more integration, Jacksonians, mostly white ones, continue to move out of the city all together, often on the heels of hysterical, over-hyped crime reporting. If we ever hope to move past the rhetoric of heritage versus hate, the self-segregation of our neighborhoods or the disproportionate number of white-owned businesses in a 79-percent black city, we must look at our past and acknowledge that many of our forebears—our fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers—made terrible mistakes when it came to issues of race. If we do not strive to become well versed in those mistakes, we are bound to commit them all over again. Mississippi citizens and government officials alike are working together to bring a Civil Rights Museum and an African American Heritage and Cultural Center to Jackson (see cover story, page 14). Such institutions will bring our city and state much-needed education beyond what we get from textbooks and classroom lectures. Seeing slaves’ confined quarters, hearing their traditional songs, and experiencing other firsthand examples of how African Americans came to this country, fought for their freedom and later fought for equal rights will help move our society past the hatred and indifference that allowed slavery and segregation in the first place. Multiplying our scarce tourism dollars with a nationally ranked museum or two wouldn’t hurt, either.
CHATTER Join the conversation at www.jfp.ms.
‘Bryant Signs Voter ID Bill’ “If I were a snowball descending into hell, I would feel better about my prospects than the chances that this voter ID bill has of surviving federal review. Bryant can complain that the intent of the bill has nothing to do with race, though many of us would disagree. … It should be quite easy for DOJ to demonstrate that this law will disproportionately impact African Americans, and then the new voter ID law will be consigned to the dustbin of restrictions Mississippi has tried and failed to place on voting rights. It is, I am afraid, a rather full dustbin.” —Brian C. Johnson
May 30 - June 5, 2012
“Phil Bryant failed to mention a relevant fact: 75 percent of African American voters voted against the referendum in November. The bill passed because 82 percent of white voters voted for it. That won’t be the reason for the rejection, but it certainly won’t help.” —Iwrite Poetry “I’m for making sure our elections are free of fraud, but the fact is that voter fraud is extremely rare. You have a better chance of getting struck by lightning than of someone committing fraud. Plus, in order to commit fraud, one has to actually register and then vote. In most cases, the perpetrator doesn’t get past the registration stage. Even many voter ID proponents can’t really name specific incidents of fraud. It’s just a ploy to decrease the voting populace. That’s very un12 American.” —Golden Eagle
Make Charter Improvements Now
n a recent column, (“Why Charter Schools Died,” Vol. 10, Issue 34, May 2-8, 2012) state Rep. Cecil Brown laid out the many flaws with the charterschool bill proposed this past legislative session. Indeed, he made it sound like it would have been an act of irresponsible deregulation verging on corporatism. But before adopting a better charter system, Mississippi should take a deeper look at the value charter schools provide. First, they are testing grounds for new pedagogical approaches. Charter schools can, and typically do, use a strong culture to implement more creative approaches to curriculum, rigid systems of discipline, and extensive parent and community involvement than traditional public schools. Second, they replace low-performing public schools, often (but not always) producing superior results. Mississippi doesn’t need its own charter system to learn innovative best practices; for that, we can just look over the border to Arkansas, Memphis and beyond. We can already study their most successful approaches, and we should work to replicate them in Mississippi public schools. As for the second benefit of charter schools, there is no doubt that some neighborhoods would be well served if a charter school opened in them. More importantly, students’ lives could be transformed by the quality education they might receive. Yet, by waiting on charter schools to improve education in Mississippi, we are deferring an even more fundamental challenge: how to improve our existing traditional public schools. Instead of waiting for charters to revolutionize public education school-by-school, let’s take the lessons of charter schools and apply them across the whole system. What allows charters to succeed—pas-
sionate and empowered leaders, deliberate philosophies consistently applied and systematic outreach to the community—can happen in public schools as well. JPS, where I teach, just hired a new superintendent. Welcome, Dr. Gray. We may not have charters in Mississippi, but we need not wait on the Legislature to implement innovative and creative reforms in our schools. Alexander Barrett Jackson
Voter ID Argument Invalid
just had to respond to Margery Freeman’s letter in the May 9-15 issue (Vol. 10, Issue 35). Voter ID has been passed in this state by the voters of this state. Thirty of the 50 U.S. states have some type of voter ID law. What the uninformed of this state don’t seem to realize is that the state of Mississippi will provide free IDs to those who have no form of ID. What else is so stupid is that when a qualified individual registers to vote in Mississippi, the county provides the individual a voter card with their address, the precinct they vote in and a voter ID number. What in the world does this have to do with Jim Crow? The argument is completely invalid. Who doesn’t have some form of picture ID in 21st-century society? Only those who want to keep voter fraud alive oppose voter ID. Michael J. Culver Madison P.S. I sincerely doubt you will print this message, your publication rarely if ever prints anything that is in opposition to your views.
