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March 5 - 11, 2014




amiliar with hard times and a witness to his mother’s sacrifices, Dr. Justin Turner wanted to make his mom, Janice Armstrong, proud. “I know that I wanted to do something in life where I would be able to help her,” he says. “And as I got older, I realized that I really enjoyed making a difference in other people’s lives.” Turner was born in Natchez Aug. 16, 1981. He lived in Fayette and Port Gibson for portions of his childhood and then moved to Vicksburg at age 16. Turner is the oldest of two brothers, Wesley, 24 and Quin, 32. He also has two sisters, Megan, 22, and Coshunda, 33. He recalls that, when he was growing up, his mother spent little money on herself. “She made sure we were cared for first,” he says. He and his siblings had to do without some of the luxuries other children he knew enjoyed. He says he wore hand-me-downs from church members and cousins. Turner realized he wanted to go to medical school when he attended a career fair during his time at Port Gibson Middle School. “The doctor said, ‘If you want to do something in life that will really make a difference in peoples lives, then I encourage you to get a job as a physician,’” Turner recalls. “That was the first time a doctor came to speak to me. So once I was exposed to it, it heightened my interest,” the 32-year-old says. “And from then on, I inquired, I read, I made


good grades and met other doctors. I got connected with other people who provided wise counsel, and I decided to be a physician and be the change I wanted to see.” Turner attended Jackson Sate University until 2003 and went on to Meharry Medical College in Nashville, where he graduated in 2008. Turner opened his own practice in Jackson in November 2013 as an internal medicine physician. The doctor sees his patients as individuals and believes that popping pills is not the solution to all medical problems. “The mind, body and spirit are not separate entities,” Turner says. “They are all related. I would fail you if I didn’t consider the mental and emotional conditions you have. All those factors play a huge role in your total well-being.” Turner believes that his responsibilities as a physician extend to giving back to the Jackson community. “I waited so long for the moment to be a doctor and do something in the community,” Turner says. “I want to take something outside of these four walls and speak to students, do health fairs and obesity events.” Even though he enjoys traveling around the country, Turner says Jackson is where he belongs. “There is a tremendous amount of resources and talent here,” Turner says. “I feel I have the opportunity to make the impact Jackson needs. … This is home for me.” —Brittany Sanford

Cover photo of Chokwe Lumumba by Trip Burns

8 Bad News Bills

SB 2681, a controversial new bill similar to one in Arizona that allows business owners to refuse service to gay patrons on the grounds of religious freedom, is capturing attention at the Mississippi Legislature.

27 Iron and Wood

“My plan is to go away from lump charcoal and back to briquettes. We still use wood, particularly mesquite, oak, and hickory. Mesquite is the wood of choice, but it’s expensive to get in from Texas so, other than that, we use local woods.” —Pierre Pryor on the renovated Iron Horse Grill, “Charcoal and Chimney Smoke”

33 Photogenic Fondren

Sharon Coker’s photography studio has a new home in funky Fondren, and the neighborhood is a perfect fit for the sassy shutterbug.

4 ............................. EDITOR’S NOTE 6 ............................................ TALKS 12 ................................ EDITORIAL 13 .................................... OPINION 14 ............................ COVER STORY 28 ......................................... FOOD 30 ................................. WELLNESS 31 .................................... HITCHED 33 .............................. DIVERSIONS 34 ................... GIRL ABOUT TOWN 35 .......................................... FILM 36 ....................................... 8 DAYS 37 ............................... JFP EVENTS 39 ....................................... MUSIC 40 ....................... MUSIC LISTINGS 41 ..................................... SPORTS 43 .................................... PUZZLES 45 ....................................... ASTRO


MARCH 5 - 11, 2014 | VOL. 12 NO. 26



Chokwe Lumumba, 1947-2014


or nearly his first year as mayor of Jackson, Chokwe Lumumba devoted a lot of his time to doing what needed to be done. The first order of business was to raise people’s taxes— through a water and sewer rate hike and, later, a city-wide referendum that increases sales taxes on certain items. Neither was popular, but both were approved. After that, Lumumba’s plate was clear to concentrate on some of the things he’s always wanted to do in his years as a human-rights activist and politician. The Jackson Rising: New Economies Conference, scheduled for May, would be the centerpiece of his vision for the city’s future. In the spirit of the grassroots organizing tradition in which Lumumba made his bones, smaller, community meetings would be held periodically leading to the main event in May. And although it had Lumumba’s imprimatur, it wasn’t entirely a city-sponsored event. Organizers even launched a campaign on a crowd-funding website to raise money so that city taxpayers wouldn’t be stuck with the bill for the gathering. The mayor’s legacy is probably cemented; the vision he laid out for Jackson is in doubt. Lumumba died Feb. 25 at St. Dominic’s Hospital at the age of 66 with his longtime partner, Gloria Elmore, at his side. So far, no official cause of death is known. Throughout last year’s bitter mayoral election, whispers abound that Lumumba had been in failing health. Lumumba admitted to the Jackson Free Press that he was hospitalized for a week or two in 2012, but said that voters had nothing to worry about as far as his health was concerned and that he was “going to be around a long time.” Lumumba had already outlived many of his comrades in the black-liberation movement. He traced the roots of his activist consciousness back to the 1955 photograph, published in Jet

Magazine, of Emmett Till’s mangled 14-yearold face in an open coffin. Lumumba describes Mamie Till’s decision to allow her son’s visage, ruined by vindictive racists in Mississippi, to be splashed in the national magazine an act of bravery, the event that first pricked his political consciousness. But it was the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 13 years later in Memphis that became Lumumba’s entree to human-rights activism. Lumumba believed King’s philosophy of eradicating “infectious discrimination, racism and apartheid” is perfectly in sync with his own way of thinking, which the first-term councilman would bring to the mayor’s office. “My development was always making the world better. I was always sensitive to any kind of repression. My thing was fairness, and I was offended by unfairness,” Lumumba told the JFP last year. Even though King was considered a radical in his day, Lumumba was even more so. Lumumba cofounded the New Afrikan People’s Organization. Lumumba was also a supporter of the Republic of New Afrika, a plan to give black people their own nation in the southeastern United States. His opponents often seized on his involvement with the RNA, characterizing it as a black separatist organization no different from white supremacists who espoused racial purity. “The Republic of New Afrika has been miscast as the black flip side to the Ku Klux Klan when, in reality, the Declaration of Independence prohibited color, class and gender discrimination,” Lumumba said last year. “They were was ahead of their times, especially in terms of no gender discrimination because a lot of people in the movement at the time were still practicing gender discrimination. So what the RNA was saying was that in states like Mississippi (that) had dead-cold frozen blacks out of the system, then blacks have a right under international

law to ask for a plebiscite, a freedom vote, on what they want their destiny to be.” For Jackson, which has the second highest concentration of African Americans of any city larger than 150,000 residents in the U.S., Lumumba wants that destiny to ensure that businesses operating in the city hire residents, 80 percent of whom are black. Lumumba’s reputation as an activist earned him a laundry list of high-profile and sometimes controversial clients including Fulani Sunni Ali, indicted in the 1980 Brinks armored-car robbery for whom Lumumba secured an acquittal; the irascible Tupac Shakur; Lance Parker, who was accused of trying to shoot the fuel tank on Reginald Denny’s 18-wheeler during the Los Angeles riots; and Mississippi’s Scott Sisters. In 2005, the Mississippi Bar Association suspended Lumumba’s law license for six months for saying in court that a Leake County circuit judge possessed “the judicial demeanor of a barbarian.” Lumumba cites the anti-racial-profiling ordinance he championed on the city council in 2010 as evidence that he wants all Jackson residents to create a new blend of people. “It’s a new idea, a new way, a new justice frontier. We have not only a black culture, we have white people who have their culture; we have Hispanics, we have Asians,” he said. “And something’s going to happen as a result of that. The question is: Is it going to be something good or something bad? What we need is a new culture with new ideas that leads up to becoming a model city in the world.” After serving one term on the Jackson City Council, Lumumba won a contentious race-tinged mayor’s race in the summer of 2013 against businessman Jonathan Lee and incumbent Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. One of the biggest questions hanging over Lumumba’s new administration was what kind of relationship he would have with the Republican-led state Legislature.

Lumumba’s predecessor, Johnson, wasn’t known as someone who liked to hobnob and press the flesh. but at the start of the 2014 session Lumumba opened what he called a new “era of cooperation” as he gave the Legislature a warm welcome. The city laid a broad legislative agenda that included opening up cooperatives up beyond agriculture. It was an olive branch more than anything as other organizations have set up cooperatives outside the state. Lumumba wanted to at least look like he was reaching across the partisan and racial divide, which earned him high praise from many people who had been his fiercest critics during the election. In the meantime, the council selected Charles Tillman as acting mayor. Bishop Ronnie Crudup led a prayer at City Hall, as emergency vehicles gathered with lights flashing outside. “We’re shocked at the death of our mayor,” he said. He told us to pray for Lumumba’s family and our city. Lumumba’s son Chokwe Antar Lumumba practices law in Jackson; his daughter, Rukia Lumumba, is an attorney in New York City. Another Lumumba son, Kambon Mutope, lives in Atlanta. Lumumba was married to Nubia, whom he met in the late 1970s, until her sudden death in 2003. Rukia Lumumba described Nubia as the family’s backbone, scheduler and holiday planner as well as the social butterfly in the couple. “My father is more of a quiet guy who likes basketball and really doesn’t have to be around a lot of people. She was the ultimate networker and taught us how to be more like that and taught my father how to come out of his social shell,” Rukia told the JFP last year. Tillman said that, under the Lumumba administration, city residents were excited about what he was doing. “He was a good man, a man of wisdom,” Tillman said. — R.L. Nave

March 4 - 11, 2014



Brittany Sanford

R.L. Nave

Ronni Mott

Andrew Dunaway

Deirdre Danahar

Richard Coupe

Briana Robinson

Kimberly Griffin

Editorial Intern and New Orleans native Brittany Sanford is a senior at Belhaven University. She loves God, family, fashion and writing. She wrote the Jacksonian about Dr. Justin Turner.

R.L. Nave, native Missourian and news editor, roots for St. Louis—and for Jackson. Send him news tips at rlnave@ or call him at 601-362-6121 ext. 12. He contributed to the cover package on Mayor Lumumba.

Freelance journalist Ronni Mott has been a Mississippian since 1997. She’s an award-winning writer and a yoga teacher, just stumbling and fumbling toward bliss like everyone else. She wrote a cover feature about the mayor.

Andrew Dunaway, a freelance food writer, knew his friends and family were tired of hearing him talk constantly about food, so he took to writing about it. He wrote a food piece.

Deirdre Danahar is a business, leadership, and life coach for entrepreneurs and creative professionals. She lives in Jackson with her husband and an alarmingly large cat. She wrote a wellness story.

Richard Coupe, an avid fan of the beautiful game, and a husband, brother, and father of four, is still wondering what he wants to be when he grows up. He wrote an arts story.

Music Editor Briana Robinson wants to become an expert on all things music. Her other passions include dance and photography. Send her music scoop at She compiled the listings for Eight Days a Week.

Kimberly Griffin is a fitness buff and foodie who loves chocolate and her mama. She’s also Michelle Obama’s super secret BFF, which explains the Secret Service detail.





Wednesday, Feb. 26 Hundreds of people march in Sinaloa, Mexico, demanding that Mexican authorities free the boss of the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel, Joaquin “El Chapo� Guzman.

Friday, Feb. 28 The Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange in Tokyo files for bankruptcy protection. Its chief executive says 850,000 bitcoins, worth several hundred million dollars, are unaccounted for. ‌ A group of Baluch activists finish a nearly 3,000-kilometer (1,900-mile) protest march across Pakistan that began Oct. 27. Saturday, March 1 More than 10 assailants believed to be ethnic separatists slash scores of people with knives at a train station in southern China. Thirty-three people are killed and 130 wounded. Sunday, March 2 Russian troops take over Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula a day after the Russian parliament granted President Putin authority to use the military to protect Russian interests in the country. ‌ Hollywood names the brutal, unshrinking historical drama “12 Years a Slaveâ€? best picture at the 86th annual Academy Awards.

March 5 - 11, 2014

Monday, March 3 A federal judge blocks the state of Michigan’s first witness from testifying for the state’s defense of a ban on gay marriage in a court case brought on by two Detroit-area women.


Tuesday, March 4 President Barack Obama sends Congress a $3.9 trillion election-year budget that would funnel money into road building, education, and other programs aimed at bolstering the economy and creating jobs.

by R.L. Nave


o matter what anyone says, the campaign to replace the late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba is already in full swing. This week, the first buzzes floated about who would enter the fray. Among the most notable and, perhaps, surprising names to come up so far is that of Lumumba’s son, Chokwe Antar, a likely candidacy the Jackson Free Press reported Monday. Players in local Democratic politics believe the junior Lumumba’s candidacy is inevitable and have quietly been expressing support in anticipation of the 30-year-old attorney’s bid. Reached by phone Feb. 28, Chokwe Antar told the JFP he is focusing on his father’s memorial services. If Chokwe Antar were to enter what is expected to be a crowded field of hopefuls for mayor, he could be formidable. A graduate of the historically black Tuskegee University in Alabama and Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Texas, Chokwe Antar is considered exceptionally intelligent. He would also likely have his father’s grassroots political machine behind him, not to mention his name. His ascension is far from a slam dunk, however. Aside from working on his father’s campaigns for Jackson City Council in 2009 and mayor last year, Chokwe Antar lacks the extensive political or campaign experience of some other candidates who might be interested in throwing their hats into the ring. State Sen. John Horhn, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2009, stood with Jackson Councilman De’Keither Stamps at a press event Tuesday. Stamps said he would not run for mayor; Horhn deflected questions about

whether he would toss his name in the hat, saying he would not speculate in order to be respectful of Lumumba. David Archie, who has run for several offices in recent years, also attended the news conference. Other possibilities include Jackson busiTRIP BURNS

Thursday, Feb. 27 Ukraine’s fugitive president Viktor Yanukovych surfaces in Moscow, where he is said to have been seen at an opulent five-star hotel and a Kremlin country retreat once favored by the late Boris Yeltsin. ‌ At least three European countries withdraw millions in direct support to Uganda’s government after the country’s president enacted a severe antigay measure.

Off and Running

Jackson Councilman De’Keither Stamps organized a week of prayer and discernment to contemplate who should be the city’s next mayor.

nessman Jonathan Lee, who finished in first place ahead of Lumumba in last year’s Democratic primary, but lost in the runoff election. After leading a moment of silence for Lumumba at the conclusion of Koinonia Coffee House’s Friday Forum Feb. 28, Lee told the Jackson Free Press he is not discussing his future plans out of respect for the late mayor. Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr., who finished in third place behind Lee and Lumumba, might eye a fourth term in his old seat and could raise money quickly. Regina Quinn, the only woman who ran for mayor last year and finished in a


respectable fourth place, is another possibility. Quinn, the former general counsel for Jackson State University, is widely respected and threw her support to Lumumba after the Democratic primary. Several members of Quinn’s campaign staff currently hold positions in Lumumba’s administration or elsewhere in city government. Ward 6 Councilman Tony Yarber has long been regarded as a possible mayoral contender. Yarber declined to run in 2013, but as a smart, young, charismatic pastor and former educator from south Jackson, he could quickly assemble a turnout organization. Ward 2 Councilman Melvin Priester Jr. is an interesting possibility given his educational resume that includes degrees from Harvard and the Stanford Law School and the fact that his father, Melvin Priester Sr., is a prominent Hinds County judge. Hinds County District 5 Supervisor Stokes, who has said that Chokwe Antar should take his father’s seat, could be positioning himself to seek the seat. During a Lumumba remembrance event at Battlefield Park last weekend, Stokes injected himself prominently into the post-Lumumba conversation by raising questions about the role of foul play in Lumumba’s death. Stokes himself admitted the claims are unsubstantiated, but local news outlets are ensuring that his remarks dominate headlines. In addition, his power on the Hinds County Board of Supervisors has greatly diminished thanks to the additions of Darrel McQuirter and Tony Greer last fall. Candidates have until March 19 to qualify at the city clerk’s office. Comment at

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Controversial ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill Moves Forward by Zack Orsborn and R.L. Nave

to mute the criticism that the Legislature is trying to follow suit (with Arizona),� Steffey said, where lawmakers passed a similar bill before Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed it last week

“This bill has nothing to do with faith and everything to do with codifying shameful discrimination,� said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, in



fter a week of ups and downs for a measure that civil-liberties groups say could lead to legalized discrimination of LGBTQ people, a modified version now goes to the House of Representatives for debate. An early version of the proposed Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act that passed the Senate unanimously in late January drew sharp criticism as opening the door for legalized discrimination. Opponents charged that the bill would permit business owners to refuse service to customers, citing religious beliefs. However, a House committee amended the proposal to apply to only actions of governments, said Matt Steffey, a constitutional scholar at Mississippi College School of Law. “The new bill requires government action; the old bill did not,� Steffey said. Steffey said the amended bill also requires a “substantial burden� on an individual’s religious beliefs in order for those individuals to make a claim under the law. Adding “substantial burden� would also enable courts to dismiss frivolous lawsuits, Steffey said. The change came after fierce nationwide protests. Civil-liberties groups were especially worried about the law’s effect on the LGBTQ community, which federal anti-discrimination laws do not protect in the same way that racial, ethnic and religious minorities, for example, are protected. A legal objection to SB 2681 on the basis of sexual orientation could have a tougher fight in the courts than other types of discrimination, observers say. “The bill as amended mirrors the existing state statute (and) does an awful lot

