Millsaps announces honorary degree recipients: Jon Meacham, Jesmyn Ward, Dr. Lamar Weems

Mississippi author Jesmyn Ward, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Jon Meacham and Dr. Lamar Weems will receive honorary degrees at the Millsaps College May 11 commencement. “This is an incredible group of individuals, and we are excited about the opportunity to recognize and honor their contributions to our state and nation,” said Millsaps College president Dr. Robert W. Pearigen, in a news release. “The insight and skill they bring to our political discourse, our health care systems, and our literature are immeasurable.”

Ward, who grew up in DeLisle, is an associate professor of English at Tulane University and a novelist, essayist, and memoirist. Her novel “Salvage the Bones” won the National Book Award in 2011, and her novel “Sing, Unburied, Sing” was recognized with the award in 2017; she is the only woman to have won the National Book Award twice, notes the release by Millsaps. Ward also received a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant in 2017.

Clarion Ledger: ‘Boyz n the Hood,’ Emmett Till film director John Singleton has died

Clarion Ledger: John Singleton, the Oscar-nominated director and screenwriter behind films like “Boyz n the Hood” and “Poetic Justice,” has died after being taken off of life support following a stroke earlier this month, the Associated Press reported Monday. He was 51. Singleton was set to direct a movie about Emmett Till who was killed in Mississippi in 1955 for allegedly flirting with a white woman. “It is with heavy hearts we announce that our beloved son, father and friend, John Daniel Singleton will be taken off of life support today,” Singleton’s family said in a statement via his spokesperson earlier Monday. “This was an agonizing decision, one that our family made, over a number of days, with the careful counsel of John’s doctors.” 
Read the Clarion Ledger complete article here.

New Jersey governor bans Mississippi flag from state park because of Confederate emblem

NJ.COM: When the flags from every state in the union went up in Liberty State Park Friday as part of an annual tradition, one is missing: Mississippi’s. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy ordered that state’s flag not to be raised because of its nod to the Confederacy, NJ Advance Media has learned. “The Confederate symbol displayed on the Mississippi State flag is reprehensible and does not reflect our values of inclusivity and equality,” Murphy said in a statement. The Associated Press later reported that Gov. Phil Bryant said in a statement Friday that “I’m disappointed in Gov. Murphy’s actions. As I have repeatedly said, the voters of Mississippi should decide what the state flag is or is not.”

Read the completed article posted on here.

Alcorn State University names alumna Felecia M. Nave next president

In a unanimous decision, the Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees named Felecia M. Nave the next president of Alcorn State University on Wednesday. Nave, a 1996 graduate of Alcorn State with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, is currently Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for North Carolina Central University in Durham, N.C. She received her master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Toledo in Ohio. Nave will take the reins at Alcorn State on July 1. “Dr. Nave has many years of experience as a leader in higher education,” said Trustee Shane Hooper, in a news release. “Through positions of progressive responsibility, Dr. Nave has provided leadership in every facet of the university, including academic program offerings, research activity, budget management, fundraising activities and student services, including recruitment, financial aid and student success.

Eleven Mississippi counties eligible for disaster relief, FEMA announces

The Federal Emergency Management Agency sent out a notice Tuesday that eleven counties are now eligible for disaster relief for damages caused during tornadoes, flooding and other severe weather in southern Mississippi. The counties are: Clarke, Covington, Forrest, Greene, Jasper, Jones, Marion, Newton, Perry and Wayne. Those counties are eligible to receive reimbursement for costs to repair or replace facilities through the Public Assistance and Hazard Mitigation Grant programs. President Donald Trump signed a disaster declaration on Feb. 14 to designate these areas as adversely affected from the storms occurring Dec. 27 through Dec 28, 2018.

Prosecutor’s actions in Flowers case ‘troubles’ Supreme Court justices

By all accounts, U.S. Supreme Court justices were mostly in agreement Wednesday when they heard arguments in a Mississippi death row case. Though the case before the justices isn’t about guilt or innocence, but rather whether the prosecutor wrongly dismissed black jurors, most seemed – in the words of the Washington Post – “deeply troubled” by the actions of the prosecutor, District Attorney Doug Evans. Even Justice Clarence Thomas, known for not asking questions, interrupted three years of silence during oral arguments. Several media outlets that were present Wednesday reported that the justices seemed likely to rule in favor of Curtis Flowers – on death row for the 1996 slayings of Bertha Tardy, Carmen Rigby, Robert Golden and Derrick Stewart. According to a report in the Clarion Ledger:
After six trials for the same crime, a death-row inmate from Mississippi reached the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday and appeared headed for yet another chance. 
The justices spent an hour debating whether Curtis Flowers’ conviction in 2010 for the execution-style murders of four people in Winona, Miss., was tainted by a prosecutor’s rejection of potential black jurors.

New York Times: Hip-Hop artists give the Supreme Court a primer on rap music

Four years ago, a group of hip-hop artists took their free speech argument to the U.S. Supreme Court in defense of a Mississippi rapper who was suspended from school over lyrics he posted online. The Clarion Ledger reported in 2015: They’re standing up for Taylor Bell, who four years ago was a Mississippi high school student in the Itawamba School District. He was disciplined for posting a rap song with explicit lyrics about some coaches alleged to have acted inappropriately toward female students. In their brief, the rappers urge the justices to hear an appeal from Bell. The high court declined to hear the case.

Colorlines: Kiese Laymon wins Andrew Carnegie Medal, to give prize money to young Mississippians

Colorlines: The American Library Association honored “Heavy: An American Memoir”—Kiese Laymon’s account of growing up Black in Mississippi—with its Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction January 27. The author and professor announced on Twitter that he will donate the $5,000 prize money to youth in his home state. Read the Colorlines article and see Kiese Laymon’s Tweet here. In its news release, the ALA says the awards (Rebecca Makka was the announced winner of the fiction award) serve as a guide to help adults select quality reading. “It was an incredible year of reading and discussing the best books of 2018 alongside the dedicated and insightful readers on the committee.

Sun Herald: These are the 7 people who will help decide how the BP oil spill money is spent

The Sun Herald is reporting that “an advisory board that will oversee spending of BP oil spill recovery money is now set.” Read the complete story by the Sun Herald here. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves’ appointees:
Jerry Levens of Long Beach, retired partner at CPA firm Alexander, Van Loon, Sloan, Levens & Favre
Mark Cumbest of Cumbest Bluff, owner of Cumbest Realty
Gov. Phil Bryant’s appointees:
Ashley Edwards of Biloxi, president and CEO of the Gulf Coast Business Council
Moses Feagin, vice president and CFO of Mississippi Power
Becky Montgomery Jenner of Pass Christian, Workforce Development & Education Manager at Mississippi Power
Speaker Philip Gunn’s appointees:
Greg Cronin of Ocean Springs, president and CEO of Charter Bank
Jim Simpson of Gulfport, attorney for Long Beach city and school district and former state representative
Lawmakers in a special session last year determined that the Gulf Coast will get 75 percent of the settlement funds.