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Why Write for the JFP?
gh! He’s in my office again, with his holier-than-thou arrogance, his buffed-up hair and skin so alabaster he can’t have ever seen the sun! What does he want this time? He’s complaining about something. I do that thing where I look the speaker in the eyes and nod like I’m engaged, but my mind is elsewhere (note to self: middle daughter has caught on and extracted quite a bit of money from me last time). Then he sees a copy of the latest Jackson Free Press on the front of my desk and, picking it up between his thumb and forefinger like it is on fire he says, “You still write for this rag?” “Yes” I reply. “Why?” he wants to know. “Isn’t it run by a bunch of bleeding-heart liberal women?” “Well, there’s Todd the publisher” I reply weakly, while thinking to myself that there really aren’t a lot of Y-chromosomes on the JFP staff. He drones on, but I’m lost in thought. Why do I write for the JFP? Why do I put in the time and effort and the humiliation of having an editor four decades my junior correct my grammar? Is it the money? Ha! Although it is nice to get paid for what I write, in reality I’m losing money, compared to what I make at my day job. Is it the fame and notoriety of having my name in a newspaper on a weekly basis? My son is the only person who regularly checks up on my articles. My wife claims she forgets each week when the JFP is issued (she used to proofread my scientific articles when we were young, but now she just picks them up if she is having trouble sleeping). No, that is definitely not it. Am I building a resume for a future career in journalism? No, I don’t see that happening. I’m really not a big fan of journalists of either the written or the TV kind. In my few experiences with journalists at work, I found them shallow and self-serving, not as much interested in the truth as they were in a compelling story. Quotes were taken out of context and misused to serve some other purpose. Besides, I’m a lot closer to 60 than to 50 and don’t need another career. No, that is not it. What is it then? There is a vague and undefined thought wiggling around in the back of my mind that has been there for a while, but I push it down. I don’t want to go there. My mind wanders as the visitor continues to drone on, and I catch a few words, just enough to let me know that my mind can leave again. It is true that the politics of the JFP are sometimes hard to swallow, a little quixotic––sometimes downright infuriating! There’s that thought again; can it be true? I write for the JFP to serve truth and freedom? Wow, that sounds like I’m pretty full of myself! I served in the military and have a 30-plus-year career with the federal government. I’m a patriot.
But I’m a concerned patriot now. The U.S. government kills people in other countries that it deems to be a threat to our safety. They do this without a trial, without the force of law and in some cases they kill the person’s family if they happen to be in the way. This bothers me. I have two nephews who are police officers and admire and respect what they do, but I’m concerned about the increase in police powers and the abuse that we saw with the Occupy Wall Street protesters around the country. And race relations are a terrible concern of mine. There is a statistic out there somewhere that says one in four black men are part of the criminal-justice system at some point in their lives. How can that be? The disparity in education and income between blacks and whites is unconscionable. As a nation, we should be ashamed of our failure. And the debate over immigration is nauseating. We are a nation of immigrants! So we got here first, and now we’re not going to let anyone else in? There must be a way for a nation that needs people willing to do the type of work immigrants do to let them do it safely and in peace. There is a mantra being passed around: “Be a patriot, hire an illegal immigrant, it is good for you, it is good for them, it is good for the U.S., and it is good for the country that they come from.” My first act of civil disobedience? What does this have to do with the JFP, truth, and freedom? Well, like it or not, the JFP offers a platform for diverse thought, opinion and discussion, and gives voice to the disenfranchised, the powerless and the outcasts. And I’m afraid that without that exposure to some of these issues by newspapers like the JFP, we would become complacent and happy in our little worlds and think that all we need do is send more missionaries to Africa. Humans tend to get complacent about life if allowed, and the JFP is like Jiminy Cricket, a nagging conscience. Or to put it another way: like a stick prodding and poking, letting us know that all is not right, that there is injustice right here in Jackson, Miss., and that people are suffering and in need. When we help those who need it, when the rights of those less fortunate are enforced and protected, we all reap the benefits. My role? Well, certainly not the investigative journalism I just mentioned. My role is to provide filler and humor and the occasional feel good story, and I’m just fine with that. Because with every article I write, I am freeing a real journalist with the guts and grit to pursue the type of story that will make a small difference and take a small step toward a more just and livable world. Freelance writer Richard Coupe, avid fan of the beautiful game, is a husband, brother, father of four and still wondering what he wants to be when he grows up.