Todd Allen protests a so-called religious freedom proposal that LGBTQ supporters say could open the door to Jim Crow-style discrimination against gays and minorities.

amid concerns about economic development. “It’s bad for the state of Mississippi, it’s bad for the people of Mississippi, and it’s bad for business,� said Jed Oppenheim, advocacy coordinator for the ACLU of Mississippi, one of the groups that has been busy circulating literature about the proposal, and remains cool to the amended bill.

a press statement about the original Senate bill. “We have seen businesses, people of faith and political leaders from both sides of the aisle speak out against this type of legislation. Passing this bill would not only place Mississippi firmly on the wrong side of history, it would hurt the state’s economy and tarnish its reputation.� At first, SB 2681 seemed to catch pro-

gressives flatfooted because its Republican sponsors presented only the part of the bill that would add “In God We Trust� the state seal—seemingly relatively harmless. “We learned in the vetting of this bill that is clearly not the sole purpose of the bill,� said Brandon Jones, executive director of the Mississippi Democratic Trust, which provides support to Democratic candidates and lawmakers. “No one mentioned anything about discriminatory practices. There were no questions that it passed overwhelmingly. It also tells me that the folks who knew what was in this bill must not have felt too proud about it because, when they were presenting, they didn’t fully explain it.� Sen. David Blount, a Jackson Democrat, admitted that he and many of his Senate colleagues were unaware the bill did more than add words to the state seal when they voted in favor of it. “I am opposed to discrimination of any kind, including discrimination based on sexual orientation. Obviously, I should have (all of us should have) been aware of this. I have already talked with House members about removing language relating to legalized discrimination in SB 2681,� Blount said in a statement posted online. When asked about the bill’s chances of passing in the House—the House Judiciary A Committee has yet to act on it—Jones, a Pascagoula native and a former member of the House of Representatives, said Republican leaders have a history of passing kneejerk legislation. “You certainly can’t assume that a bill like this one won’t pass,� he said. “I

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LEGISLATURE: Week 8 think that what some of us would like to see, at a minimum, is that some of these most negative parts of this bill will be amended out and the bill stopped.� For example, Mississippi is currently embroiled in a lawsuit over the constitutionality of a 2012 law requiring free-standing abortion providers to only use doctors who have admitting privileges at a local hospital. Jones said the bill harkens back to the days of Jim Crow laws in which businesses had the legal protection to subject African

Saturday, March 8

Americans to inferior customer service, requiring blacks to enter through back doors and wait until all white customers had been served first or not be served at all. The Rev. C.J. Rhodes, director of Oakland Memorial Chapel at Alcorn State University, agreed that SB 2681’s broad language is similar to Jim Crow-era “black codes.� “Upon reading the bill, the scope of the language is so broad and vague that it could very well, especially in regards to businesses, create exclusionary, discriminatory behavior,�

Rhodes said about the proposed bill. Not only could it exclude LGBTQ individuals, but the bill could also allow discrimination against race or nationality, Rhodes told the Jackson Free Press last week. “I don’t think it could just be the LGBTQ community because the language is so broad. It could be LGBTQ, it could be Mexicans, it could be a whole host of things,� Rhodes said. “The question is: Does the state have the right to allow private businesses to make these sort of sweeping generalizations?�

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that improve a letter grade from year to year. Schools would have the discretion, and if they cannot come up with a plan, the money would be evenly split, Reeves said. Nancy Loome, speaking to reporters after Reeves unveiled his plan, said it was good news that the House and Senate are talking about teacher raises and called Reeves’ plan “a step in the right direction.� TRIP BURNS

State Sen. Kenny Wayne Jones, DCanton, admits that a so-called “keep away the gays� bill that passed the Senate unanimously needs work.

Black Caucus Staffs Up Last week, the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to block Mississippi’s voter ID, which goes into effect this summer. Black legislators said that the requirement would disproportionately affect African Americans, one of the groups studies reveal are less likely to have government-issued photo IDs. African American and civilliberties groups opposed the push to put the issue of voter ID on state ballots in 2011, but it passed easily in a referendum. The DOJ was reviewing the state’s plan to implement voter ID when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down key provisions in federal law that previously served as a stopgap against discriminatory election practices in states like Mississippi.

On March 3, speaking to the Stennis Capitol Press Forum about the LBCs legislative agenda, black caucus Chairman Sen. Kenny Wayne Jones, D-Canton, said black lawmakers are developing a team of attorneys who could file lawsuits to block potentially discriminatory proposals of the state Legislature; currently, Jones said the caucus relies too heavily on the state NAACP’s lawyers. Jones also said that Mississippi should look to casinos and a statewide lottery as potential revenue generators. He also addressed the fact that the entire Senate voted for a bill that adds the words In God We Trust to the state seal, but critics say also opens the door to discriminate against minorities. “The Religious Freedom Restoration Act was vague,� Jones said. “We’re going to have to deal with it conference (committee).� A Question of Death Attorneys for death-row prisoner Michelle Byrom filed a Public Records Act complaint in Hinds County Chancery Court on Monday. Byrom to compel prison officials tell Byrom what drugs it plans to use to kill her. Mississippi typically uses a combination of pentobarbital (an anesthetic), Pavulon (a muscle relaxer), and potassium chloride (which causes cardiac arrest). However, foreign manufacturers of pentobarbital have stopped selling it to American states that plan to use it for executions, creating a shortage and prompting some states to slow its rate of executions. Death-penalty opponents have complained that Mississippi has not been forthcoming about its supply of execution drugs, specifically the expiration dates and its suppliers. “If the authorities in Mississippi are confident that they have legally obtained these drugs and that the public supports their use to carry out executions, then why are they afraid to answer these questions?� asked Vanessa Carroll, an attorney with the New Orleans office of the MacArthur Justice Center. Comment at Email R.L. Nave at


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fter years of underfunding public education in Mississippi, teachers are finally getting some love from the state Legislature. But in a way, the educators are a bit like children caught in the middle of a bitter custody bitter, with both parents lavishing gifts trying to prove they love the child more, which is unhealthy in its own way. That is what’s going on between the state House and Senate, as both chambers have decided to make this session all about the state’s woefully underpaid teachers, who represent a powerful political voice as well. Earlier in the session, the House of Representatives voted to give teachers a $1,500 pay increase, a plan that did not appear to sit well with Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and Gov. Phil Bryant, both of whom wanted any pay raises pegged to merit-based performance measures. The bill the House passed attempted to mollify those concerns by requiring veteran teachers to meet several benchmarks, such as joining civic organizations. On Monday, March 3, Reeves and Senate Education Committee Chairman Gray Tollison unveiled their own plan. Reeves told the media that the plan centered on boosting starting pay to help make Mississippi more competitive with surrounding states. Currently, the starting pay for Mississippi teachers is $30,900; under the Senate plan, that would go up to $34,390 by July 2015. “The Senate is making teachers our priority,� Reeves said. That means that the $64 million pay-increase package would push other spending items off the table, including, possibly, a Mississippi state trooper school on Bryant’s wish list. In addition to the starting pay salary pay raise, the plan Reeves floated, which Tollison’s committee dealt with on Tuesday, also calls for a “school recognition program,� a version of a merit-based pay system. Under Reeves’ bill, starting in fiscal year 2017, any school rated an “A� or a “B� under the state’s accountability rating would receive $100 per student enrolled in the school to dole out in the form of raises each year. The raises would also apply to schools


TALK | business

New Food Options, Flight Info for Jackson by Dustin Cardon


March 5 - 11, 2014


number of Jackson restaurants (952 N. State St.) is remodeling a large gathering space. Airport Launches New Website have big plans in store for the space in the back of the building that For years, Market Bites featured food On March 1, Jackson Municipal near future. houses the restaurant. prepared by Chef Jim Hudson, owner of Airport Authority announced the launch Last month, MorningThe new space, which Wingstop is Bon Ami. However, with Hudson having of, a website designed bell Records (4760 Interstate 55 Frontage dubbing 952 North, will be available as a left the restaurant scene following Bon to provide visitors with a comprehensive Rd.) opened Morningbell Café inside the rental room for parties, dancing, wedding Ami’s recent closure, Market Bites was in source of airline information and servicrecord shop’s new location. Morningbell receptions and other events. 952 North need of a new resident chef. es offered at the Jackson-Medgar Wiley Café offers coffee, lattes, and Evers International Airport. hot chocolate as well as panini The website provides sandwiches, salads and more. easy access to information The café’s signature sandwich about arriving and departing is the Bacon Date, consisting flights, restaurants, gift shops, of bacon and goat cheese with lost and found, baggage claim sliced dates on ciabatta. and parking. Users can also Morningbell normally find detailed maps of parking features live music twice a lots and terminals and book week, but for March, the flights. is schedule has been expanded to usable on any mobile device. three shows a week to accom“We are excited about modate the large number of the launch of iFlyJackson. artists passing through Jackson com,” JMAA CEO Dirk on their way to the upcoming Vanderleest said in a release. South by Southwest festival in “This is one of many of our Austin, Texas. steps toward advancing and This week, Nightmare improving our technology. Boys and The Overnight Our goal is to provide the best Lows perform Wednesday; customer service to our curFriday will feature M.O.T.O. rent and prospective clients by and Light Beam Rider; and providing better access to imSaturday brings New Orleans portant information about all hip-hop band MadFro and of the airport services we offer Morningbell Records recently opened and now offers live music three nights a week instead of two. Jackson band Spacewolf. through” In addition to this For information, call month’s musical expansion, JMAA at 601-939-5631. March 22 marks Morningbell’s second will feature full audio and visual comOn March 10, Chef Luis Bruno, anniversary. Morningbell owner Drew ponents, projection screens, and enough owner of Adobo (127 S. Roach St.), is Twedt to Neel-Schaffer Veep McKercher is planning a second birth- space for 150 people. For information, stepping in to fill that role. Market Bites Jackson-based Neel Schaffer has day extravaganza for the occasion, but contact the Jackson Wingstop at 601- with Luis Bruno will feature a menu simi- promoted Steve Twedt to the post of details are still secret for now. 969-6400. lar to that of Adobo, including shrimp vice president in charge of the engineerMorningbell Café is currently open Interiors Market (659 Duling Ave.) and artichoke salad, a roasted chicken ing firm’s South Mississippi operation. A from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., but McKercher will soon have a new and well-known salad sandwich, a roasted salmon burger, native of South Mississippi, Twedt joined plans to eventually have the café open for Jackson chef for its Market Bites restau- and more. Neel-Schaffer in 2010 as area manager full store hours from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. rant. Market Bites, which has been open The food at Market Bites with and works out of the Biloxi office. and introduce new dinner options. Monday through Friday for 20 years, Luis Bruno will be delivered fresh daily Comment Send business The Jackson Wingstop location functions as both a restaurant and a social from Adobo. news to


TALK | justice

At Youth Jail, a Question of Progress


n the fall of 2010, after a 17-year-old named D.I. threatened to commit suicide at the Henley Young Youth Justice Center, a juvenile detention officer responded that if the teen was successful then it would be one fewer person for the staff to deal with. When staff members taunting mentally ill kids is the baseline, the bar is so low that any improvement seems like a lot of improvement. Two years after a federal consent decree and a lawsuit against the Hinds County Board of Supervisors over abuse that D.I. and other children say they suffered at the Hinds County-run youth jail, attorneys for the plaintiffs and county officials are at an impasse over exactly how much progress has been made at the facility. The settlement agreement outlines 71 areas ranging from the cleanliness of the floors, adequate staffing and staff training to the range of educational programs offered in which Henley-Young needs to comply. On Feb. 27, the Southern Poverty Law Center, which, along with Disability Rights Mississippi represented plaintiffs in the suit, sought a federal contempt order against the county


by R.L. Nave

The Henley Young Youth Justice Center has “substantially� complied with three out of 71 areas a federal settlement agreement indicates improvements are needed. Now, attorneys are arguing over whether that’s a little or a lot.

for failing to come into “substantial compliance� with any of the provisions the consent decree outlines. “They have made some progress, but it’s minimal, and they definitely have a long way to go,� Corrie Cockrell, an SPLC staff attorney, told the Jackson Free Press. Under the agreement, an independent monitor visits the facility once per quarter and submits a progress report to the federal court. Leonard B. Dixon, a juvenile-justice expert from Michigan, has filed six such reports, including one on the same day the SPLC filed its contempt motion in district

court. It shows that the facility has made “substantial compliance� in three areas (the SPLC plans to amend its motion to reflect that progress) and 13 provisions of “partial compliance.� “Although there is a way to go this is commendable. The facility must now maintain this momentum,� Dixon wrote in the report. Cockrell said the SPLC filed the contempt motion only “after numerous attempts to resolve the issues with county officials� failed. The SPLC wanted the county to voluntarily extend the settlement agreement

for another two years. But Pieter Teeuwissen, the Hinds County board attorney, calls the accusation that the county was unwilling to negotiate with the SPLC “patently false.� “The county has repeatedly asked SPLC to propose a narrowly tailored extension of the consent decree,� Teeuwissen told the JFP. “The SPLC wants to extend the entire thing as if no progress has been made.� One of the main sticking points appears to be the length of proposed settlement extension. In an Jan. 27 email to Cockrell, Hinds County Special Counsel Lisa Ross wrote: “I am getting a lot of pushback on this extension. The board (of supervisors) at this juncture will not agree to an 18th month extension.� Ross proposed a six-month extension with the understanding of implementing another six-month extension if necessary. Among the areas where the facility had made substantial progress were no restraint chairs, chemical restraints or firearms being present in the facility. Cockrell says those are areas in which the county could have been substantially compliant months ago. Comment at





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Does He Love Me?


t was my 13th birthday when my mom got me a guitar, and my dad never called. Like the beer cans that litter the bedroom floor, the birthdays and Christmases with no phone calls start to pile up. You just assume that your dad’s funny way of speaking and shaking hands and staggering movements and sudden bouts of loud noises and broken coffee tables and fights with your stepmom are just part of being a dad. You wonder what you did wrong. You ask your mom why your dad isn’t calling. She looks at you, puts on a brave face and makes up excuse after excuse. But she knows. All you can ask is, “Does he love me?� There’s guilt. Check. Anxiety. Check. Anger. Check. Depression. Check. Embarrassment. Double check. Inability to have close relationships. Check, check, check. Children of alcoholics develop fears of abandonment, researcher Gilda Berger found in 1993. The biggest check mark you can imagine. The National Association for Children of Alcoholic Parents receives more than 4,500 calls a year from children under 18 trying to deal with the emotional problems alcoholism causes. My parents divorced when I was 5, meaning that I spent every other weekend with my dad in apartments, double-wide trailers and, at one point, an actual house. I looked forward to my dad picking me up. Something was always going on—often a new girlfriend with kids I could play with. I would watch scandalous movies with my dad like “Pulp Fiction� or the first “Scary Movie.� It was fun. Then my mom started drug-testing him when he picked me up, and the rambunctious weekends in Saltillo, Miss., halted. I was hurt, which turned to anger, which turned to a lot of other things. But now I understand my father wasn’t choosing alcohol over me. I believe a disease was devouring him, eating away at his brain and clouding his judgment. Just as mental illness is a serious disease, so is alcoholism. The National Institutes of Health says most people who seek treatment are able to fight alcoholism. I urge not only my father, but every father, mother, brother, sister, wife and husband in America struggling with alcohol abuse to seek treatment. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that 18 million people in the United States suffer from alcoholism. It’s a disease that’s hard to shake and can be passed down to another generation. As a young college student who is dabbling in the arts of alcohol, that’s a terrifying fact. Zachary Orsborn is a student at Mississippi State University.


March 5 - 11, 2014



Why it stinks: It’s just plain irresponsible of Stokes—to say nothing of local media outlets who broadcast his unverified remarks—as an ally of the mayor and someone that people might assume is in the know about the mayor’s death to go spouting off conspiracy theories that even he admits he has no proof for. Stokes’ remarks represent not only an ugly distraction as Jackson continues to grieve Lumumba’s loss and wonder what the future holds for their city government, but a painful distraction for Lumumba’s family. While mourning his dad and planning a memorial service, Lumumba’s son had to issue media statements in response to Stokes’ ludicrous and unfounded claims. It was shameful.

Take a Breath, Jackson


t’s been a tough week for Jackson. Right after we sent our last issue to the printer, we got the news that Mayor Chokwe Lumumba had passed away. This was devastating for our city and all of us who respected him immensely. He had defied many predictions and united the city in a way we’d never seen. He will be missed. Meantime, as we approach Lumumba’s wake and memorial service, which should be a reverent and peaceful reprieve from Jackson-style dirty politics, many people are jostling both to speak for the Lumumba family and to tell us all who we should and should not vote for on April 8 to replace him. Then there is the downright sensationalism stoked by Hinds County Supervisor Kenneth Stokes and various Facebook sages pushing the notion that the mayor was murdered (even though no one yet has revealed a lick of proof). Meantime, the family has made it clear to us (because, unlike many media outlets, we asked them) that they have no evidence to support that notion. It has been an open secret for a long time that Lumumba’s health was precarious at best—and perhaps even “infirm� as one JFP staffer speculated during the mayoral campaign. Lumumba deflected questions about his health when we’ve asked; thus, we could not report as fact that he was gravely ill, without private medical records proving otherwise. We still await a clarification of his exact cause of death, and what he suffered from and how long, which his family and medical practitioners owe the people who voted for him.

