Meredith C. McGee contributed 8 articles in Jackson Advocate‘s Women History Month Special Issue on female public servants are government officials. Sen. Barbara Blackmon, Shelia Hardwell Byrd, Hinds County Chancery Clerk Eddie Jean Carr, Dr. Bendalonne Thompson-Griffith, Memphian Virgie Banks, Mayor Linda Short (Mayersville, MS), and Rep. Alyce Clarke shared their views on leadership and or the state of governmental affairs.
Suggested reading for literature, social studies, women’s studies, leadership, and political science classes.
Sen. Barbara Blackmon—Barbara and her husband Edward Blackmon, Jr. donated nearly $2,000,000.00 to Tougaloo College and Jackson State University and received an award for Black Philanthropy. In addition, their Foundation contributed scholarships and awards to 53 students.
Shelia Hardwell Byrd—Her idea of a perfect union in centered upon a platform which includes the opportunity for conflict or vigorous debate. “Conflict is necessary to produce progress and change. It’s hard to imagine a nation free of conflict,” she said. She believes The Civil Rights era is an example of a controversial time which forged change. She proposed, “I believe we as a people must do a better job of reasoning with each other.”
Hinds County Chancery Clerk Eddie Jean Carr (named Women of the Year)—The life we live between birth and death matters because one’s deeds becomes one’s legacy,” she determined. Then, she added, “This Life is not a rehearsal. This is it!”
Dr. Bendalonne Thompson-Griffith—“There is no one size fits all model.” She believes parents should spend extra time with their children by talking to them. She is convinced it is important for Black males to be exposed to reading during their early elementary years at home because reading is connected to all subject matters and reading comprehension helps students advance academically.
Dr. Resia Thompson—When an eagle makes its first flight it never meets another bird unless it’s another eagle. Look beside you and ask, “Are you an eagle?” Therefore if you keep running into penguins that means you are flying too low this morning…”
Memphian Virgie Banks—“We took a group of students to the state capitol to present a bill they wrote as a school project on school testing,” Banks noted. The youth met with the Legislators, and discussed their bill. “They were invited back to meet with the committee and their bill may get voted on,” she proudly announced.
Mayor Linda Short (Mayersville, MS)—Short has developed an event called, “A Day as an Elected Official” to allow youth to see firsthand the inner working of the offices in Issaquena County. “This event is open to children ranging in age from eight to 16,” she affirmed. Participants will have the opportunity to follow any elected official of their choice around for one day to see them carry out their daily duties.
Rep. Alyce Clarke—Rep. Clarke determined “A perfect union is a place where bills and issues are discussed on merit rather than political party.” She is disappointed the legislature has not reached any common ground in reference to the City of Jackson’s infrastructure and water issues.