Revealing Heaven On Earth 8:30 a.m. A Service of Word and Table 9:30 a.m. Sunday School for all ages 11:00 a.m. Worship Service Live Streaming at www.gallowayumc.org Televised on WAPT Children’s Church Ages 4-Kindegarten Nursery Available Ages 6 weeks-3 years
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COURTESY HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY
half moon disappeared as the sun rose out of the Atlantic Ocean on Sept. 1, 1832. The humid coastal winds filled the sails and carried the ship through the waves as J.W. Martin captained the Schooner Wild Cat, a 40-plus ton sailboat, out of the port of Charleston, S.C. The ship headed south out of the port, just beyond the coast of white-sand beaches, bordered by a thick forest of oaks and palms. Among the tons of cargo, six pieces were unique. By law, Martin had to fill out a manifest of these six possessions and present it to the collector or surveyor of the port when the ship arrived at its destination—New Orleans—in a little more than three weeks. On the pre-printed, fill-in-the-blank manifest, he recorded the owner of the cargo and where the owner lived. He also recorded the basic information of the cargo by name, sex, age, height and color. Willis — male, 20, 5 feet-8 inches, black. Jack — male, 25, 6 feet, black. Hector — male, 20, 6 feet, black Adam — male, 20, 5 feet-8 inches, black. Maria — female, 19, 5 feet-4 inches, black. Mary — female, 7, 3 feet-6 inches, mulatto.
Museum: An Instrument of Change
May 30 - June 5, 2012
BRITISH NATIONAL ARCHIVES
by Jacob Fuller
On board, these six young people knew they would probably never see their families again. They were headed to their new home and their new owner. They would spend 23 days on the Schooner Wild Cat before they reached the Gulf Coast’s largest port. These six passengers likely spent the trip with chains on their wrists, ankles and even their necks. They suffered hot, cramped, shadeless conditions above deck, and even more crowded and damp confinement below. Dysentery and seasickness were common on such trade vessels. Once they arrived in New Orleans, the collector of the port would check the six young slaves against the information on the captain’s manifest. If they matched the description given, the collector would sign the manifest and give the slaves over to or ship them to their new owner. In 1832, these six people were likely going to spend the next 30 years working a cotton farm—-free labor to help their already-rich owners build more wealth. Interstate Slave Trade The U.S. Congress outlawed the African slave trade in 1807. Transporting people from Africa for slave trading after Jan. 1, 1808, was punishable by death in the United States. It was still legal, however, to buy, sell and transport slaves within the country for almost another 60 years until after the Civil War. During that time, the purchase and sale of people like Willis, Hector, Jack, Adam, Maria and Mary was a large part of the economies of the southern states, and particularly in the major port cities along the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.