Still, it is completely irresponsible for both elected officials and supposedly “real� media outlets to spread the rumor that Lumumba was murdered. This will only instill fear and distrust in a traumatized electorate—which could be the purpose. Newspapers and television stations should know better: Our job is to investigate evidence of such an accusation, not throw it out there hoping it helps with shrinking ratings and readers. (It is “sweeps month,� after all.) Let’s be clear: To date, we are not aware of any evidence that Mr. Lumumba died of anything but natural causes, and his family has not indicated otherwise. We also support the idea of an autopsy with results fully and promptly revealed to the public he served. We also admit dreading another brutal city election after the mess the last one became. We urge candidates to honor the late mayor by, finally, engaging in the kind of campaign that lifts our city up—and that doesn’t involve nasty flyers thrown in yards or left under windshield wipers. It also needs to include a commitment to full and timely disclosure of campaign donations by all candidates and PACs. Put simply: The Jackson public has been through enough. It’s time to stop trying to scaring us into voting against someone and instead run clean, adult campaigns so we can choose the next best leader with solid information. Mayor Lumumba helped us all grow up a bit as a city; let’s do him the honor of continuing that path to maturity during this special election.

Email letters and opinion to, fax to 601-510-9019 or mail to 125 South Congress St., Suite 1324, Jackson, Mississippi 39201. Include daytime phone number. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, as well as factchecked.


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ome people were introduced to Mayor Chokwe Lumumba as this combative, aggressive man of militant values. Some knew him as the father to two children who raised them alone after the death of his wife. Many knew him as Tupac’s attorney. The rest knew him as the short-lived mayor of Jackson. Jackson is starving for improvement. We know this because we continue to see groups forming all over the city to save us from crime, lack of leadership, complacency, etc. There’s always something to fight for and someone willing to point out the imperfections. Often, communities end up fighting against each other all for a common reason—to make Jackson better. It’s a great cause, no one will argue that, but our means to the end has caused us to make little to no traction. I credit our dear mayor for working hard to bridge these communities and bring the effort to unification. When I heard the news of his departure from this earthly life, like many, I prayed instantly that it wasn’t true. I prayed for his children. No matter how old you are, losing a parent is costly to your soul. Then, most persistently, I prayed for Jackson and the children of Jackson—all of us. We lost a soldier in Brother Chokwe. Our city lost an ally that decided that even if he wasn’t in the best of health, he’d fight until he couldn’t any more for us; for Jackson. It’s no secret that I didn’t vote for him, but once he took office, he was just as much my mayor as he was of those who campaigned for him. The night he won, I accepted him as our city’s leader, and I rooted for his success as I would have for anyone who took office. I committed to supporting his vision for this city, just as any dedicated Jacksonian would. I believed in “One city, one aim, one destiny.� I remembered hearing his name ring through my household as a child when my father and his friends talked about the movement and the struggles of Jackson. His legacy was formed before he decided to take Jackson into his hands and lead us to a better course. It didn’t take long for him to show what his leadership would bring to the city. Not too long ago, maybe one or two generations back, leaders understood the

definition of the word a little better than we do today. Leaders gave of themselves and their livelihood to help coming generations. You see, leaders didn’t lead for popularity sake; to win elections; to have their picture in the paper. They recognized that the attention being placed on them alone could cost them their lives and thus, the revolution itself. I believe Mayor Lumumba to be from that school of thought. True leaders do not seek fame before improvement. Leaders do not put their agendas before the people. Leaders do not thrive on controversy. Leaders do not make spectacles of themselves for a press headline. Leaders create and put into action plans that will improve the lives of all people and generations to come. Leaders don’t stop leading when the election is over. Leaders don’t pop up only during election year. Leaders lead even when there is nothing to win except the people’s prize. Leaders are willing to be unpopular for the betterment of their people. They are willing to make decisions that may not be comfortable for all, but prove better in time. They are willing to put themselves to the side, so that the people may unite and rise together. Leaders are ready to give up their lives and their level of comfort for the future of those led by them. I’m honored to have been able to see true leadership, even if just briefly. Now I pray that we are careful and remain dedicated to the city. While we are mourning, we also must think of what’s to come for our city. You may not have liked where Lumumba came from or the message he brought, but he demanded respect for his experience and expertise in leadership. He demanded respect for his willingness to listen and to encourage the next generation to become leaders and to utilize their gifts to build this city. He was a leader, and he earned our respect. As we prepare to send Brother Chokwe Lumumba off to that revolutionary celebration beyond, I graciously take from his time here on earth that being a leader means being selfless. May our next mayor be as determined and selfless as Chokwe Lumumba. Funmi “Queen� Franklin is a word lover, poet and advocate for sisterhood.

Leaders don’t stop leading when the election is over.


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The Lumumba Legacy:

What Happens Now? by Ronni Mott and R.L. Nave

March 5 - 11, 2014

T 14

he election of Chokwe Lumumba as mayor eight months ago was a big surprise to many people in Jackson—that is, unless you had an ear to the ground. In the neighborhoods, among the silent majority of people who lacked the disposable income to fund expensive campaigns and who believed Lumumba could give them a political voice, Lumumba always had support. Lumumba was the first to admit that he was a radical. He was never satisfied with the status quo. He became a lawyer for the express purpose of defending people from civil-rights abuses. Over four decades, Lumumba advocated for the disenfranchised and dis-empowered, and he gained an international reputation and following. But neither the accolades nor the hard work hardened him. Instead, it strengthened his resolve for service and made him more inclusive. It was Lumumba’s character and brilliance that had like-minded people come to Jackson to continue the work for equality begun during the civil-rights era. In Mississippi, where it took the protection of federal troops to have African Americans attend public schools and universities with whites, Lumumba believed a new era of the movement—an economic revolution—could take root and flourish. “There’s a problem with economics in the United States,” Lumumba told the Jackson Free Press in early February. As he saw it—and many agree—the Wall Street version of American prosperity excludes most American people of all races and ethnicities. The problem shows up in the disconnected “relationship of the employee to the job,” he said. “It’s (in) the

commitment of the government to make sure everyone’s fairly treated in the society.” Lumumba’s economic vision sees people as creators of their own prosperity, claiming the power of self-determination. The people who inspired by Lumumba recruited him to run for a seat on the Jackson City Council in 2009 and for the mayor’s office in 2013. “We are a population here now in the need of a lot of development,” Lumumba told Democracy Now last June. “Development is one of the tracks, or one of the roads, to human rights and to the recognition of human rights, especially our economic human rights. And some of that development is going to take the kind of lead-

ership and the kind of consistency that we had in the struggle for voting rights and other kinds of rights, which has been unique to our history.” Lumumba never wavered from his mantras, either in his speech or his actions. Chief among them was “the people must decide” and his campaign motto: “Educate, motivate, organize.” In the few months that Lumumba held the title of mayor, his quiet grace, consistency and dedication to the people’s welfare shifted the perceptions of even his biggest detractors, including many white conservatives who feared him during his campaign. “I guess they were expecting a monster,” Lumumba

Honoring the Mayor by Amber Helsel

Celebration of Life for the Honorable Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, March 7-8 The viewing of Lumumba’s body will be open to the public at City Hall (219 S. President St.) from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and 5 to 7 p.m. March 7. A remembrance hour will be from 4 to 5 p.m. The Celebration of Life Service will be March 8 at the Jackson Convention

Center (105 E. Pascagoula St.) at 11 a.m. Lumumba will be buried following the service at Autumn Woods Memorial Gardens (4000 W. Northside Dr.). Send flowers to Willis & Sons Funeral Home, 5235 Robinson Road Ext., Jackson, MS 39204. Send letters of condolences to City Hall,

Attention: Halima Olufemi, 219 S. President St., Jackson, MS 39201. JSU Tribute to Mayor Lumumba, March 5. Jackson State will pay tribute to Chokwe Lumumba’s life and legacy at 6 p.m. at the Rose E. McCoy Auditorium. The doors open at 5:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Chokwe Lumumba, 1947-2014 told the Jackson Free Press Feb. 5. “And I’m just Chokwe Lumumba, the same person I’ve always been.â€? People afraid that he was too radical and divisive, and who backed other candidates in last year’s mayoral election, soon learned he was about bringing people together for the good of the city and its residents. “I have never met a person like Chokwe,â€? Ben Allen, president of Downtown Jackson Partners, told the Jackson Free Press upon hearing of his death. “So much theory and presumption but so little knowledge about him before he was elected. I was guilty. I respect him and enjoyed his passion for all of Jackson and his friendship in his short time as mayor. We will miss his kind presence and spirit.â€? ‘Mississippi was the Place’ One of the areas that demonstrated Lumumba’s inclusive nature and his long-running commitment to the people was immigrant rights’ issues. Bill Chandler, executive director of the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance, had worked with Lumumba for decades. The former mayor was one of the founding members of the 14-year-old organization Chandler leads. “We both felt, independently of each other, that Mississippi was the place that if social change was going to happen in the United States, if it’s going to happen, it’s got to emanate from the South. ‌ Mississippi was the place to work, to organize,â€? Chandler said. “One of the major things we’d been working on for a long time, even before he was elected to city council, was to find a way to make Jackson a more welcoming city for immigrants,â€? he added.

Patricia Ice, MIRA’s legal project director, met Lumumba on the picket line in the late 1960s at Wayne State University in Michigan, where they both received their law degrees. Lumumba had led a protest there against discriminatory grading practices, and returned to support the students even after he graduated. Chandler and Ice, who are married, met each other much later, in 2001. Working together with Ice, Lumumba presented an anti-profiling ordinance, modeled on one from Detroit, Mich., to the Jackson City Council in 2010, when he held the Ward 2 council seat. “That was an important ordinance. Basically it established the basis for Jackson to be a better environment for immigrants, regardless of their country of origin and regardless of their immigrant status,� Chandler said. During Lumumba’s mayoral candidacy, Chandler went into the neighborhoods, “block-walking,� as he calls it. He found many homes that were empty due to foreclosures. MIRA and the former mayor were in conversations to make some of those houses available to immigrants. Chandler has already seen some success, particularly in south Jackson, but he points to law-enforcement’s “indifference� as a problem that has yet to be overcome. “In the previous administration, somehow, the ordinance did not get down to the beat level,� Chandler said. As an example, he pointed to a lack of police presence at events where immigrants gathered, such as soccer games at Battlefield Park, and a lack of interpreters who could assist immigrants with crime reporting. The Hinds County Sheriff’s office has made efforts to close the language gap, Chandler said, pointing to the

sheriff’s hiring of bi-lingual deputies and a dispatcher. “We still have a long way to go with the city of Jackson,â€? he said. MIRA was working with the mayor on an officer training program for the city’s police force. Chandler was also involved with Lumumba’s transition team after his mayoral election, focusing on the city’s parks and recreation department. The team was able to identify several new sources of revenue, such as grants, to expand the city’s parks to transform them into recreation centers, and train park rangers in community outreach. Rangers are primarily law-enforcement officers, Chandler said, which limits their effectiveness to interact with people using the parks for legitimate purposes. Like many in Lumumba’s circle, June Hardwick had a long-term relationship with the mayor. She first met him 25 years ago, when she was 13 years old. Last August, Lumumba appointed her to Jackson’s Municipal Court bench. “The mayor accomplished in .02 seconds more than his prior mayors,â€? Hardwick said. â€œâ€Ś The initiatives that we see right now, today, were under developmentâ€? for years. “Those of us who have worked with him, regardless of their affiliation with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, what people are not surprised by is all that he was able to accomplish in such a short period of time,â€? she added. “We’re not surprised, because this has all was a part of the plan.â€? Working for the People In the days following Lumumba’s death, those who PRUH:+$71(;7VHHSDJH

‘Baba’ Chokwe TRIP BURNS


ometimes, Adofo Minka, a 27year-old law clerk with Lumumba, Freelon & Associates, would drive his boss, Chokwe Lumumba, to court appointments around the state. On those long car rides, the men discussed law, black nationalism, the meaning of Malcolm X and the responsibilities associated with having a family. “The brother, he was real open,� Minka said. Minka had relocated to Jackson in 2012 after graduating from law school in St. Louis with his now-wife, Shanina Carmichael. Before the move, Lumumba, who was a member of the Jackson City Council at the time, invited the couple to his home and gave them a tour of Jackson, including a home once owned by the Republic of New Afrika of which Lumumba was a member and the site where police killed two Jackson State University student protesters in 1970. Lumumba, a Detroit native, had come to Jackson in the early 1970s as young activist and moved his family here permanently in the ’80s. Over the years,

Chokwe Lumumba was a father figure to many more people than his biological children, Rukia (right) and Chokwe Antar (left). Until his death, Lumumba was a mentor to dozens of young activists over the years.

Lumumba and Malcolm X Grassroots Roots Movement, which he founded, have quietly recruited dozens of young socialjustice-minded people to Jackson. People come—and go—for their many reasons.

But often, those reasons involve training under Lumumba, whom many youngsters called “baba,� a Swahili word for father. “I wanted to be a lawyer, and who is greater to learn from than this man who

has struggled 30, 40 years for human rights on behalf of people?� Minka said. In fact, Lumumba was a living, breathing history lesson, especially for up-and-coming human-rights attorneys interested in understanding the relationship between the fight for civil rights and American-style justice and fighting it out in courtrooms. “As a young lawyer, he was someone I wanted pattern myself after because he was the movement attorney who had taken on cases that some of us had read about—people who put their lives on the line for black liberation struggles, Chokwe Lumumba represented those people,� said Kamau Franklin, a New Yorker who came to Jackson in 2011 with his wife, Edget, to manage Tyrone Lewis’ bid to become Hinds County’s first African American sheriff. Lumumba represented defendants in the 1981 Brinks armored-car robbery, organized by a group called the Black Liberation Army. Lumumba’s clients also included Assata Shakur, who remains exiled in Cuba, Assata’s nephew Tupac Shakur, a PRUH%$%$VHHSDJH

by R.L. Nave


Chokwe Lumumba, 1947-2014 :+$71(;7IURPSDJH

knew him best eulogized him in print and on the air. Akinyele Umoja, associate professor and chairman of Georgia State University’s Department of African American Studies, was a founding member— along with Lumumba—of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and the New Afrikan Peoples Organization. Umoja emphasized that the mayor always deferred to the people who elected him. “When you heard ‌ him saying, ‘the people will decide,’ that slogan was put into practice by organizing an assembly that would develop his platform,â€? Umoja said on a Democracy Now radio broadcast Feb. 26. “So his platform actually came from the community and not out of his head or not out of our organization. They formed this People’s Assembly that helped him get elected, formed his platform, but also stayed organized while he was serving the city council to provide him with direction on how he should proceed on policy.â€? Hardwick confirmed Umoja’s assessment. “It wasn’t just his idea,â€? she said. “There was a lot of deliberation over whether he should run.â€? That kind of leadership takes someone capable of putting his ego aside. And though a “people’s movementâ€? is, perhaps by definition, a leaderless movement, the people looked to Lumumba to keep the train on the tracks and moving forward within city government. They could count on Lumumba to make hard decisions and push difficult agendas without giving up his principles. Perhaps the most difficult decisions Lumumba had

to make was to put at least some of the financial onus for fixing the city’s crumbling infrastructure back on the citizens. The measures he enacted would further strain the budgets of many people in Jackson. The U.S. Census Bureau put the percentage of Jacksonians below the federal poverty level at 28.2 percent in 2012, and the median individual income at below $19,000 annually. But the measures were necessary in the face of the millions the city needs to fix or replace its ancient pipes and pothole decimated roads. In August 2013, Lumumba announced increased rates for water and sewer services. Then, in September, the mayor said he wanted to put a 1-cent sales tax increase to a vote. Jackson would lose the opportunity to levy the tax, which the Mississippi Legislature enacted in 2011, in July. The voters had to approve the tax by a 60 percent majority. The law was controversial from the start. It specifies a 10-member oversight commission and gives Jackson only three appointments. Both Lumumba and former Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. were vehemently opposed to commission, but true to his word, Lumumba let the people decide—though not without some urging—after indicating that he had made a deal with the chamber over the appointments, which the chamber denied. Voters overwhelmingly gave their approval in January, and the tax increase took effect March 1. The projection is that it will raise $15 million annually toward the city’s infrastructure needs.