Eli Whitney’s 1793 invention, the cotton gin, forever changed the agriculture and economy of the Gulf Coast states, and the slave trade. Weather conditions were perfect for cotton in the country’s most tropical region, and cotton farms began to spread across the southeast like wildfire in the first half of the 19th century. One problem sprung up with the whitefiber plant, though: Cotton took a lot of hands and a lot of time to pick. So as more cotton fields were planted, farmers needed more workers to pick the product. And there were a lot more cotton fields every year. Between 1820 and 1830, cotton production in the South nearly doubled. It doubled again in the next decade. Cotton didn’t grow as well in Atlantic Coast states like the Carolinas and Virginia or in more northern slave states like Kentucky, so as cotton production increased in the southern-most states, plantation owners in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama grew in wealth and land holdings. Because they could not legally bring more slaves from Africa, they bought their slaves from states that grew crops like tobacco and rice, which needed fewer workers than cotton. As a result, the slave population in Maryland declined from 1830 to 1850, and Virginia’s was steady. Meanwhile, Louisiana’s slave population more than doubled, Alabama’s almost tripled, while Mississippi’s quintupled. The fastest way to transport the slaves was by boat, so Atlantic port cities like Charleston and Norfolk, Va., became slave-shipping hubs. Most were headed to New Orleans or other Gulf of Mexico ports, such as Mobile, Ala. These cities flourished from the purchase and sale of human beings. As cotton production grew, the slave population followed stepfor-step. Nowhere was this truer than in Mississippi, the country’s largest cotton-producing state by 1860. According to that year’s census, the last before the Civil War, the slave population of the state outnumbered the white population 436,631 to 354,000. The only thing that stopped the growing flow of human trafficking through these port cities was a four-year fight between the northern and southern states now known as the Civil War. By the time Mississippi seceded from the Union in 1861, slavery was so ingrained in the state’s economy that the state’s leadership could not imagine a world without it. In the state’s 1861 Articles of Secession, the third paragraph calls slavery “the greatest material interest of the world.” It further explains that slavery was a necessity for the state’s agricultural economy because “by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun.” The dependency on slavery, which helped make Mississippi one of the wealthiest states in the Union by 1860, led to a deep racial divide across the South that saw little bridging for the first 100 years after the Civil War, until the civil rights struggles of the 1950s and 1960s.
Above: This illustration, published June 2, 1860, by Harpers Weekly, showed a slave ship carrying some 510 captives from Africa, 52 years after Congress outlawed the African slave trade. Below: A group of Arab men transport slaves in the Indian Ocean, date unknown.
COURTESY OF GEOGRAPHY AND MAP DIVISION, LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
Lloyd Lazard poses for a photo outside City Hall, where he addressed the City Council May 15.
This map shows the concentration of slaves in the southern states via 1860. According to that yearâ€™s census, slaves outnumbered whites in Mississippi 436,631 to 354,000.
Now, nearly 150 years after its abolition, slaveryâ€™s effect can be seen, heard, felt, smelled and tasted throughout the Gulf Southâ€™s heritage, history and culture. Some people, though, think it is time for that legacy to have an official home. A Matter of Heritage Lloyd Lazard believes he knows what that home should be. At 71, the New Orleans nativeâ€™s small frame is topped with hair that has begun to turn white on the sides. His glasses and salt-and-pepper beard do not hide the wrinkles in his dark brown skin left from years of work and stress.
For more than 15 years, a large portion of Lazardâ€™s work has been toward his dreamâ€”to build a Slave Ship Museum in his home city, and a sister museum and national park of Mississippi Delta Region heritage and culture in Jackson. He said there is a public law that not only supports, but mandates, his vision. The Lower Mississippi Delta Initiative (see sidebar) gave Lazard the idea for the museums in 1996. Two years earlier, in 1994, Congress had enacted Public Law 103-433, which under the LMDI calls for the recommendation and implementation of both a Native American and an African American Heritage Corridor and Cultural Center to be built in
the Lower Mississippi Delta Region. After reading the law, Lazard began searching for possible locations for the center in New Orleans. His research soon turned into his lifeâ€™s passion. When he speaks of the museum and cultural center, Lazardâ€™s deep voice is saturated in confidence and conviction that the project is the right thing to do for all of the Lower Mississippi Delta. â€œWe live here,â€? Lazard said. â€œOur life is for the future. What happened in the past is the past, but weâ€™ve still got to interact with the past to make it to the future. The knowledge and context of where weâ€™re trying to go is to bridge that gap, so there can be understanding
as we move through the 21st century.â€? Beginning in late 1990s and continuing into the current century, Lazard wrote letters to bishops, presidents, governors, congressman, federal departments, school boards, port authorities, planning commissions and anyone else who might be able to help his dream become a reality. Lazardâ€™s vision of the project includes combining the Native and African American museums by creating a Delta Region national park and museum in Jackson, where all races in the regionâ€™s culture and heritage would be taught and celebrated. Jackson would house the headquarters of the Delta Region Heritage and Culture Corridor. There, visitors could encounter educational exhibits covering aspects of the history and traditions of all of the races and ethnicities that helped build the Lower Mississippi Delta, from the French who first colonized the area in 1699, to the melting pot of the United States of America in this century. Like the new lives of countless African American slaves during the slave trade, the corridor, Lazard said, should begin in New Orleans. There, he proposes that the National Park Service, which would run the operations of the museums, build a full-size replica of a slave-era ship used to transport Africans to STOLEN LIVES, page 16
Big Plans, Little Progress
Bill Clinton chaired the Lower Mississippi Delta Development Commission at one time.
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by Jacob Fuller
Stolen Lives, from page 15
This manifest shows the slave cargo aboard the Schooner Wild Cat when it left Charleston, S.C., Sept 1, 1832, and arrived in New Orleans Sept. 24.
Charleston Slave Market Museum shows visitors the location where slaves were auctioned in the 1850s and 1860s.
America. The ship would serve as a large part of a museum, educating visitors on aspects of the slave trade, the heritage and culture of the slaves, and how they helped form the culture across the Lower Mississippi Delta. In the ship, the visitors could see firsthand what the perilous trip across the Atlan-
tic Ocean was like for millions of Africans snatched from their homes. They could see the cramped quarters, where thousands of slaves were chained for months at a time and learn why hundreds of thousands died before ever reaching the shores of the New World. Between 2000 and 2005, Lazard’s dream led him to write letters to former President George W. Bush, the National Park Service and former Gov. Haley Barbour, among many others. Bush, NPS and Barbour, as well as the Port of New Orleans and New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond, responded with letters of support for Lazard’s vision. “I appreciate your interest and thank you for sharing your thoughts with me,” Barbour wrote in a letter dated Feb. 21, 2005. “If I, or my staff, can be of assistance to you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact me,” Barbour added. None of Lazard’s contacts offered solutions, though, to the sky-high hurdle that
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stands in the way of the multi-million dollar project: funding. Where’s the Money? While Public Law 103-433 created means to fund the planning stages of such a museum and cultural center and also improvements to exhibits, it did not create funding to build such massive projects as the ones Lazard has proposed. It did, however give the Secretary of the Interior specific orders for requesting funding from Congress for the museums: “The Secretary, in consultation with the States of the Delta Region, the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Director of the Smithsonian Institution, the Lower Mississippi Delta Development Center, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and appropriate African American, Native American and other rel-
evant institutions or organizations in the Delta Region, is further directed to prepare and transmit to the Congress a plan outlining specific recommendations, including recommendations for necessary funding, for the establishment of a Delta Region Native American Heritage Corridor and Heritage and Cultural Center and a Delta Region African American Heritage Corridor and Heritage and Cultural Center with a network of satellite or cooperative units.” Through LMDI, the National Park Service provided Lazard with a $25,000 grant in 2005 for a feasibility study on the National Slave Ship Museum. The Urban Design Research Center and Urban League of Greater New Orleans conducted the study. The study’s findings are 34 pages long, plus nine pages of conceptual floor designs. The New Orleans City Planning Commission created a separate 30-page New Orleans Riverfront Vision 2005, which included a slave-ship Museum.