‘[H]is platform actually came from the community’

March 5 - 11, 2014



hip-hop star who was murdered in 1996, as well as Mississippi’s Jamie and Gladys Scott. The Scott sisters became an international symbol for the injustice of U.S. courts when they were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for an armed robbery that netted a small amount of money, just $11 by some accounts. Chokwe Antar Lumumba, Lumumba’s son, said few people ask or understand why his father moved his family to Deep South in the late ‘80s. “My father came here for the sole purpose of doing work,� Chokwe Antar told the Jackson Free Press in a telephone interview. The late mayor, who described himself as “a hell of a lawyer,� never lacked selfconfidence and possessed a stubbornness that led to numerous contempt-of-court citations when he pushed back against judges he believed were railroading his clients—leading to attempts to disbar him. Yet, in his behind-the-scene dealings with his staff, Lumumba’s ego took a backseat

to his desire to motivate and inspire the people around him. C.J. Lawrence, a Lumumba family friend, says he was surprised when Lumumba asked him to manage social media for Lumumba’s 2013 mayoral campaign. Later, after Lumumba won election, Lawrence joined the administration’s communication staff as director of marketing, where he also manages the city’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. In that role, Lawrence, along with interim communications director Jewell Davis, public information officer Chris Mabry and policy director Walter Zinn, made up the committee that spearheaded the recent one-percent local sales tax option referendum, which passed with more than 90 percent voter support in January. The tax went into effect March 1. Leaving the fate of $300 million in revenue for street repairs in the hands of a 20- and 30-somethings might have been a huge roll of the dice and stymied Lumumba’s agenda had the vote failed. But the way Lumumba seemed to look at it, these young people would lead Jackson

“I still adhere to the concept that the commission shouldn’t be there,� Lumumba said last month, but he worked with what he had. He negotiated and suggested appointees to all parties and asked them to respect his submissions. When the Greater Jackson Chamber of Commerce announced its four appointees Feb. 20, all of the appointees were residents of Jackson and two were presidents of the two historically black colleges in Jackson. The chamber’s direction under the law was to appoint Jackson business owners, and it maintained that its appointees were of its own choosing. Nonetheless, the outcome is, perhaps, a testament to Lumumba’s gentle persuasion. “The Mayor’s opinions on things would change somewhat as he gained more information,� Hardwick said. “He was very open-minded, and he was very reasonable. Things had to make sense to him before he would move forward.� In the wake of his death, the question for many people is whether the community initiatives Lumumba set in motion will survive. The people on the ground are confident that they will. “While we recognize Lumumba’s leadership is irreplaceable, MXGM always operated on the basis of collective leadership, and we will be drawing on that collective leadership now more than ever,� said Kali Williams, Jackson’s special projects and external funding coordinator. Williams and his wife, Sacajawea Hall, are heavily involved with Jackson Rising, a project that is educating and encouraging Jacksonians to begin cooperative, employee-owned businesses. The group kicked off the project in January with a session at the Roadmap to Health Equity building at the Jackson Medical Mall and will

one day; they might as well get acclimated to handling big, heavy decisions now. “The confidence instilled in us drove us,� said Davis, who had also been a public-information officer in Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr.’s administration. “These are highly stressful jobs, but because of the camaraderie among the colleagues, it really propelled us and motivated us.� Davis and Lawrence describe staff meetings, which Lumumba led along with his chief-of-staff Dr. Safiya Omari, as more akin to family dinner hour than a cutthroat boardroom. Lumumba’s management style, they say, more closely resembled that of a mediator than a heavy-handed administrator. “What Chokwe tried to do was balance what he saw was differing opinions. Unlike most elders who played leadership roles, Chokwe took the opportunity to listen to what you were trying to say whether you were young or new or someone who was trying to challenge the status quo, and he would try to incorporate that into a ‘which way forward,’� Kamau Franklin said of his mentor.


In the wake of Lumumba’s untimely death, the way forward seems murky as Jackson braces for a special election that could yield a new mayor, possibly one who does not share the vision of Lumumba and the young people he had been training to some day lead the city. But finding a way forward after losing a charismatic leader has been the challenge throughout history, Adofo Minka said. Jackson without Chokwe Lumumba will be different. “When King was assassinated, that was the challenge—continuing to do the Poor People’s Campaign. No one came out of Malcolm’s camp. It was these guys in Oakland, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale (of the Black Panther Party). Even going back to biblical times if you look at the story of Jesus. I hope it’s not the case, that the forces that have gathered around Chokwe are going to be vanquished, paralyzed because of his death,� Minka said. “But this man has impacted so many people so heavily you never know who’s going to rise up out of the ranks.� Comment at

Chokwe Lumumba, 1947-2014

Jackson Tragedy: The RNA, Revisited by Donna Ladd

one safe from the violence routinely inflicted on them by whites, including police officers right here in Jackson. Police reports and other files the JFP has collected from the time show a tense relationship between the RNA and local police officers, who at the time did not hide their racism and disdain for any type of self-defense on the part of blacks.

held 13 days of public hearings in Jackson and other cities. But no convictions or arrests of any military or police officer resulted, further building the determination of “black power” groups like the RNA to get armed and fight back if attacked. Likewise, law enforcement feared the RNA—and the men and women who were arming themselves to protect themTRIP BRUNS

This unassuming house near Jackson State University served as the headquarters of the Republic of New Afrika in 1971. One morning in August that year, Jackson police and FBI agent raided the house without notice, resulting in a shootout and the death of a JPD officer,William Skinner.

Few, though, actually seem to know much about the group and what happened one fateful August morning in 1971. Philadelphia, Pa., native Dr. Imari Abubakari Obadele—formerly Richard Henry—started the Republic of New Africa on March 31, 1968, along with his brother, a friend of Malcolm X. The goal was “to free black people in the United States from oppression,” and to promote self-sufficiency as well as self-defense. Obadele and followers—including a young Chokwe Lumumba—relocated to Mississippi where they became integral to a black separatist movement that wanted the U.S. to cede parts of the heart of the Confederacy back to descendants of slaves. They demanded land as reparations and planned to help other blacks provide each other six essentials: food, clothing, education, housing, medical treatment and selfdefense. They purchased a large plot of land in Hinds County near Bolton where they hoped to establish a separate and selfsufficient nation for black people—and

This white-power/black-power feud exploded May 13, 1970. After several days of student protest at Jackson State over the draft and the May 4 Kent State killings of four student protesters by the National Guard, officers from JPD and the Mississippi Highway Patrol barricaded Lynch Street at both ends of the college. The officers moved in with 38 officers opening fire toward the girls’ dorm, Alexander Hall. JSU junior Philip Gibbs, 21, and high school student James Earl Green, who stopped while walking home to watch the protest, were killed, and four students were injured inside the dorm. The bullet holes are still visible in the dorm wall. After the deaths at Kent State and Jackson State, anti-government and police fervor swept college campuses—with more than 100 demonstrations or student strikes a day. More than 500 colleges temporarily closed. On June 13, 1970, President Nixon established “The President’s Commission on Campus Unrest,” which

selves and fellow African Americans, including children. Some even dared to sit defiantly on porches with their shotguns here in Jackson as police drove by. But the white majority culture of the time could not allow black people to arm and defend themselves, even if they would defend to the death their own right to do the same. According to joint research by Brown University and Tougaloo, the FBI targeted the RNA and began raiding their meetings. In August 1971, the Jackson Police Department and the FBI together, without warning, raided the RNA’s heavily armed headquarters before dawn at 1148 Lewis St., a house several blocks north of Jackson State, with heavy arms, tear gas and warrants to make four arrests for outstanding warrants. Police reports show that after surrounding the house—and with the Thompson Tank there as backup—FBI agent James Sammon shouted over a bullhorn that the occupants had one minute

to come out of the house. After 75 seconds, FBI agent William Crumley fired a round of tear gas into the house. Then the firing began on both sides. Jackson police Lt. William Louis Skinner—the father of Hinds Justice Court Judge Bill Skinner who had a running feud with Obadele—was killed in the shoot-out. Another patrolman and an FBI agent were wounded. Eleven RNA members, including Margaret Walker Alexander’s son and Obadele, who was not there when the raid occurred, were put on trial for murder. None of the alleged fugitives or the then-24-year-old Lumumba was in the house during the raid. The seven RNA members inside the small, but well-armed house were young intellectuals ranging in age from 19 to 26 and included a pregnant woman, Toni Austin. Eight of the “RNA 11” were ultimately convicted and sentenced to prison. Obadele was released after 17 months in jail and the original murder charge dropped. However, federal authorities arrested him again, charging him with conspiracy to assault a federal officer. Witnesses at the trial testified that they had overhead Obadele, on an earlier date than the raid, say to Lt. Skinner that he would “be ready” for police if they targeted the RNA house (see docs for the full exchange). Obadele was convicted, and served five years. After his release in 1980, Obadele got his Ph.D. in political science from Temple University. Before his death in 2010, he taught at several colleges and written a number of books, continuing to uphold the same principles he preached before—calling for reparations for slavery that would enable blacks to establish a separate, self-sufficient “black nation.” Obadele also filed a $2.4 million lawsuit against federal officials for eight years of covert spying on him and his organization, including illegal break-ins, telephone taps and attempts to kill members. The lawsuit was dismissed in 1989. The split between many blacks and whites over the RNA vs. JPD/FBI gun battle has continued over the years with one side claiming murder and the other self-defense. The facts of the case, even as captured by the police themselves, show that it was far more complicated—and tragic—than some choose to remember. Regardless of what one thinks of the RNA’s goals and tactics, it was clearly a movement that white supremacy built. Some of the JFP’s RNA files and police 17 reports are posted at


t’s hard to have a conversation with just about anyone about Chokwe Lumumba without hearing “RNA” at least once. His detractors loved to use his alliance with the group against him, even accusing him of crimes he didn’t commit. On the other hand, Lumumba loved to tell stories about the group’s efforts to “free the land” for African Americans in the south.

Chokwe Lumumba, 1947-2014 :+$71(;7IURPSDJH R L NAVE

While on the Jackson City Council, Chokwe Lumumba helped pass an anti-racial-profiling ordinance. He often touted the ordinance as one of his major accomplishments, including at the April 2012 Walk Against Fear event at the Capitol.

hold another informational session March 13 at the New Dimension Ministry on Alta Woods Boulevard in south Jackson. Jackson Rising also has a big conference planned for May 2-4 at Jackson State University. Jackson Rising has set up a fundraising website on

Indigogo to raise $10,000 for the conference. It’s appropriate that the funds for a people’s project should come from the people. “People are stepping up locally, and people are stepping up nationally,� Hall said, but she stressed that this

is a local movement. Organizers have gone back to the neighborhoods to rally support for the initiative, going door-to-door to speak with the people, just as they did during Lumumba’s political campaigns. “We’re going to continue to do the work,� she said. Building a Cooperative Economy One of Lumumba’s great strengths was to surround himself with people aligned with his vision, even convincing them to move to town and help make the MXGM’s Jackson “Kush� Plan a reality. Lumumba saw Mississippi as fertile ground for the plan, which is based on black-nationalist ideals, including a decentralized government run by committees of the people, called “People’s Assemblies.� The plan causes considerable consternation for some Jacksonians, many of whom believe that it will force businesses and white citizens out of the city. The economically powerful perceive it as a threat to their hegemony. “The good thing about the mayor’s plans is that they weren’t singular plans,� Hardwick said. “It is a collective effort, so although he is now missing, the plan will continue to unfold, whoever is elected.� Among its central ideas is to build the local economy through “a process of promoting cooperative economics that promote social solidarity, mutual aid, reciprocity and generosity,� including “worker cooperatives to informal affinitybased neighborhood bartering networks.� The far-reaching plan also includes housing co-ops, community-development credit unions, local urban farms and farmers markets, working with young people to increase

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Chokwe Lumumba, 1947-2014


Lumumba Timeline August 2, 1947 Born Edwin Taliaferro in Detroit, Mich.

September 15, 1955 A photo of Emmett Till’s open casket appeared in Jet Magazine, which Lumumba said first pricked his political conscience

April 4, 1968 The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, which Lumumba said was his entrée to the human-rights movement

1969 Graduated from Kalamazoo College; around this time, he also shed his birth name and adopted the name Chokwe Lumumba

civic engagement and challenging “right to work” laws. Expanding green public transportation and creating a network of solar and wind generators is also is among its goals. Jackson Rising organizers have embraced the MXGM vision to make Jackson the focal point for modeling empowered grassroots economic development. “We are at a forefront, now, that is not only going to affect Mississippi,” said organizer Iya’ Falola H. Omobola during the Feb. 27 Jackson City Council meeting. She added that the model set through Jackson Rising has the potential to affect economics across the country in an era where the status quo long ago stopped supporting the majority of working Americans. Shelby Parsons of Rainbow Cooperative Grocery also spoke to support the Jackson Rising conference at the council meeting. Rainbow organized as a cooperative in Wisconsin before setting up shop in Jackson. Current state law allows only a narrow category of cooperatives, which adds challenges for Jackson Rising, although work-arounds exist such as incorporating out of state or forming limited partnerships. “Cooperatives are run democratically by their worker-owners,” Parsons said. “The decisions that are made are made for the benefit of the many, not the few,” and provide living-wage jobs that have the potential of moving people out of poverty. Because local people own them, cooperatives contribute to a recession-resilient and equitable economy, she added. Hall said that the sense of hope and empowerment such a movement can engender is as important as the tangible results it can produce. Jackson Rising does not intend to fold up its tent, and the city council pledged its support for the conference through a resolution adopted Feb. 27. The item on the meeting agenda still had Lumumba’s name as its sponsor.

‘I Work Hard’ During the Feb. 5 interview with Lumumba, this reporter remarked that he looked tired—which he did—and asked him about the never-ending rumors about his health. “It’s this job,” the mayor replied with an exasperated sigh. He quickly added that he appreciated people’s concerns. “I plan to be around for a while,” he said. “I’d probably be looking like this if I was still practicing law,” he added. “I work hard, and if you work hard, sooner or later it tells on you.” Chokwe Lumumba died Feb. 25. “I would never imagine in a million years, or could have predicted that he would die,” Hardwick said. “He should be here and alive and well. Clearly, his body was tired, and God just called him home. We have to accept that.” The job for the people now is to find the strength within themselves to continue and generate the energy necessary to bring the MXGM vision to reality. They must find and support the right person to fill Lumumba’s very large shoes within the city government. The city council will set a date for a special election within the next couple of weeks. By law, the election must take place within 30 to 45 days. As of this writing, no one has announced a candidacy. “I think that we probably have the best city council that we’ve ever had in the history of the city (and) that is very supportive of the kinds of things Chokwe was talking about and working for,” Chandler said. “What we need is someone that will provide the kind of leadership to continue the work that Chokwe started. At this point, you can’t even speculate who that might be. … We need to regroup to continue that work.” See a gallery of Lumumba photos at jfp. ms/lumumbapictures. See an archive of stories, images and audio at

1971 Lumumba moved to Jackson, Miss., and was elected vice president of the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika, a new black-led nation in the American South. Later that same year, a shootout between RNA and Jackson police takes place; Lumumba was not involved in the shooting.

1975 Graduated from Wayne State Law School

1977 Met Patricia Ann Burke, later Nubia, on a flight from Detroit to Washington, D.C.

1978 Daughter, Rukia, was born

1980 Lumumba and Nubia married

1981 Lumumba represents defendants in the infamous New York City Brinks armed robbery trial

1983 Son, Chokwe Antar, born

1988 Lumumba family relocates to Jackson

1993 Lumumba represented hip-hop artist Tupac Shakur, charged in shooting two off-duty police officers in Atlanta

2009 Won seat on Jackson City Council representing Ward 2

May 21, 2013 Finished in second place in Jackson mayor’s race behind Jonathan Lee, whom he defeated in runoff election. Became presumptive mayor

June 4, 2013 Won general election for Jackson mayor

July 1, 2013 Sworn in as mayor of Jackson

January 14, 2014 At Lumumba’s urging, Jackson voters overwhelmingly voted to levy an addition one-cent sales tax on certain goods, which would help offset the cost of infrastructure repairs

Feb. 25, 2014 Lumumba passed away at St. Dominic’s hospital in Jackson

Chokwe Lumumba and his longtime partner, Gloria Elmore, prepare for Lumumba to take the oath as mayor of Jackson in July 2013.



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Chokwe Lumumba, 1947-2014

Growing Up Lumumba by R.L. Nave


This story is republished from the June 19, 2013, issue of the Jackson Free Press.


In an undated family portrait, Lumumba (far left) poses with daughter, Rukia (center top), son, Chokwe Antar (center bottom). and late wife, Nubia (far right).

Lumumba said the political climate of the time provided a rationale and a justification for his behavior. The movement came firstâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;everything else, including family responsibilities, was secondary. When he became a husband and father for a second time, he told Nubia that she would have to get used to his cheating. Despite her diminutive stature and her lack of familiarity with the movement, Nubia wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t having that. She left. The couple reconciled, but Lumumba said he remained distant and unfocused on his marriage even though he stopped cheating. The couple had another separation, this one lasting for more than a year. Around this time, Lumumba was representing defendants in the 1981 Brinks armored car robbery, organized by a group called the Black Liberation Army, and, later, a group of inmates accused of killing three guards at an Illinois prison. On top of the high-stakes cases he handled, the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi had threatened Lumumba, and police officers had pointed loaded guns at his head. None of that bothered him, but his

crumbling marriage ate at him. Originally, he thought that having a wife and children was incongruous with freedom fighting, but he realized that a lot of men in the freedom movement had successful long-term marriages and were good dads. The most notable among these was his hero, Malcolm X. Once he decided that his family was as worthy a cause to fight for as black liberation and human rights, Lumumba convinced Nubia to move to Jackson. It was a hard sell for Nubia, who grew up in Washington, D.C., and had lived in northern cities her entire life. The move to Mississippi marked a turning point in the Lumumbasâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; relationship. Nubia no longer represented an obstacle to his personal, professional and political goals. She was his partner and closest confidant. By the time they moved into a large ranch home with a pool in Jackson, they had a second child, a son named Chokwe Antar. When Chokwe Antar was little, he remembers sneaking into his parentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; bedroom and lie on the floor and listen as they talked. Whenever Lumumba was

considering taking on a big case, he and Nubia talked through it before discussing it with Chokwe Antar and Rukia. Lumumbaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s home life more closely resembled that of Cliff and Clair Huxtable than Eldridge and Kathleen Cleaver. Whenever conflicts arose, family meetings were called whether they were about neglected chores, Chokwe Antarâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s refusal to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance, Rukiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s missing curfew or a potentially controversial client Chokwe was taking that might draw negative publicity. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s my norm. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not unusual to hear someone not agree with my father. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not unusual to overhear a conversation where someone has some venomous words. It toughened my skin for something like a campaign,â&#x20AC;? said Chokwe Antar, who served as spokesman for his fatherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s winning run for Jackson mayor. Mediating controversy inside and outside the Lumumba household became as routine as summer vacation planning. PRUH)$0,/<VHHSDJH

n a flight from Detroit to Washington, D.C., in 1977, a young lawyer named Chokwe Lumumba saw something heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d never seen before: a flight-attendant crew consisting of three black women. Quiet, tall and self-confident, Lumumba wore a dashiki and high-water pants. Two of the women caught his eye, so he devised a plan to flirt with both of them. Lumumba asked both women for a cup of hot chocolate. One forgot his order; the attendant who remembered was a petite woman named Patricia Ann Burke. Essence Magazine detailed the relationship, and its ups and downs, in 1992. Lumumba and Burke exchanged phone numbers, and soon, she moved from Minneapolis into his tiny Detroit apartment. In 1978, the couple had a daughter, Rukia. Lumumba had a son, Kambon, from a previous relationship. Lumumba bonded with his little girl while his wife, who changed her name to Nubia, was working, crisscrossing the nation and the globe on the flight crew. The couple waited until Rukia was 2 to get married, Nubia told Essence. It was his second marriage. The first ended in the early â&#x20AC;&#x2122;70s because, in part because in Lumumbaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mind, fidelity was secondary to the movement. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My politics were dictated by the climate and agenda of the â&#x20AC;&#x2122;60s when the overriding objecting was the push for Black Power. Most black men received a heavy dose of the macho ethic in the process,â&#x20AC;? Lumumba told Essence. Years before he met Nubia and started a family, Lumumba dropped out of Wayne State University Law School in Detroit and moved to Jackson. In Mississippi, he was a Cabinet member in the Republic of New Afrika, which purchased land for a new black nation in the South. Lumumba was vice president of the provisional government of the RNA, which antagonized and was harassed by local police. The RNAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s plans went up in smoke one morning in 1971, which the Jackson Police Department stormed the RNAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s headquarters on Lynch Street. A shootout resulted in the death of a police officer and the arrests of 11 of Lumumbaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s comrades. Lumumba was not involved in the melee, but the high-testosterone environment attracted women to the intense personalities that were prerequisite for men in Black Nationalist movements.