UDRC proposed in its study that the funding, because it gets a “small amount each Natchez, the state’s largest slave market. After NPS build the museum at 1600 S. Peters St. year” for the LMDI. buying slaves in Natchez, owners would often in New Orleans, at the site of the former En“Expansion of the Delta Initiative beyond bring slaves to Jackson via the Natchez Trace. tergy Market Street substation. this small grant program must be done through Though the largest slave populations beThe six-story substation has more than the congressiolonged to plantation 69,000 square feet per floor. Two tall smoke nal appropriation owners in the state’s stacks stretch out of the top of the now-empty process,” Hooks southwestern counbuilding. The study states that Entergy had the wrote. “Given the ties along the MissisSlave Ship Museum as part of its plans for the overarching need sippi River, in 1860, future of the site, which is located on the banks to address the conHinds, Madison and of the Mississippi River near the Port of New dition of some of Yazoo were among 16 Orleans. As is required in Public Law 103-433, our parks’ natural counties with more the plans included musical, folklore, literary, and cultural rethan 10,000 slaves. In artistic, scientific, historical, educational, and sources and supJackson, most slaves political contributions and accomplishments port facilities, we served as domestic of African Americans in the region. are currently not in servants or manual Along with an authentic slave-ship a position to advolaborers. experience, the museum would include exhib- cate diverting fundLazard brought its of art, books, and other artifacts compiled ing for these high his proposal and reby the National Park Service and participating priority needs to quest for funding university and college departments of history other activities.” support before the This listing for “young negroes” advertised a and archeology. Then, in slave auction in New Orleans. Jackson City Council A theater and music hall would present August 2005, the at its regular meetperformances of traditional African festivities, same month Lazing May 15. At City as well as the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and ard wrote the NPS, Hall, Lazard said that Mardi Gras Indian Tribes. A 6,000-square- Hurricane Katrina destroyed much of the the concept for the Lower Mississippi Delta foot restaurant would serve traditional African Gulf Coast, and Lazard’s 11 years of lobbying Region corridor is to show the region’s entire dishes and Creole dishes from the New Or- and planning was quickly washed to the back history, including Native American life and leans region. of everyone’s mind. the French settlement of Biloxi in 1699 to the It also included local university backing. After the initial shock and confusion of present day. Southern University at New Orleans, under Katrina washed away, Lazard had to face medi“What we are proposing is to create the biology professor David Adegboye, would es- cal complications that kept his dream simmer- national park for this project, The Delta Retablish a DNA laboratory where descendants ing on the back burner a little longer. Recently, gion African American Heritage National Park of slaves could trace their ancestry, a museum though, a now-healthy Lazard is back on the and Museum of the Delta Region, in Jackson,” of organisms relevant to the region, and a mo- battlefront, lobbying everyone he can find to Lazard said. “What we are intending to do, by lecular biology laboratory at the museum. get funding for the museums he believes will the grace of God and cooperation of the city SUNO, which has Louisiana’s only de- be a vital part of the culture and economy of of Jackson, is to develop two museums, one in partment of museum studies, also proposed the Gulf South region. New Orleans, one in Jackson, Mississippi.” housing the department in the Slave Ship Lazard said that he believes spreading The Jackson museum would house the Museum and using the facility for graduate- the word of Public Law 103-433 and helping national headquarters of the Lower Missislevel students. get heritage and cultural centers built is his sippi Delta Heritage and Cultural Center and The UDRC study was far from compre- life’s mission. Corridor in Lazard’s plan. Like the museum hensive, though. It contained basic floor plans, in New Orleans, the Jackson Museum would but lacked artist renderings. UDRC included Lazard Comes to Jackson house music and theatrical performances, as price estimates, to the tune of about $75.6 Jackson was founded in 1821 and named well art, literature and artifact exhibits of Afrimillion, but not precise figures or bids from the state capital the same year. The municipal- can and Native American culture. contractors for the cost of Lazard said if the local the project. governments of Jackson and Nearly $58 million New Orleans don’t act, the would go toward renovafederal government will not tions, and UDRC estido anything to enact Public mated it would cost about Law 103-433 and build the $6 million to build the museums and culture centers slave ship replica. the law mandates. The study also failed “Since 1996, the law put to address Lazard’s ideas on me the vision of how to beyond New Orleans, implement (this),” Lazard namely the sister museum said. “I’m here today to talk in Jackson. to you all to help bring this According to the into reality.” study, UDRC needed The plans are in place, another $350,000 to Lazard said; the only probcompile a complete fea- This illustration, published 1830, shows the unbearably cramped confines of lem is funding. sibility study. In August a slave ship. “The reason there is a lack 2005, Lazard submitted of funding is because there is a request to the NPS for a lack of request for funding,” further funding through LMDI to finish the ity soon became an urban city due to its new- Lazard said. study and begin construction on the muse- found status as the seat of state government, as City Council members did not comment um. In a letter to Lazard, Patricia Hooks, the well as its strategic location.. on the project at the meeting. Ward 2 CounSoutheast regional director of the NPS, wrote Prior to the Civil War, slaves were brought that NPS could not afford to provide more to Jackson mostly by way of New Orleans and STOLEN LIVES, page 19
May 30 - June 5, 2012
Stolen Lives, from page 17
A cabin at the Sandy Spring Slave Museum in Maryland is a former slave quarters.