Chokwe Lumumba, 1947-2014 )$0,/<IURPSDJH

March 5 - 11, 2014

At school, fellow students, and even some teachers, openly expressed the contempt they held for their father and some of his clients to Chokwe Antar and Rukia. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was hard to hear people talk nasty about him and the things he was doing. That was very difficult,â&#x20AC;? Rukia Lumumba said. Otherwise, the Lumumbas say they had a normal upbringing. Nubia collected artwork and other furnishings for the home long before they decided to move to Mississippi. When they got situated in Jackson, the family introduced themselves to their new northwest Jackson neighbors on Halloween night. Both parents were busyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;Chokwe in court and Nubia flying four days a week, but Nubia managed the household. â&#x20AC;&#x153;She was the backbone. She was the scheduler, the holiday planner,â&#x20AC;? Rukia said of her mother. â&#x20AC;&#x153;She was the social butterfly, too. My father is more of a quiet guy who likes basketball and really doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to be around a lot of people. She was the ultimate networker and taught us how to be


more like that and taught my father how to come out of his social shell.â&#x20AC;? Where Nubia was the familyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s iron-

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not unusual to hear someone not agree with my father. ... It toughened my skin for something like a campaignâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Antar Lumumba fisted leader, Chokwe was the democratic administrator. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They were just fair, and they lis-

tened. They didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t tell you what to do. They told you why you needed to do it, and they listened when we had concerns or complaints. They made you feel like you had a voice,â&#x20AC;? Rukia said. Rukia and Chokwe Antar both attended historically black universitiesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; Rukia attended Tougaloo College, and Chokwe Antar Tuskegee University in Alabama. And over the objections of their mother, both Lumumba children followed their father into the legal profession. Rukia received her law degree from Howard University in 2006 and is now the youth services director for the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Center for Community Alternatives. Chokwe Antar received his law degree from Thurgood Marshall Law School in Houston in 2008. He is the managing attorney for Freelon & Associates, where his father was senior partner. Supporters of Mayor Lumumba have initiated a campaign to convince Chokwe Antar to run for his fatherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s seat. At press time, he has not revealed his plans. Nubia, who passed away in 2003, thought her son, who enjoyed the finer things in life, should go into a more lucrative line of work than law.

Chokwe Antar, who enjoyed going to court with his father, said his father inspired him to practice law. â&#x20AC;&#x153;One thing I would see as I got older was the many people who seemed to be shuffled in and out of the system, and it just didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t seem that everybody was guilty,â&#x20AC;? Chokwe Antar says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It occurred to me later on that sometimes people donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have the financial means to defend their innocence.â&#x20AC;? Even with their father occupying the mayorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s office, the Lumumba children foresee no changes in their relationship with their father. Rukia, the mother of a 5-year-old, Qadir, said her father enjoys video chatting with his daughter and grandson. The elder Lumumba also has a significant other, Gloria Elmore, who was featured in his campaign ads. Chokwe Antar, who will likely take over his fatherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s law practice, said his father has always had a busy schedule, but the two always find time to bondâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;or commiserate over Detroit sports teams. Besides, he said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;City Hall is right across the street from the courthouse.â&#x20AC;? Read more at Comment at



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Surprise: Mississippi’s Own Petrified Forest

March 5 - 11, 2014



id you know that Mississippi has a petrified forest? Wikipedia lists fewer than 20 of these geologic occurrences in the world, so ours, which is located near Flora, about 20 minutes from Jackson, is an extreme rarity. It is probably the only one on the planet near a major population center. And it’s also 1,254 miles closer to you than that one out in Arizona! TheMississippiPetrified Forest National Natural Landmark is a privately owned family business. Now in its 51st year of operation, it was originally developed in 1963 with the intent of preserving this unique geological site for the benefit of future generations. This venue attracts thousands of visitors every year from all 50 states and many foreign countries. In 1965, the Mississippi Petrified Forest was designated the state’s first National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service. In addition to the half-mile-long nature-trail that showcases the massive 36 million-year-old petrified trees, the visitors center features a worldclass earth science museum displaying spectacular and rare mineral, fossil and petrified wood specimens from the world over. Visitors can also enjoy the black light fluorescent mineral exhibit, distinctive gift shop, an RV and tent campground, pavilion and picnic area and other fun, educational displays and activities. The gift shop is a rockhound’s paradise. In addition to souvenirs, visitors will find a vast array of minerals, fossils, seashells and natural gemstone jewelry, as

well as unique gift items for any budget. Kids of every age can enjoy the adventure of “fluming” for gemstones on the rock patio. The Mississippi Petrified Forest was recently designated a Southern Travel Treasure in AAA’s Southern Traveler magazine. The Petrified Forest has been the subject of articles in Mississippi Magazine, Southern Living and was featured in Readers’ Digest “Off The Beaten Path,” “Roadside America,” and “101 Geo-Sites You Gotta See.” It has also been featured on MPB’s “Mississippi Roads” and WLBT’s “Look Around Mississippi,” both hosted by Walt Grayson. The property is open daily except Christmas and Thanksgiving, is petfriendly and handicap accessible, and is a favorite destination for school field trips. If you’re looking for an activity a little out of the ordinary for yourself, the kids, out-of-town visitors or a special event venue, come check it out. You won’t be disappointed.

124 Forest Park Road, Flora, MS 39071 (601) 879-8189

A Two-Family Auto Repair Shop


om and Cynthia Burgess didn’t set out to run an automotive repair business. In 2005, the previous owner asked Tom to help him find a buyer. After going down the list potential candidates, he figured that he and Cynthia were the best candidates to buy the shop and carry on its tradition of excellence since 1950. “We interviewed with the owners twice,” Cynthia said. “We passed muster and became the first nonfamily members to own it. We work hard to keep the standards and quality that the family created.” The couple make a great team.

Tom started out as a mechanic at Fowler Buick in downtown Jackson and eventually became a service manager at a dealership. Cynthia learned her business acumen growing up in her father’s Canton grocery store. When asked what sets them apart from other repair shop, Cynthia brags on her team. “We’ve got a great set of mechanics. James, Eric, and a second Eric whom we call ‘E2.’ They’re ASE certified, and each one graduated from college. They’re our greatest assets.” Putnam is a general repair shop that addresses issues including engine, driveability, brakes, steering and suspension, AC and heating. “We treat our customers like family,” Tom said. “We repair each car as if we had to drive it ourselves.”

4879 N. State St, Jackson, MS 39206 (601) 366-1886

Jackson’s Newest Montessori School


oyce Moxley believes in the hope and promise of all children. She opened Montessori Academy of Jackson in 2013 to help families fulfill that hope. The certified Montessori educator has two master’s degrees: one in elementary education and the other in dyslexia therapy, both from Mississippi College. “I wanted to open this school because I wanted a place that remained true the Montessori ideal,” Joyce says. “Once I had grandchildren, I began to revisit the ideas of educating children from birth. We are not a daycare. We educate children from infancy.” Created by Dr. Maria Montessori in the late 1890s, the Montessori school of thought promotes the idea that children are eager to learn and can discover things for themselves. Montessori allows children to explore

and grow giving “freedom within limits.” That ideal is ever-present as you walk through the inviting school with its warm colors, loving environment and hum of activity among children of varied ages. Babies crawl and babble excitingly at the site of a visitor while a group of toddlers sit down for healthy homemade lunch. There are no loud colors or noisy toys. Instead, children work with carefully designed Montessori materials, moving about in the classroom with a sense of purpose. The natural playground provides a calm setting to play or study plants and animals. “Montessori student are self-confident learners, prepared for any academic scenario upon leaving the Academy,” Joyce says. The Montessori Academy of Jackson educates children from infant to sixth grade. Call today for your private tour.

601-345-1431 1525 Lelia Drive, Jackson, MS 39216


OPEN FOR BUSINESS Brunoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Healthy and Fabulous Tasting


hef Luis Bruno knew Jackson was a foodie town before most people. Bruno settled in Jackson after finishing culinary school at the top of his class. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s served as head chef for three governors, won several Best of Jackson best chef awards and helped pioneer Jacksonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s current culinary movement by opening legendary eatery Brunoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Eclectic in 1997. â&#x20AC;&#x153;People still talk about how much they miss it,â&#x20AC;? Chef Bruno said. Brunoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Adobo, his latest venture, is a tribute to that legendary restaurant. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s funny,â&#x20AC;? said Aimee Dickerson, Brunoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s business and life partner. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Lotâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s of people still donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know

that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Luis. Everyone is always excited to see him.â&#x20AC;? The downtown eatery features a mix of Latin, Asian, Spanish and American cuisine. â&#x20AC;&#x153;After working at the Mississippi Museum of Art and living downtown. I knew my next place has to be here,â&#x20AC;? Chef Bruno said. Brunoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Adobo showcases what Luis Bruno does bestâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;delicious, healthy food. After struggling with his own health, he retooled how what he ate and how he cooked, eventually writing the cookbook â&#x20AC;&#x153;Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Feel Guilt, Eat It.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;The word healthy scares people sometimes,â&#x20AC;? he said, giving his trademark grin. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They think that if itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not fried and filled with salt that you lose the flavor. Eat with us, and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll dispel that myth.â&#x20AC;?

Brunoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Adobo has two locations â&#x20AC;˘ The Standard Life Building 11-6:30 M-F, 127 S. Roach, (601) 944-9501 â&#x20AC;˘ The Mississippi State Capital Cafe 11-3:00 M&F 8-3 Tu,W,Th (thru April) Market Bites with Luis Bruno at Interiors Market, Woodland Hills Shopping Center M-F 11-2

New Energy at a Local Seafood Institution


ver wondered how Sal and Philâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s got its name? The business was started by Sal Todaro Jr. and Phil Sizler in 1989. A couple of years later, Sal Jr. left to pursue other endeavors and his father, Sal Todaro Sr., took over and continued a partnership with Phil until Philâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s passing in 2008. Over that time, the business grew an intensely loyal following of customers who came for their signature take on seafood. When Phil passed, Anthony Walker and Casey Waggener stepped up to manage the business. Anthony had started as a busboy in 2001; Casey

as a waiter in 2006. In August 2013, they became managing partners along with Sal Sr. With a vested interest in the family enterprise, Walker and Waggener set out this past fall to serve the expectations of their 25-year clientele while making Sal and Philâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bigger and better than ever. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re doing that by keeping the old favorites on their menu while blending in some new items. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re also making a commitment to local ingredientsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; from seafood to local beerâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and to promoting and supporting the community they call home. The new managing partners encourage readers to stop by and see the â&#x20AC;&#x153;newâ&#x20AC;? long-running Sal and Philâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s. Mention you saw them in the Jackson Free Pressâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and try an old favorite like their Mamou, LA crawfish. And keep a lookout for new menu items, daily specials, and follow their very active presence on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Foursquare! 6600 Old Canton Road, Ridgeland 601-957-1188




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    925 N State St, Jackson 601-969-6400 1430 Ellis Ave, Jackson 601-969-0606 398 Hwy 51 N, Ridgeland 601-605-0504 1001 Hampstead Blvd, Clinton 601-924-2423 Paid advertising section. Call 601-362-6121 x11 to list your restaurant

AMERICAN/SOUTHERN CUISINE Primos Cafe (2323 Lakeland 601-936-3398/ 515 Lake Harbour 601-898-3400) A Jackson institution for breakfast, blue-plates, catfish, burgers, prime rib, oysters, po-boys & wraps. Famous bakery! Two Sisters Kitchen (707 N. Congress St. 601-353-1180) Lunch. Mon-Fri, Sun. Koinonia (136 Adams St. 601-960-3008) Coffeehouse plus lunch & more! Broad Street Bakery (4465 Interstate 55 N. 601-362-2900)Hot breakfast, coffee drinks, fresh breads & pastries, gourmet deli sandwiches.

PIZZA 904 Basil’s (904 E. Fortification, 601-352-2002) Creative pizzas, Italian food, burgers & much more. Casual dining in the heart of Belhaven. Sal & Mookie’s (565 Taylor St. 601-368-1919) Pizzas of all kinds plus pasta, eggplant Parmesan, fried ravioli & ice cream for the kids! Mellow Mushroom (275 Dogwood Blvd, Flowood, 601-992-7499) More than just great pizza and beer. Open Monday - Friday 11-10 and Saturday 11-11.

ITALIAN BRAVO! (4500 Interstate 55 N., Jackson, 601-982-8111) Award-winning wine list, Jackson’s see-and-be-seen casual/upscale dining. Cerami’s (5417 Lakeland Drive, Flowood, 601-919-28298) Southern-style Italian cuisine features their signature Shrimp Cerami.


Eslava’s Grille (2481 Lakeland Drive, 601-932-4070) Latin-influenced dishes like ceviche in addition to pastas, steaks, salads and other signature seafood dishes. Huntington Grille (1001 East County Line Road, Jackson Hilton, 601-957-2800) Mississippi fine dining features seafood, crayfish, steaks, fried green tomatoes, shrimp & grits, pizzas and more. The Islander Seafood and Oyster House (1220 E Northside Drive, Suite 100, 601-366-5441) Oyster bar, seafood, gumbo, po’boys, crawfish and plenty of Gulf Coast delights in a laid-back Buffet-style atmosphere. Que Sera Sera (2801 N State Street 601-981-2520) Authentic cajun cuisine, excellent seafood and award winning gumbo; come enjoy it all this summer on the patio. The Penguin (1100 John R Lynch Street, 769.251.5222) Fine dining at its best. Rocky’s (1046 Warrington Road, Vicksburg 601-634-0100) Enjoy choice steaks, fresh seafood, great salads, hearty sandwiches. Sal and Phil’s Seafood (6600 Old Canton Rd, Ridgeland (601) 957-1188) Great Seafood, Poboys, Lunch Specials, Boiled Seafood, Full Bar, Happy Hour Specials Shea’s on Lake Harbour (810 Lake Harbour Drive, Ridgeland, MS 39157 (601) 427-5837) Seafood, Steaks and Southern Cuisine! Great Brunch, Full Bar Outdoor and Seating

MEDITERRANEAN/GREEK Aladdin Mediterranean Grill (730 Lakeland Drive 601-366-6033) Delicious authentic dishes including lamb dishes, hummus, falafel, kababs, shwarma. Vasilios Greek Cusine (828 Hwy 51, Madison 601-853-0028) Authentic greek cuisine since 1994, specializing in gyros, greek salads, baklava cheesecake & fresh daily seafood.


Hickory Pit Barbeque (1491 Canton Mart Rd. 601-956-7079) The “Best Butts in Town” features BBQ chicken, beef and pork along with burgers and po’boys. Haute Pig (1856 Main Street, 601-853-8538) A “very high class pig stand,” Haute Pig offers Madison diners BBQ plates, sandwiches, po-boys, salads.

COFFEE HOUSES Cups Espresso Café (Multiple Locations, Jackson’s local group of coffeehouses offer a wide variety of espresso drinks. Wi-fi.


Burgers and Blues (1060 E. County Line Road, Ridgeland 601-899-0038) Best Burger of 2013, plus live music and entertainment! Capitol Grill (5050 I-55 North, Deville Plaza 601-899-8845) Best happy hour & sports bar, kitchen open late, pub food with soul and live entertainment. Cherokee Inn (960 Briarfield Rd. 601-362-6388) Jackson’s “Best Hole in the Wall,” has a great jukebox, great bar and a great burger. City Grille( 1029 Hwy 51, Madison (601) 607-7885) Southern with Blue Plate Specials; Seafood and Steaks, Happy Hour, Kid Friendly Cool Al’s (4654 McWillie, 601-713-3020) Cool Al’s signature stacked, messy, decadent, creative burgers defy adjectives. Don’t forget the fries! Fenian’s Pub (901 E. Fortification St. 601-948-0055) Classic Irish pub featuring a menu of traditional food, pub sandwiches & Irish beers on tap. Hal and Mal’s (200 S. Commerce St. 601-948-0888) Pub favorites meet Gulf Coast and Cajun specialties like red beans and rice, the Oyster Platter or daily specials. Martin’s Restaurant and Lounge (214 South State Street 601-354-9712) Lunch specials, pub appetizers or order from the full menu of po-boys and entrees. Full bar, beer selection. Mc B’s (815 Lake Harbour Dr. Ridgeland (601) 956-8362) Blue plates, amazing burgers, live music, cold beer, reservoir area Mississippi Legends (5352 Lakeland Dr. Flowood (601) 919-1165) American, Burgers, Pub Food, Happy Hour, Kid Friendly, Late Night, Sports Bar, Outdoor Dining Ole Tavern on George Street (416 George St. 601-960-2700) Pub food with a southern flair: beer-battered onion rings, chicken & sausage gumbo, salads, sandwiches. Underground 119 (119 South President St. 601-352-2322) Pan-seared crabcakes, shrimp and grits, filet mignon, vegetarian sliders. Live music. Opens 4 p.m., Wed-Sat Wing Stop (952 North State Street, 601-969-6400) Saucing and tossing in a choice of nine flavors, Wing Stop wings are made with care and served up piping hot.

VEGETARIAN High Noon Café (2807 Old Canton Road in Rainbow Plaza 601-366-1513) Fresh, gourmet, tasty and healthy defines the lunch options at Jackson’s own strict vegetarian (and very-vegan-friendly) restaurant adjacent to Rainbow Whole Foods.

ASIAN AND INDIAN Crazy Ninja (2560 Lakeland Dr., Flowood 601-420-4058) Rock-n-roll sushi and cook-in-front-of-you hibachi. Lunch specials, bento boxes, fabulous cocktails. Fusion Japanese and Thai Cuisine (1002 Treetop Blvd, Flowood 601-664-7588) Specializing in fresh Japanese and Thai cuisine, an extensive menu features everything from curries to fresh sushi Nagoya Japanese Sushi Bar & Hibachi Grill (6351 I-55 North, Ste. 131, Jackson 601-977-8881) Fresh sushi, delicious noodles, sizzling hibach & refreshing cocktails from one of jackson’s most well-known japanese restaurants. Ruchi India (862 Avery Blvd @ County Line Rd. 601-991-3110) Classic Indian cuisine from multiple regions. Lamb, vegetarian, chicken, shrimp and more.





ackson, like many southern cities, is no stranger to rising from the ashes. During the Civil War, General William T. Sherman and his Union troops visited Jackson so often that the city earned the name “Chimneyville” for the number of buildings Sherman’s troops burned, leaving only the chimneys standing. In the decades that followed, Jackson slowly became the capital city that we know today. While invading forces may have not burned The Iron Horse Grill (320 W. Pearl St. 601-398-0151), the restaurant fell victim to fire twice. The Iron Horse remained vacant for years after the second fire in fall 1999. Recently, the restaurant reopened its doors, and Chef Pierre Pryor wants to set the standard for southwestern cuisine in the city. For many, The Iron Horse Grill carries fond memories of house fried tortilla chips dipped into bowls of cilantro- and chili- studded salsa, sizzling platters of fajitas and a habañero cream sauce that was to die for. Luckily, Pryor is just the man to rekindle those memories. Pryor began working at the Iron Horse in 1987, just six months after the restaurant opened. Working his way from dishwasher to kitchen manager in less than a year, Pryor has an intimate knowledge of everyone’s favorites from the first incarnation of the Iron Horse. “We’ve had a lot of requests for our old items to come back, especially salsa and the habanero pasta that I’m famous for making,” Pryor says. “When I worked at Country Club of Jackson, one patron wrote the paper asking where was the guy who made the habanero cream sauce at the Iron Horse. They were told I worked

Chef Pierre Pryor raises the grates that control the temperature on the charcoal grill at the Iron Horse.

March 5 - 11, 2014


at the Country Club of Jackson, and they could reach me there, and I could make it for them. So I’ve got the art still. … The stuff patrons loved, we’re going to bring (it) back.” With the smell of mesquite wafting from the charcoal-fired grill, the new Iron Horse has more to offer than just a return of the old favorites. “We’ll take some of the old favorites and put a new twist on it, like the crawfish enchilada,” Pryor says. “We’ve got new dishes, like the stuffed catfish. We had grilled catfish back then, but we’ve got a pecan-crusted catfish now, and the patrons will really enjoy that.” Original Iron Horse patrons may experience a sense of déjà vu upon walking in, but the restaurant is just as much new After remaining vacant for years,The Iron Horse Grill finally reopened as it is old and familiar. The Iron Horse’s its doors in 2013. motto is “Charcoal and Music.” A look at


its event calendar shows that the music part is no issue, but Pryor decided to make a change when he returned to the Iron Horse kitchen. “My plan is to go away from lump charcoal and back to briquettes,” he says. “We still use wood, particularly mesquite, oak, and hickory. Mesquite is the wood of choice, but it’s expensive to get in from Texas so, other than that, we use local woods.” Just as the post-Sherman Jackson wasn’t rebuilt in a day, it will take a little time for Pryor to set the kitchen his way, but the Iron Horse Grill’s return brings excitement to Jackson. Like many diners stepping foot into the new Iron Horse, Pryor was stunned. “When I first walked through these doors, it just took me away,” he says. “I was totally blown away with the renovations they’ve done here, and the fact that it’s open again. The Iron Horse meant so much for me; it was the beginning of a great career.” It seems that Pryor’s career has come full circle, and he’ll be doing his best to make sure that “downtown is back.”



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Intern at the JFP

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Interested? E-mail, telling us why you want to intern with us and what makes you the ideal candidate. *College credit available to currently enrolled college students in select disciplines.

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LIFE&STYLE | wellness

Love: A Strength Of Character by Deirdre Danahar


A: THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, also called OBAMACARE, is a law requiring U.S. citizens and lawfully present immigrants to have health insurance, with a few exceptions. It also created the Health Insurance Marketplace, a website where you can enroll in private health insurance plans in your state. Depending on your income, you may qualify for reduced monthly payments, which makes the insurance more affordable. To enroll in a plan, most people will have to enroll before March 31, 2014.

You can enroll on your own by going to or enroll over the phone by calling 1-800-318-2596.

March 5 - 11, 2014

You can also talk to a UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI MEDICAL CENTER NAVIGATOR who can answer your questions and help you enroll.


UMMC NAVIGATORS are located at the JACKSON MEDICAL MALL and are available to meet in person by appointment.



just romance. Love is affection for those you depend on and who depend on you, like colleagues. A 2013 Gallup poll showed that people who regularly use their strengths at work are six times more like to be engaged with work. If love is a top trait for some, it makes sense to find appropriate ways to ex-


What is the Affordable Care Act and how does it affect me?

hat comes to mind when someone asks you about your strengths? Typically, people think of the skills they developed at school and work such as teamwork, budgeting or using social media. But do you think about your character traits as strengths? A character trait is a distinctive feature influencing how you relate to the world and is expressed in thoughts, actions and feelings. Research by psychologists including Martin Seligman, Chris Peterson and others shows that people share the same 24 character traits—each of us has our own mix of top, middle and lower traits that make us individuals. These traits include love, fairness, perseverance, leadership, kindness and more. I work with people to leverage their character traits in their professional lives. Often, my clients think of love as only an intense feeling of deep, passionate, tender affection for someone, such as parent to child or between dear friends, or as a romantic or sexual attachment to someone such as a spouse. Drawing on love in their work gives them pause—it’s unexpected and complicated. As a character trait, Seligman and Peterson define love as the ability to give and receive love. Love’s hallmark is a mutual sharing of comfort, acceptance and warmth. A crush, hero worship or unrequited affection—no matter how powerful—is not love in this regard. The VIA Institute on Character reports that love is one of the top five traits for the more than one-third of people who value close relationships with others in all areas of their lives, family, friends, community, and work, above and beyond other qualities. Top-level traits are the three to five innate traits you use so effortlessly that you may take them for granted as personality traits, not the high-level character strengths they truly are. When a person is at her or his best at expressing love, there’s a flow of positive emotions to and from others that cultivates closeness and emotional support. The Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology includes these benefits of love as a strength: • Increased life satisfaction • Secure loving relationships are strongly linked to good health and longevity • Facilitating empathy, forgiveness and tolerance in relationships • A sense of meaning and purpose in life You may believe that love has no role in some places such as work, but love is not

Viewing love as a character trait in many areas of your life can improve more than just significant relationships.

press that strength through their work. You can use love as a character trait in the workplace by helping others. Consider the strengths of the person or people you want to help, and then design your help accordingly. You may find it hard to offer love to yourself, but it is vital. Cultivating love for oneself is linked to increased feelings of social connection, optimism and mindfulness in general. Another one of my clients overextended love to others and squirmed at the idea of people reciprocating because it was “greedy.” By doing things like calmly saying no to an employee’s unreasonable request and not acquiescing to do it herself, she supported her staff and herself. It was easier for her to let other staff members take on one project while she worked on a second project, showing trust in her staff and not overextending herself. She focused on what most needed her time and attention, and her staff was further invested in what they do, too. If loving yourself is difficult, try this: Three times this week, reflect on what you can give yourself credit for, and what value that has for you. Like any character trait, love is a wonderful attribute that can be over or underused—but when used well, love is a tremendous asset.

LIFE&STYLE | hitched

We’re Going to the Chapel by Brandon Herd

Brandon Herd and his new wife, Madelyn, skipped town and went to Memphis to get married.

who said the courthouse would likely be closed for the holidays, two days after Christmas. Not one to give up easily, I turned my efforts to Memphis. I called a number from the Shelby County Clerk’s Office and spoke

You have enough on your mind.

with a very nice lady who gave me directions and encouraged us to come that day. We quickly threw together a bag with a change of clothes and a few toiletry items and pulled away in Madelyn’s Lincoln Navigator. Two hours into the trip, I realized that I had not properly proposed, so I looked at Madelyn and asked with a crooked smile, “Will you marry me?” She responded with a burst of laughter and “Yes.” During the proposal conversation, Madelyn was busy on the Internet searching for a clergy member or other official to conduct the ceremony and sign the license. She found several options. We arrived at the Shelby County Clerk’s Office with about 15 minutes to spare, plenty of time to meet the pastor and answer the clerk’s battery of questions. The clerk told us that the cost for the license was $35 with a document proving proof of pre-marital counseling or $95 without. The approximate cost of a chapel service and license filing was $250. After the short ceremony, Madelyn and I had an excellent barbecue experience at the world-famous Rendezvous restaurant just off Beale Street. The beef brisket and dry ribs were superb. After dinner, it was a short walk to Beale Street and Silky O’Sullivan’s dueling-piano musical extravaganza. We enjoyed free rounds from well-wishers after they discovered our nuptials, and the piano players entertained into the early morning hours. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything in the world.

Let us worry about your guests.

With two Jackson locations, the Cabot Lodge offers the perfect home base for your wedding party. We’ll make sure everyone is well taken care of with full southern breakfast and a nightly hospitality cocktail reception. Your guests can catch up between events in our Great Room. And our well-appointed rooms ensure everyone will be well rested, relatively speaking. It’s like a weekend-long reception.

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headache of planning a wedding.” With these two sentences, the die was cast—we would be getting married that day. I called an old attorney friend in Tennessee, JESSE FLOWERS


will” was my response to the minister’s question of whether or not I will treat my new bride properly. We were getting married at a small wedding chapel in Memphis. Less than six hours earlier, I was conversing with my girlfriend, Madelyn, at her house in Flowood, simply enjoying the post-Christmas lull. We had met six weeks earlier after Madelyn read an article I wrote about her hometown of Natchez. She looked me up on Facebook and noticed we had a mutual friend. We began to talk. From the beginning I was drawn to her for several reasons. Beauty-wise, she was everything I had ever wanted—a classic Scotch-Irish beauty with naturally curly dark reddish-blond hair. More importantly, she was the most well-read woman I have met. After our first date at Babalu, she had me hooked. Two days after Christmas, Madelyn and I cautiously touched on the topic of getting married. We discussed where we would live, school arrangements, career adjustments and other pragmatic details of a potential matrimonial arraignment. The conversation quickly turned to the timing of this potential harmonious union. At first we discussed a summer ceremony, then a potential spring wedding date, but both of these options seemed so far away. “I would marry you today” were the exact words that came out of my mouth. Madelyn responded quickly: “Oh really? Because all I really want is to run off to Tennessee and avoid the



Happy Hour

Tuesday - Saturday • 5:00 - 6:30 pm

Family offers our sincere condolences to Mayor Chokwe Lumumba’s family.

Ladies Night on Thursday

Live Music Thursday-Saturday

Now Open For Lunch

Tuesday-Friday 11am-2pm 707 N Congress St., Jackson | 601-353-1180 Mon thru Fri: 11am-2pm • Sun: 11am - 3pm


5417 Lakeland Drive ~ Flowood, MS 39232

Call Us For All Of Your Catering Needs!

Don’t Forget the Dessert!

Did you know that well sell whole cakes and pies? Stop by and pick up you favorite: •Hershey Bar, Lemon or Pecan Pie •Carrot Cake •Coconut Cake -Best Barbecue in Jackson- 2003 • 2006 2008 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011 • 2012 1491 Canton Mart Rd. • Jackson • 601.956.7079




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March 5 - 11, 2014



Live & Boiled Crawfish! 6600 Old Canton Rd, Ridgeland 601-957-1188

FILM p 34 | GIRL ABOUT TOWN p 35 | 8 DAYS p 36 | MUSIC p 39 | SPORTS p 41


Sharon Coker will open her new photography studio March 6 during Fondren After 5.

Fondren’s New Shutterbug tials being the lion’s share. She already has 25 weddings scheduled for 2014, many of them out-of-town in places such as New Orleans, Phoenix, Wisconsin, and, maybe Miami Beach. She says the first wedding she photographed was a nightmare. Originally, the bridal party consisted of seven bridesmaids, seven groomsmen and one ring bearer. But when Coker showed up for the rehearsal, it had grown to 14 bridesmaids, 14 groomsmen, six junior bridesmaids complete with wings, and two or three ring bearers. To top it off, one of the bridesmaids fell down the stairs when entering the reception. Weddings pay the bills, but fashion and magazine photography are Coker’s raisons d’être. Jackson Free Press featured her work on the cover of its 2013 Beauty & Style issue, and Coker has taken photos for fashion spreads in Social South Magazine. Magazines such as Beau NU, Essere and Visual Artistry have featured Coker’s fashion and conceptual work in and on their covers. She was Visual Artistry’s Artist of the Month in September/October 2013. Premier Bride Magazine has also featured Coker’s photography multiple times. Her

work is on the cover of the magazine’s Winter/Spring 2014 issue. But Coker is interested in more than just personal success—she loves to make people feel good about themselves and help celebrate who they are. She tells the story of a young woman who lost 112 pounds in six months and wanted a set of photographs to celebrate feeling good about herself. Coker put together a creative shoot, and with the right posing, lighting, clothing, and location, “she opened up like a flower,” she says. “It made me so happy to see her so happy.” Coker is planning an open house at her new studio March 6 during Fondren After 5 in conjunction with neighbor Trim Salon, which will do the hair and makeup for the event. During the open house, Coker’s studio will have music, models and a fashion shoot with clothing from Mulberry Dreams, also located in the Fondren district. Sharon Coker Photography is opening at at 425 E. Mitchell Ave., along with her husband’s business Coker Communications. Visit for 33 more information.


ately, Sharon Coker’s home has felt a little crowded, with her family and photography business all under one roof. The photographer has been working out of her home since the birth of her daughter, Lily, who is now 2, but now, she says she’s ready to take her work elsewhere, to her new studio in Fondren. Before getting into the photography business, Coker attended Ole Miss for a couple of years, majoring in art, but she had to return home to help take care of a sick parent. She had a variety of jobs after that, ending up in an office situation where she sat across the desk from a woman “who looked so sad all of the time.” That woman made Coker realize that life isn’t just about making money. The notion became a reality when, on her wedding day, her older brother, Robert Smith, who is also a photographer, gave her a camera and taught her how to use it. When he told her “to get with it,” she knew it was time to try something different. Weddings, senior portraits and fashion shoots are the biggest aspects of Coker’s business right now, with nup-

by Richard Coupe


Playing an Overseer in ‘12 Years A Slave’ by Jordan Sudduth



ALL STADIUM SEATING Listings for Fri. 3/7 – Thur. 3/13

3-D 300: Rise of an Empire R 300: Rise of an Empire (non 3-D) R 3-D Mr. Peabody and Sherman PG Mr. Peabody and Sherman (non PG 3-D) Non-Stop


Son of God PG13 The Wind Rises PG13 Repentance R

3 Days To Kill PG13 Pompeii (non 3-D) PG13 About Last Night R Endless Love PG13 Robocop


The Monuments Men PG13 The Lego Movie (non 3-D) PG Ride Along PG13 Frozen (non 3-D) PG

March 5 - 11, 2014



DAILY BARGAINS UNTIL 6PM Online Tickets, Birthday Parties, Group & Corporate Events @

Movieline: 355-9311

ton and sugarcane, they gave me a prop whip and directed me to snarl, grunt and shove at extras playing slaves. Racial slurs were plentiful to ensure realism. Everyone participating knew what they had signed up for; it was a


South of Walmart in Madison

Jordan Sudduth (right) played an extra in the 2014 Best Picture winner “12 Years a Slave,” an experience he found transformative.




me as an overseer in two scenes, shattering me out of my comfort zone. Surrounded by production-placed cot-

team effort to be comfortable, creative and authentic. Unlike the main actors, we easily dropped our character mentalities during the breaks. We bonded over spirited conversations, and I forged friendships with people I would have otherwise never met. I witnessed firsthand Michael Fassbender’s portrayal of the maniacal and sadistic Edwin Epps. Fassbender’s methodical acting was brilliant; his onscreen intensity did not deviate between takes or during breaks and camera setups. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit freaked out by him and how he maneuvered within an adrenaline-induced fog. I knew I was amidst award-winningcaliber filmmaking, but not in my wildest dreams did I think I was experiencing cinematic history. A timely emergence into Hollywood’s historic void of slavery-themed films, “12 Years a Slave” is ripped from the pages of Solomon Northup’s autobiographical odyssey, first published in 1853. It is a living testament of courage and service to those who fought to stop the immoral injustice to human dignity. While it did not explode monetarily at the box office, the film certainly resonated with those who braved its story.