north of Washington, D.C., in 1988 from a collection of artifacts he had amassed over a number of years. In addition to his collection, the former ship builder created a model crosssection of a slaving clipper-ship, which gives museum visitors a small look at what conditions were like below deck for slaves. The museum also purchased a former
slave residence from a nearby farm and relocated it to the property. There, visitors get to see the cramped quarters that often housed one or more entire families. The small, private museum is open to the public by appointment only. Anderson’s daughter, Laura Anderson Wright, now heads the board of volunteers who run the museum. Its most common visitors, she said, are school children on field trips and senior citizens. “It is definitely a community museum,” Wright said. “In an area that has the Smithsonian (Institution) within 30 minutes from us, you’re not going to, nor would we ever try to compete with museums of that caliber.” Wright said heritage tourism has become more popular in the area since the economic downturn in 2008. Many people are looking for things to do in their community or within an hour’s drive. That has brought a lot of local visitors to the Sandy Spring Slave Museum in recent years. While a small museum like Sandy Spring may only draw tourists from neighboring towns and cities, Lazard has proposed something far greater for Jackson and New Orleans. With the funding, research and cooperation of multiple colleges and universities, as well as federal, state and local governments, museums of such high caliber could draw in crowds from all over the world. With performances that encompass our region’s culture and history in traditional mu-
sic, dance and art, visitors to the Slave Ship Museum and the Delta Region Heritage and Culture Museum would be entertained by world-class performers while learning about our rich heritage in the arts. From the fields of archeology, history and genetic biology, the museums could provide comprehensive learning experiences to teach children and adults about the affects slavery and the people involved have had on this region of the country and where it is today. DNA testing could help visitors find ancestors who were slaves. A pair of shackles could teach a child about the bonds of slavery. Photos, artist renderings and literature could teach visitors about the abuse, mistreatment and dehumanization of slaves. All of this could be used to educate us about our past, to assure we don’t make the same mistakes in the future, Lazard said. Lazard will continue to lobby everyone he can to try to see his vision of these museums realized. He said he knows it likely will not happen in his lifetime. All he can do, he said, is make sure as many people as possible know about Public Law 103-433 and the possibilities it provides before he dies. He is trying to be all any of use can be, he said, a tool of progress. “We are living in a period of change,” Lazard said. “All we are is instruments of change.” Comment at www.jfp.ms.
Museums Thriving Elsewhere While the large expanse of Lazard’s proposal is unprecedented, slave-trade museums, public and private, exist on a smaller scale in the U.S. In Charleston, S.C., one of the nation’s busiest slave-trading hubs up until the Civil War, the city owns and operates a museum located in a former slave auction house, built in the 1850s. Tony Youmans, interim director of the Old Slave Mart Museum for the city of Charleston, said the museum is a popular tourist destination. Visitors get a unique experience, he said, because the museum is sitespecific. There they learn about the slave trade in Charleston both before and after the abolition of the international slave trade. Anywhere from 100 to 200 people visit the small museum every day, Youmans said, at $7 per person and $5 for students. A large portion of its visitors are senior citizens and international tourists. In Sandy Spring, Md., a small, entirely volunteer group runs a privately owned museum dedicated to educating the public about
the lives of slaves in the area. Winston Anderson started the Sandy Spring Slave Museum and African Art Gallery, located about 20 miles COURTESY LAURA ANDERSON WRIGHT
cilman Chokwe Lumumba, who invited Lazard to speak and added his presentation to the May 15 agenda, is going to present a resolution to the Council in support of building the Lower Mississippi Delta Region Culture and Heritage Center in Jackson.