As there are few scenes without Solomon (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor), he is squarely the focus; however, I believe the film does an excellent job with showing how supporting figures—mainly the white characters—differently handled, promoted and mitigated slavery in the south. Most notably is Benedict Cumberbatch as William Ford, a plantation owner who presents a conflicting duality between compassion and weakness. Patsey (played by Lupita Nyong’o) is a character exemplified by the harshest brutality. Newcomer Nyong’o’s performance is genuinely riveting, and her Best Supporting Actress Oscar is well deserved. When it comes to the Academy Awards, I truly believe “12 Years” is artistically superior to the other Best Picture nominees. But the film also doubles as a historic homage and political statement. In 2014, when President Obama serves in office while racial injustices linger, I am not surprised “12 Years a Slave” took home the top prize at this Sunday’s Oscars. The Academy’s membership usually rewards epic films that it believes will stand the test of time. This year they did just that, and rightfully so. If you have not already, I implore you watch this film.


henever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.” —Abraham Lincoln These words are emotionally biting; I feel my teeth tighten after I recite them aloud. Can you imagine an America with such blatant racial slavery today? The closest we come to the historical horror is through the arts—books, art and films, such as newly crowned Academy Award Best Picture winner “12 Years a Slave.” This cinematic masterpiece has overtaken “Saving Private Ryan” as the most gutwrenching and stirring film I have seen to date. Watching was nothing short of a journey—engrossing and unforgettable. This emotionally charged epic consumed me. There, sitting alone in the theater auditorium while enduring a visual bombardment, was my “12 Years a Slave” apex moment. But months prior, in the hot New Orleans summer of 2012, I had the opportunity and privilege to work on the film. Unfortunately, the gig lasted less than three weeks, but that short time was an awe-inspiring experience. Due to my bearded look, the filmmakers cast

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DIVERSIONS | girl about town by Julie Skipper

Cheese, Mascara and Life Lessons


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ot to sound clichĂŠ, dear read- cheese plate, and things took a turn. ers, but I think itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s true that Maybe itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the power of dairy products you find out whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s really there (and I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know exactly what kind of for you not during the fun fruit spread was on it, but it rocked my times out and about town, but, rather, when things arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t so awesome. Which is a nicer way of saying that the people who care will be there when youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re wearing slouchy pants and somehow find yourself ugly-crying at a bar. Sure, the pants were leather jogging pants and I had on red stilettos, but, still. On the night in question, I was to meet my friend Anna at 1908 Provisions, the new Belhaven neighborhood restaurant formerly known as Sophiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, at the Fairview Inn. Proprietor Peter Sharp and Chef Gary Hawkins worked wonders with the transformation of the space and the menu, including the addition of a new 10-seat bar near Sometimes you just have to remember to keep your the entrance. My gal pal and head up. I planned drinks and dinner there to discuss, as gals are wont to do, her latest adventures face), or maybe I just couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t hold it in in dating. any longer, but at that moment, I finally Just as I was getting ready, I got a processed what my parents were dealing call from my dad about something unex- with. Being there with people who cared pected and upsetting. Though there was about me, I felt free to let goâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and I did. nothing I could do to help, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s discon- Suddenly, there I was, ugly crying at a certing when something bad happens to bar. On a Tuesday. Over cheese. a family member. But I knew my friend But hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the thing thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s so great was disconcerted about her dating situa- about having people who love you and tion, and I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to cancel on her. know you so well. When I pulled myself I vowed to put my dadâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s call in the back together, and as I nuzzled up to my felof my mind and go have a nice evening. low, Anna looked at me with complete I did, however, put on my comfy pants, seriousness and said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s amazing. because that just helps sometimes. I also Your mascara is totally still in place. It took a moment to let my man-friend hasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t run at all.â&#x20AC;? know what was going on. Which is exactly what I needed So, to 1908 we went. Bartender to hear. I responded: â&#x20AC;&#x153;The key is to Josh Sherman was fully on board when look up when you ugly-cry. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t look we arrived and told him we both needed down. Look up.â&#x20AC;? And with that, I beverages, stat, to numb some feelings, was laughing. and pantry chef Corey Ellison (a friend Looking up, we decided, is imporof Annaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s) came out to say hello and offer tant on dual levels. When bad things suggestions on small plates. But before happen, look upâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;literally (to keep from entrees were ordered, my fellow showed having raccoon eyes) and metaphorically up for support, knowing my dadâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s news, (to stay positive that better times will and I ended up talking about it. Hav- come). With that mantra memorialized ing someone who just shows up without on a 1908 coaster, and secured with you asking because he knows what you the support of those who care about need, even if you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to admit it me, I slept soundly that night, knowâ&#x20AC;Ś thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the good stuff. ing that when I return to 1908, there So we ate, and we talked. And the may be more cheese, but there will be food was delicious. But then we got the fewer tears.





Glow Run is at Fleet Feet Sports.

Round 6: GenNXT Open-Mic Challenge is at Soul Wired Café.

Tickle Me Wednesdays Comedy Show is at The Penguin.

BEST BETS MAR 5 - 12, 2014

An Evening with Keller Williams and More Than a Little is at 9 p.m. at Duling Hall (622 Duling Ave.). Allages show; adults must accompany children. $30; call 601292-7999; … Glow Run is at 6 p.m. at Fleet Feet Sports (500 Highway 51 N., Ridgeland). Glow sticks provided. Free; call 601-899-9696;

Bluegrass and Americana duo, The Grahams, performs at 7:30 p.m. March 10 at Duling Hall.





Joe Mac Hudspeth Jr. Wildlife Photography Exhibit Opening Reception is at 5:30 p.m. at Arts Center of Mississippi (201 E. Pascagoula St.). Free; call 601-960-1557. … Fondren After 5 Three-band Concert is at 6 p.m. at Duling Hall (622 Duling Ave.). Performers are Startisan, Brave Baby and Sun Ballet. Free. Call 601-292-7999; … Nikki Talley performs from 7:30-10:30 p.m. at Iron Horse Grill (320 W. Pearl St.). Free; email

Hotep is one of the local performers featured at The Basement Part 2, which is at 10 p.m. March 8.


Why Is This Fest on a Tuesday Fest starts at 5 p.m. at Rampage Extreme Park (931 Highway 80 W.). Performers include Backtrack, Downpresser, Xibalba, Frameworks, Headcase, and several others. $12 in advance, $14 at the door; … Delicate Cycle, Draw Blood and Brothers Gross perform at 8 p.m. at Morningbell Records & Café (4760 Interstate 55 N., Suite A). All ages welcome. $5; call 769233-7468;





March 5 - 11, 2014

Friday Forum is at 9 a.m. at Koinonia Coffee House (136 S. Adams St., Suite C). Sheila Jackson, Executive Director at Jackson Housing Authority, talks about current and future projects in the Jackson. Free; call 601-960-3008; email … Celebration of Life for the Honorable Mayor Chokwe Lumumba is from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. The viewing is from 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and 5-7 p.m. at Jackson City Hall (219 S. President St.). Free; 36 call 601-960-1084;


Celebration of Life for the Honorable Mayor Chokwe Lumumba is at 11 a.m. at Jackson Convention Complex (105 E. Pascagoula St.). Free; call 601-960-1084; jacksonms. gov. … Sip & Shop Jackson: Fashion Show Edition is from 1-6 p.m. at Arts Center of Mississippi (201 E. Pascagoula St.). $5; email; follow @sipshopjackson on Twitter. … Ramona Bridges signs copies of her book, “An Unclouded Day,” from 2-4 p.m. at Bay Window Books (5905 Old Brandon Road, Pearl). $14.99 book; call 405-458-5642; email … The BY BRIANA ROBINSON Basement Part 2 is at 10 p.m. at The Corner (303 N. Farish St.). JACKSONFREEPRESS.COM Enjoy a showcase of hip-hop music from J.J. Spade, Traxx FAX: 601-510-9019 on Deck, Hotep Slowsteps, DJ DAILY UPDATES AT Phingaprint, DJ Young Venom JFPEVENTS.COM and more. For ages 21 and up. $10; find “The Basement Part 2” on Facebook.

“The Whipping Man” is at 2p.m. at New Stage Theatre (1100 Carlisle St.). $28, $22 students and seniors; call 601-948-3533, ext. 222; … Round 6: GenNXT Open-Mic Challenge is at 6 p.m. at Soul Wired Café (111 Millsaps Ave.). Hip-hop and spoken-word artists are invited to compete for $500 and a spot on SummerJam III. Free; find “Round 6: GenNXT Open Mic Challenge + Featured Artists” on Facebook.

National Cutting Horse Association Eastern National Championships Catfish Dinner is at 6:30 p.m. at Mississippi State Fairgrounds (1207 Mississippi St.). Call 601-961-4000 or 817-244-6188; … The Grahams and Lilly Hiatt perform at 7:30 p.m. at Duling Hall (622 Duling Ave.). All-ages show; adults must accompany children. Free. Call 601-292-7999;


History is Lunch: Commemorating 175 Years of the Old Capitol is at noon at Old Capitol Museum (100 S. State St.). Free; call 601-576-6998; … Tickle Me Wednesdays Comedy Show is at 9 p.m. at The Penguin Restaurant & Bar (1100 John R. Lynch St.). $10 in advance, $15 at the door; call 386-338-8398, 769-2515222 or 601-317-0769; email;

Malâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s St. Paddyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Parade March 15, 1 p.m., at Downtown Jackson. The annual Mardi Gras-style parade begins on the corner of State and Court streets. Visit the website for a schedule. Free;

#/--5.)49 Events at Jackson City Hall (219 S. President St.) â&#x20AC;˘ Urban and Regional Planning Program Open House March 5, 6-8 p.m. Learn about Jackson State Universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degree programs, and career options in the field of planning. Free; call 601-432-6865; email â&#x20AC;˘ Jackson City Council Meeting March 11, 6 p.m. Open to the public. Free; call 601-9601064; Events at Old Capitol Museum (100 S. State St.). Free; call 601-576-6998; â&#x20AC;˘ History is Lunch: Commemorating 175 Years of the Old Capitol March 5, noon. Dr. Tim Smith talks about the Secession Convention that was held in the Old Capitol. â&#x20AC;˘ History is Lunch: Commemorating 175 Years of the Old Capitol March 12, noon. MDAH historians Mike Stoll and Clay Williams examine the history of the Old Capitol. Pinots from Around the Globe March 5, 6:30 p.m., at Table 100 (100 Ridge Way, Flowood). The wine social includes Pinot Noir samples, information on how the wine is developed and light hors dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;oeuvres. RSVP. $29 per person; call 601-420-4202; email Fondren After 5 March 6, 5-8 p.m., in Fondren. This monthly event is a showcase of the local shops, galleries and restaurants of the Fondren neighborhood. Includes live music, food and vendors. Free; call 601-981-9606; email (artists, crafters and musicians);

Levee Board Meeting March 10, 1 p.m., at Flowood City Hall (2101 Airport Road, Flowood). Members of the Rankin-Hinds Pearl Flood and Drainage Control District hold their monthly meeting. Free; call 601-9394243; Elder-Youth Connection March 10, 1-3 p.m., at Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Mississippi, Capitol Unit (1450 W. Capitol St.). The purpose of the program is to develop an intergenerational mentor/mentee partnership between elders and youth. The goal is to help youth take the paths of self-love and discipline. Those who wish to be guest speakers must RSVP. Free; call 601-8964400; email Zolo Wine Tasting March 11, 6 p.m., at Anjou Restaurant (361 Township Ave., Ridgeland). Taste four wines from Zolo Winery paired with a cheese plate. Reservations recommended. $16; call 601707-0587;

7%,,.%33 Save Your Life: Key Things Everyone Must Know About Cancer March 6, 6-7 p.m., at The Belhaven (1200 N. State St.). In the conference room. Learn the symptoms and prevention strategies for the most common types of cancer. Refreshments served. Registration required. Limited seating. $7; call 601-948-6262; Plant-based Potluck March 8, 6-8 p.m., at High Noon Cafe (2807 Old Canton Road). Bring a plant-based (vegan) dish to share - enough to feed four to six people - or purchase from Rainbowâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Grab-and-Go Deli. RSVP and indicate what dish you are bringing. BYOB. Free; call 366-1513; RSVP at Living Food Potluck Second Saturdays, 1 p.m. at A Aachen Back and Neck Pain Clinic (6500 Old Canton Road, Ridgeland). RSVP. Bring a dish or donate $10; call 601-956-0010.

Precinct 1 COPS Meeting March 6, 6 p.m., at Jackson Police Department, Precinct 1 (810 Cooper Road). These monthly forums are designed to help resolve community issues, from crime to potholes. Free; call 601-960-0001.

First Friday Free ADHD Screenings Fridays, at Office of Suzanne Russell, LPC (665 Highway 51 N., Ridgeland). Licensed professional counselor Suzanne Russell offers free 30-minute ADHD screenings for children every first Friday of the month. Appointment required. Free; call 601707-7355.

Jackson for a Healthy Gulf March 6, 6-8 p.m., at Hal & Malâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s (200 S. Commerce St.). Gulf Restoration Network, an environmental advocacy group focused on the Gulf of Mexico, celebrates its 20th anniversary with a reception and a presentation. Open to the public. RSVP. Free; email

Gentle Joints Aquatic Program Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 2 p.m., at The Club at St. Dominicâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s (970 Lakeland Drive). The Arthritis Foundation sponsors the low-intensity water class. Sessions are on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 2 p.m. Registration required. $35 for 12 classes, $60 for 24 classes; call 601-200-4925.

Community Shred Day March 7, 7:30 a.m.2 p.m., at Home Depot, North Jackson (6325 Interstate 55 N.). Bring up to five boxes or bags of sensitive documents for shredding. Also bring computers, laptops, cell phones, printers and other electronics for disposal (excluding items with glass such as monitors or televisions). No businesses, please. Free; call 601-359-3680; www. Jackson Audubon Society Birding Field Trip March 8, 7:40 a.m.-noon, at Turcotte Lab (506 Highway 43 S., Canton). Attendees look for look for wintertime birds, including ducks, marsh and other wetland birds, plus many terrestrial species. WMA permit required. Meet at Brownâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Landing to carpool. Free; call 601832-6788; Zoo Day March 8, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., at Jackson Zoo (2918 W. Capitol St.). The annual kick-off to the spring season includes space jumps, live performances, face painting and other activities. Included with regular admission; call 601-3522580;

34!'%!.$3#2%%. Events at Tinseltown (411 Riverwind Drive, Pearl). Call 601-936-5856; â&#x20AC;˘ â&#x20AC;&#x153;Prince Igorâ&#x20AC;? March 5, 6:30 p.m. The Metropolitan Opera presents Borodinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s opera with Ildar Abdrazakov in the title role. $20, $18 seniors, $14 children. â&#x20AC;˘ â&#x20AC;&#x153;Toe to Toe: Canelo vs. Anguloâ&#x20AC;? March 8, 8 p.m. Watch Canelo Alvarez and Alfredo â&#x20AC;&#x153;El Perroâ&#x20AC;? Angulo compete in the boxing match simulcasted from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. $18, $17 seniors and students, $16 children. Poetry Out Loud State Finals March 6, 1 p.m., at Mississippi Public Broadcasting (3825 Ridgewood Road). See nine Mississippi youth compete for a chance to go to the national finals in Washington, D.C. Free; call 601-359-6031; â&#x20AC;&#x153;10 Ways to Say I Love Youâ&#x20AC;? Dinner Theater





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March 10, 6-9 p.m., at Char (4500 Interstate 55 N.). The Detectives Mystery Dinner Theatre presents the interactive comedy. Cocktails at 6 p.m. (separate price); show at 7 p.m. Includes a three-course meal. Reservations required. For ages 18 and up. $49; call 601-291-7444 or 601-9371752; Showcase of Talent Call for Contestants at Actor’s Playhouse (121 Paul Truitt Lane, Pearl). The showcase is open to all ages and all talents. Deadline for entries is March 10. Fees are nonrefundable. The showcase is March 22. $15-$25; call 601-664-0930; email

-53)# Events at Duling Hall (622 Duling Ave.). Call 601-292-7999; • An Evening with Keller Williams and More Than a Little March 5, 9 p.m. Keller Williams is a multi-genre musician who plays several instruments, and he plays one funk set with More Than a Little. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. All-ages-show; adults must accompany children. $25 in advance, $30 at the door, $3 surcharge for patrons under 21. • Fondren After 5 Three-band Concert March 6, 6 p.m. Performers include Startisan, Brave Baby and Sun Ballet. All-ages show; adults must accompany children. Doors open at 5 p.m. Free. • Drivin’ ‘N’ Cryin’ March 7, 9 p.m. The rock band performs to promote their album “Songs from the Psychedelic Time Clock.” The Westies also perform. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. All-agesshow; adults must accompany children. $15 in advance, $20 day of show. • Cody Canada and the Departed March 8, 9 p.m. The country and rock band performs. Doors open at 8 p.m. $12 in advance, $15 at the door, $3 surcharge for patrons under 21. • The Grahams and Lilly Hiatt March 10, 7:30 p.m. Enjoy bluegrass and Americana music from the duo The Grahams, and country music from Tennessee native Lilly Hiatt. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. All-ages show; adults must accompany children. Free. Student Composers Concert XII March 6, 7:30 p.m., at Belhaven University Center for the Arts (835 Riverside Drive). Enjoy selections from student composers in the recital room. Doors open at 7 p.m. Free; call 601-974-6494; Nikki Talley March 6, 7:30-10:30 p.m., at Iron Horse Grill (320 W. Pearl St.). Free; call 601-3980151; email First Friday Jxn: Love for a Pisces March 7, 10-2 a.m., at ISH Grill and Bar (Executive Building, 333 N. Mart Plaza). Enjoy music from Karen Brown and DJ Phil at the monthly social. Doors open at 9 p.m. $10, $75 reserved tables, $100 VIP; call 713-0442; Mississippi Community Symphonic Band March 8, 7-8 p.m., at Christ United Methodist Church (6000 Old Canton Road). The band plays patriotic songs and show tunes. The Mississippi Swing also performs. Free; Synergy Night (second Saturdays) Saturdays, 9 p.m. through undefined NaN, at Mediterranean Fish and Grill (6550 Old Canton Road). 99.7 FM WJMI DJ Maranda J hosts the open-mic and jazz event featuring live music. $10, $5 open-mic participants; like Synergy Nights on Facebook.

,)4%2!29!.$3)'.).'3 Events at Lemuria Books (4465 Interstate 55 N., Suite 202)/ Free; call 601-366-7619; email info@;

• “Long Man” March 5, 5 p.m. Amy Greene signs books. Reading at 5:30 p.m. $25.95 book. • “Mostly Mississippi: The Long Listening” March 8, 2 p.m. Bee Donley signs books. $13 book. • “From the Mississippi Cotton Fields to the State Senate” March 11, 5 p.m. David L. Jordan signs books. $25 book. “Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys” Discussion Series March 6, 6-7:30 p.m., at Jackson State University’s Margaret Walker Center (Ayer Hall, 1400 John R. Lynch St.). Dr. Loye Ashton leads the discussion on G. Willow Wilson’s book “The Butterfly Mosque.” Free; call 601-979-2055 or 601-432-6752; Ramona Bridges Book Signing Event March 8, 2-4 p.m., at Bay Window Books (5905 Old Brandon Road, Pearl). The author signs copies of her book, “An Unclouded Day.” $14.99 book; call 405-458-5642; email

#2%!4)6%#,!33%3 Youth Storytelling Club (Grades 2 and Up) March 6, 3:30-5 p.m., at Madison Public Library (994 Madison Ave., Madison). Learn effective and fun storytelling techniques. Snacks included. Free; call 601-856-2749. Adult Acrylic Painting Class Thursdays, 7-9 p.m. at Daniel MacGregor Studios (4347 Lakeland Drive, Flowood). Daniel MacGregor teaches the class on Thursdays from 7-9 p.m. Bring your own 11-by-14-inch canvas for a $5 discount. $15-$15; call 601-992-6405; email; Bob Ross Painting Classes Fridays, 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Saturdays, 3:30 p.m., at Hobby Lobby (200 Ridge Way, Flowood). Leave with a finished painting after each class. Registration required. $60; call 601-992-0233; email

%8()")43!.$/0%.).'3 Events at Mississippi Museum of Art (380 S. Lamar St.). $10, $8 seniors, $5 students, free for members and children ages 5 and under; call 601960-1515; • The Slave Series: Quilts by Gwendolyn A. Magee Opens March 7 in the Barksdale Galleries. See the late artist’s quilts that tell the story of slavery in America. Includes admission to the This Light of Ours exhibit. • This Light of Ours: Activist Photographers of the Civil Rights Movement Opens March 7 in the Barksdale Galleries. See the Civil Rights Movement through the work and voices of nine activist photographers. Includes admission to the Slave Series exhibit. Events at Mississippi Museum of Natural Science (2148 Riverside Drive). $4-$6; call 601576-6000; • A Forest Journey through April 27. The handson exhibit highlights the history of the use of wood, the life cycle of trees and more. Ideal for middle school and high school students. • Nature’s Numbers through April 27. Discover the many shapes and patterns found in nature. Light, color, gravity, weather and many other natural phenomena are explored through creative puzzles and hands-on interactive units. Ideal for elementary students. Exit Six: Southern Gothic through March 6 at Jackson State University (1400 John R. Lynch St.) In Johnson Hall Gallery. See Chris Kienke’s contemporary artwork that is an exploration of the relationship of televised identity and stereotype

using the road as its landscape. Free; call 601-9790879; Lagniappe: A Little Something Extra through April 30, at Mississippi Library Commission (Education and Research Center, 3881 Eastwood Drive). Opening reception March 20 from 5-7 p.m. See Susan Wellington’s oil and watercolor paintings, and fine jewelry from Jackie Messer, Martha Scarborough and Laura Tarbutton of The Beach House Studio. Free; call 601-432-4111; email March Art Exhibit through March 31, at Fischer Galleries (Dickies Building, 736 S. President St., fourth floor). See works from Ellen Langford. Free; call 601-291-9115;

"%4(%#(!.'% Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement Conference March 5-7, at Tougaloo College (500 W. County Line Road). The conference is to inspire and empower today’s youth through social activism, education and organizing. Speakers include Bob Moses, Eddie Fair, InevaMay Pittman, State Rep. Alyce Clarke, Ellie Dahmer and Unita Blackwell. $50, $20 students; one-day registration: $25, $10 students; luncheon only: $15, $10 students; call 601-977-7914 or 601918-7809; email mississippicivilrightsveterans@; Downtown Blood Drive March 6, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., at Jackson Convention Complex (105 E. Pascagoula St.). Mississippi Blood Services facilitates the blood drive, and donations will be used for life-saving treatments. Free; Elder Abuse Brown Bag Lunch Discussion March 6, noon-1:30 p.m., at Eudora Welty Library (300 N. State St.). Richard Courtney of Courtney Elder Law Associates discusses topics such as signs of abuse, reducing neglect and legal measures to take. RSVP. Free; call 800-898-3234; email; Blondes v. Brunettes Kick-off Party March 6, 5:30-7:30 p.m., at Parlor Market (115 W. Capitol St.). At the event space next door. The precursor to the May 10 powder puff football game includes wine, beer and appetizers. Donate to your favorite team, and proceeds go the Alzheimer’s Association of Mississippi. For ages 21 and up. $10 suggested donation; find Blondes v. Brunettes Kick Off Party” on Facebook. Brock McGuire Band March 7, 7:30 p.m., at Jackson Academy Performing Arts Center (4908 Ridgewood Road). The band from County Clare, Ireland plays traditional Irish music, and the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra accompanies the group. Silent auction at 6 p.m. Proceeds benefit the McCoy House for Sober Living. $25, $45 VIP (includes meet and greet); call 601-946-0578; Legal Beagle 5K March 8, 8:15 a.m., at Regions Bank, Northeast Jackson (1455 Jacksonian Plaza). The Jackson Young Lawyers Association is the host. Check-in is at 7 a.m. Includes a kids’ fun run. Awards given. Proceeds benefit the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Mississippi Bar Association. In advance: $20, $15 fun run; online: $21, $16 fun run; race day: $25, $20 fun run; $60 families (maximum of 5) and teams; $15 Tshirt only; call 601-973-8788; email rnunnelee@; Check for updates and more listings. To add an event, email all details (phone number, start and end date, time, street address, cost, URL, etc.) to or fax to 601-510-9019. The deadline is noon the Thursday prior to the week of publication. Or add the event online yourself; check out for instructions.



Playing Funky Music by Tommy Burton


f there’s one word to describe musician Keller Williams, it might be “energy.” The self-taught 44-yearold performer can play multiple instruments and has been dubbed a oneman jam band by audiences all over the world. Williams has toured with the likes of The String Cheese Incident, The Travelin’ McCourys and Mickey Hart of The Grateful Dead. He plays a variety of styles from bluegrass to rock. He is currently touring with the funk band More Than a Little in support of his latest recording, the aptly titled “Funk.” “(My music) is definitely a reflection of everything I’m into,” Williams said. “I wouldn’t be spending time with it or on it if it wasn’t for my deep love for music in general. I’m constantly surrounding myself with and seeking out new music. I feel very grateful that people allow me to change it up so much with different projects.” When it comes to recording or playing live, Williams has a preference. “The live thing is more of a dayto-day thing for me,” Williams said. “The recording really happens so seldom. I don’t do a lot of session work. The last record (2013’s “Funk”) was a live recording. The studio can be a little tricky. It’s all about documentation and trying to make it as close to what you think is perfect. I do love going to the studio and documenting where my life is musically. That’s what those earlier CDs are. It’s like a period piece for an artist. Between the two, though, I prefer playing live. There are’s a lot of peo-

ple who like to hear music performed live. With the technology today, live performances are almost like recording studios with a lot of people in them.” This year’s tour finds Williams working with a full band called More Than a Little. In putting the group together, he started playing with the drummer, Toby Fairchild, who was doing a Tuesday night R&B night at a local bar in Williams’ hometown of Fredericksburg, Va. “I think there was a cast of musicians that would come and play,” Williams said. “The night I came in, it was the band minus the singer, Sugar Davis. I sat in, and it really clicked. At the time, I was finishing up a keyboard trio thing I was playing bass in and starting in with The Travelin’ McCourys, so it wasn’t a good time to start anything new. So, I put it in my back pocket and saved it. In the fall of 2012 we started rehearsing for some shows later in the year. We recorded those shows and those recording became the record. The record came out great, so now we’re pushing it.” An Evening with Keller Williams & More Than A Little is at 9 p.m. March 5 at Duling Hall (622 Duling Ave.). Keller Williams will perform a solo set and then a funk set with More Than A Little. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. For tickets, call 601-292-7999 or visit For more information, visit


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by Micah Smith

Wayward Awards


ow is a great time to be a musician. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s easier than ever for the average waiter-by-day, songwriter-by-night such as myself to build an audience, advertise new releases and find affordable ways to record. An almost innumerable amount of music came out last year, a fact that the 56th annual Grammy Awards should have celebrated last month. While I wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t blame anyone for reporting on Lordeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s impression of a coked-out Wednesday Addams or appreciating the enormity of Pharrellâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Canadian Mountie hat, I think the strangest part of the whole night has gone mostly overlooked. We all know that, theoretically, the Grammy Awards display the best in music, but this year the award show seemed more homogenized than ever. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t need to say that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a popularity contest because thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s obvious, and it makes perfect sense for the judges to consider record sales and reviews when choosing between many well-liked nominees. The issue that I have is that, for the most part, any artist who won a single category was nearly guaranteed to win several more. Perhaps the awards committee just enjoys the slapstick comedy of a performer fumbling a mountain of awards. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m certainly not suggesting that we should limit the number of awards that a performer is eligible to win. If someone manages to nab a nomination in every category under the sun, then he or she probably deserves at least a few of those accolades. However, it doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t take brilliant observational skills to notice when rap collaborators Macklemore and Ryan Lewis walked away with â&#x20AC;&#x153;Best New Artist,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Best Rap Performance,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Best Rap Songâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Best Rap Album,â&#x20AC;? the deck may have been stacked in their favor. In fact, the night was made up of similar one-sided success stories: Daft Punk won â&#x20AC;&#x153;Record of the Year,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Album of the Year,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Best Pop Duo/Group Performance,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Best Engineered Album, Non-Classicalâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Best Dance/Electronica Album;â&#x20AC;? Justin Timberlake pulled â&#x20AC;&#x153;Best R&B Song,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Best Rap/Sung Collaborationâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Best Music Video;â&#x20AC;? and Lorde took home â&#x20AC;&#x153;Song of the Yearâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Best Pop Solo Performance.â&#x20AC;? I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t mention this in order to argue over which performers did or did not earn their awards. Even as much as I dislike Lordeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s music, I acknowledge that her Taylor Swift-does-goth style gained quite a backing in the last year. Rather, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m left to wonder, did we leave the reins in the right hands? For those unfamiliar with the Grammy voting process, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a fairly simple one. Prior to the first voting round, members of the Recording Academy and major record companies submit artists and releases, and these

submissions are used to create the first-round ballots. The voting members then mark the ballot in up to 20 categories in their areas of expertise and in the General Fields of â&#x20AC;&#x153;Record of the Year,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Album of the Year,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Song of the Year,â&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Best New Artist.â&#x20AC;? After the five finalists are determined, Recording Academy members vote again to choose the top winners. FLICKR / DREW OF THE COME UP SHOW



MUSIC | live

The Grammys have fallen to industryinfluenced promotion of artists like four-time winner Macklemore rather than representing music creators and listeners.

Note the immediate concern in the first tier of that process. Major music providers like â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Big Threeâ&#x20AC;?â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainmentâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;are colossal corporate entities, each of which owns hundreds of branch labels. Just as with any massive organization, these music groups are limited in their connection with the average consumer. As a result, none of us actually know the American consensus. Do we really think that â&#x20AC;&#x153;Get Luckyâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Royalsâ&#x20AC;? were, respectively, the best record and song to come out of 2013? If weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re honest, do we really know the difference between those two categories? Understandably yet ironically, the Grammys would become a bit anarchic if the Recording Academy chose to allow a completely democratic voting process. Plenty of music fans are fiercely loyal and extremely vocal. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d hate to watch a Grammy Awards dominated entirely by teenage girlsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; tastes. It does seem reasonable, though, to allow some level of public power in the nomination round. As it stands, the same few companies that command virtually every airwave on the radio and television also nominate artists for the Grammys, and then use the awards to increase specific artistsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; sales. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not unreasonable, of course. Business is business. But, just as simply, music is music, and it shouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be reduced for easy sales. More than ever, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s obvious that the Grammy Awards could benefit from a pairâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;or a few hundred million pairsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;of fresh eyes.

DIVERSIONS | jfp sports the best in sports over the next seven days

by Bryan Flynn

THURSDAY, MARCH 6 NBA (7-9:30 p.m., TNT): A rematch of last year’s NBA Finals sees the Miami Heat head to Texas to face the San Antonio Spurs. FRIDAY, MARCH 7 College basketball (6-8 p.m., ESPN 2): Get some MACtion on the basketball court as Akron and Kent State collide before the MAC Tournament starts. SATURDAY, MARCH 8 College basketball (12:30-3 p.m., CBS): Ole Miss needs to get on a hot streak and win the SEC Tournament if the team wants to go to the big dance. Beating Vanderbilt at home will be key. SUNDAY, MARCH 9 NASCAR (1:30-5 p.m., Fox): Jimmie Johnson continues his quest to tie Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt’s seven-title records at the Kobalt 400 from the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. MONDAY, MARCH 10 College basketball (6-8 p.m.,

ESPN 2): Conference basketball tournaments start this week—get ready for the major conferences by beginning with the MAAC Men’s Tournament. TUESDAY, MARCH 11 NHL (6:30-9 p.m., NBCSN): Two of the NHL’s best meet as Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins face Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals—but only one of these greats has two gold medals. WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12 College basketball (6-10:30 p.m., CBS): One of the two opening games of the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament will feature Mississippi State. One exception is Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles have a shot at an at-large bid—but need other teams in front of them to tank big time as the season comes to an end. Follow Bryan Flynn at, @jfpsports and at

bryan’s rant

Look Beyond the Combine


ome call it the underwear Olympics because it involves guys running around in tight-fitting clothing, getting timed, measured and analyzed. The NFL Combine is the first chance to see the future draft class of 2014. For the players, the combine can help or hurt their draft stock. Teams looking for speed might overdraft a player who runs a fast 40-yard dash time. Many believe you can coach a guy up, but you can’t coach speed. While it is true that you are either born with speed or not, you can’t always coach a guy into being a football player. Just ask Raider fans about Darrius Heyward-Bey. He has more than enough speed and should be a game-breaking wide receiver, but Bey doesn’t run routes well, and he drops the football. Oakland valued his speed over his football abilities. On the other hand, a player can have a terrible combine and end up with a hall of fame career. Go watch the documentary “The Brady 6” to see Tom Brady’s combine film; nothing in it would make you think we’d come to know him as one of the best quarterbacks of all time.

This year we saw several players who impressed, and others who will need a good pro day (a workout in front of scouts on their college campus), plus one player who got some divine advice. One player whose combine performance could get him drafted higher than expected is Kent State running back Dri Archer. Archer’s 40-yard dash was a nearcombine-record 4.26, which is really fast. And remember, you can’t coach speed. Michael Sam should find all his onthe-field combine tape and burn it. Sam was projected as a third- to fifth-round pick before the combine. Watching him on the field, he looked like a fifth-round pick to undrafted free agent to me. Game film shows Sam can play, but he needs a good pro day to confirm that. San Diego State running back Adam Muema wants to the Seattle Seahawks to draft him. The former Aztec said he received divine advice that not taking part in the combine would help him get to Seattle, so Muema got on a plane and hasn’t been heard of since he left Indianapolis. I’m sure plenty of teams will have questions about that choice.

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On View March 7 – August 17, 2014

The Slave Series Quilts by Gwendolyn A. Magee On View March 7 – May 18, 2014

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