19 JCV7210-5 Event Week May 28 JFPress 9.5x6.167.indd 1
5/22/12 3:30 PM
FILM p 22| 8 DAYS p 24 | MUSIC p 29 |SPORTS p 32 KYLE TILLMAN
The Marvelous Wonderettes (left to right) are Kelly Karcher as Suzy,Taylor Gavlin as Missy, Mandy Kate Myers as Cindy Lou and Brittney Morello as Betty Jean.
Pop Love Letter
May 30 - June 5, 2012
by Genevieve Legacy
ove is at the heart of New Stage Theatre’s production of “The Marvelous Wonderettes”—love of music, love of friends past and present, and the enduring love affair we have with popular songs. The pop song, with its familiar, catchy tune and lyrics that convey the most relatable emotions, is the driving force behind New Stage Theatre’s “The Marvelous Wonderettes.” The two-act, musical comedy includes classic ’50s and ’60s songs such as “Lollipop,” “Dream Lover,” “Stupid Cupid,” “Lipstick on Your Collar,” “It’s My Party” and “It’s in His Kiss (The Shoop Shoop Song).” The first act of “The Marvelous Wonderettes” is set in 1958 at the Springfield High School prom where Betty Jean, Cindy Lou, Missy and Suzy greet the audience as fellow prom attendees and introduce themselves as The Wonderettes. From the moment the show opens, audience members will recognize the familiar high-school archetypes: the pretty girl, the nerdy girl, the flirty girl and the peppy girl. When the four-part harmony of “Mr. Sandman” begins, however, these girls show that they are more than just clichés—they can really sing. Guest director Peppy Biddy returns to New Stage after directing last season’s “The 39 Steps.” Biddy is an awardwinning educator and the current chairman of the Department of Music and Theatre at the Mississippi University
for Women in Columbus. He has a master of fine arts degree from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, as well as acting, directing and stage manager credits at theaters such as Dallas Theatre Center, Casa Manana, Dallas Repertory Theatre, Dallas Children’s Theatre, Theatre Three and Dallas Summer Music. “The Marvelous Wonderettes” is Biddy’s 12th production at New Stage. To cast the four-woman ensemble, Biddy and New Stage Theatre’s artistic director, Francine Thomas Reynolds, drew from the well of local professional talent and from regional and East Coast cities. The cast includes Brittney Morello (New York City) as Betty Jean, Mandy Kate Myers (Pearl) as Cindy Lou, Taylor Gavlin (Auburn, Ala.) as Missy and Kelly Karcher (Sewell, N.J.) as Suzy. The four may reside in different cities, but they all hail from the same state of mind: the lively and versatile realm of musical theater. Like the characters they play, the talented women each bring something distinct to the songs and the show. Every voice stands alone in a wonderful and nuanced series of solos: Morello’s sparkling, Broadway beltout; Myer’s sassy, sultry croon; Gavlin’s wistful, sweet soprano; and Karcher’s sincere, all-American alto. When the time comes to sing in unison, their voices merge and harmonize beautifully. As though singing wasn’t enough, “The Marvelous Wonderettes” is also fully cho-
reographed. Look for some favorite dance steps including the “stroll” in Act I. Act II of the show takes place 10 years later in 1968 at the Springfield High School 10-Year Reunion. The set is updated to reflect the colorful mod décor of the ’60s era, and the Wonderettes return to sing more hits from the time, including choice Motown girl-group tunes. The song list for the second act includes “Heatwave,” “Wedding Bell Blues,” “Leader of the Pack,” “Son of a Preacher Man,” “Rescue Me” and “Respect.” The band for the musical is made up of New Stage Music Director Harlan Zackery Jr. on piano, De’Ryan Brister on drums, Amber Jones on keyboard and Jimmy Turner on guitar. With The Marvelous Wonderettes as your hostesses, the show promises to be a great evening of music, dance and laughs. An Actor Chat will immediately following the performances on May 30 and June 6. “The Marvelous Wonderettes” opens May 30 and runs through June 10. Curtain times are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $25 with discounts available for students, senior citizens and groups. Student Rush tickets, $8, are also available one hour prior to each performance with valid student identification. Call 601-948-3531 or visit newstagetheatre.com.
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