Amazing Book Gifts for all ages

Congratulations to RDLN graduate Meredith Coleman McGee

Dear RDLN Network Members; 

Congratulations to RDLN graduate Meredith Coleman McGee (Group 7), who since 2016 has been leading a drive for literacy in Jackson, Mississippi.  Because local public libraries — even those named for African-Americans – have few books on their shelves and discourage participation in children’s programs by African-Americans, she and seven other women launched the Community Library Initiative with a long-term goal of opening their own library in Jackson. They developed My First Book Series, which included six primer books for beginning readers My First Book Series. She and other volunteers coordinated the Spring Break Reading Fair in March 2017. During that week, reading coaches and youth participants formed the Learning Tree Book Club, a reading group for young and adult readers (See photo at bottom).

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Meredith (c) with Fran Wade Camper and Lena Barnes at Jackson Book Festival

Meredith and other authors had encountered barriers to entering their local marketplace. They could not sell books in the Jackson Hinds Library System. The books of several authors were rejected by the Mississippi Museum Book Store and several large book retailers. The Mississippi Library Commission refused to list their titles in the state’s database. The authors formed the “Book Toasters” a social club for authors andthey organized the first Jackson Book Festival. It took place at the Jackson Medical Mall on February 8. Meredith was the mistress of ceremony. “There was a great turnout with over 20 author and art vendors,” she said. Student volunteers from Hinds Community College supported the event. Four adults won the poetry contest. Local businesses donated gift bags consisting of books, children’s dictionaries, gift cards, and art.  Meredith proclaimed, “This is an intellectual revolution!” and she added that “We plan to organize an event annually.”

In comparing the Jackson Book Festival, described above, to the traditional book festival in the state, she said, “I attended the Mississippi Book Festival, which is held at the Mississippi State Capitol every August,  three times.  Even though several authors split the cost of a table, we barely broke even each year. During our Jackson Book Festival, authors were given the opportunity to present six-minute book talks, and the cost of table space was only $20, which increased the opportunity for profit. Meredith has just released the second (paperback) edition of her biography James Meredith: Warrior and the America that created him through her small press Meredith Etc. She will speak at the J.D. Williams Library at the University of Mississippi, Oxford campus, on Thursday, March 7. She has also released the second edition of her book Odyssey, a collection of her poems and other writings from 1993 to 2018.  Meredith is an entrepreneur, author, and publisher.  She earned her master’s degree from Antioch University through the Rural Development Leadership Network.

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Meredith standing defines a term for a new reader, who came to the  Learning TreeBook Club with his mentors.   Ty’Leeann, right, was a founding member of the club, which was formed at Pearl Street AME Church during the Spring Break Reading Fair.


Starry Krueger, Rural Development Leadership Network, P.O. Box 98 Prince St. Station, New York, NY 10012, (212)777-9137 (212)477-0367 (Fax) rdln@ruraldevelopment.org

Black authors and black female owned small press slighted by Mississippi Civil Rights Museum’s Bookstore!

Black authors and black female owned small press slighted by Mississippi Civil Rights Museum’s Bookstore!
 
The Mississippi Department of Archives and History accepted the works of authors but its agency (Mississippi Civil Rights Museum Bookstore) rejects the sale of the same authors’ works.
 
Unfair prejudices are shameful. 
 
My Brother J-Boy written by Hazel Janell Meredith was rejected supposedly because it was self published. The lasted edition was commercially published, and in fact the store manager had not even viewed the book when she rejected it. The book is 100 pages. It is very comprehensive and the illustrations are crisp. This book is the most important children’s book written about James Meredith who is featured in the museum.  
 
Will you act?
 
Museum Employee’s Conversational Excerpts:
 
“Your books were brought to my attention and  we are unable to accept the books you mentioned in your email and I want to explain why.
My Brother J-Boy—Does not have the level of detail and professionalism we like in the books we sell

The New Populist Party—it is a novella and we don’t sell novellas

The Odyssey—half of the book is poetry and we don’t sell poetry

Please contact me directly if you have any questions.”

Cindy

____________________

Cindy Gardner

Two Mississippi Museums administrator

Mississippi Department of Archives and History

PO Box 571

Jackson, MS  39205

601-576-6901

cgardner@mdah.ms.gov

Yes, I understand the concept of the book and truly admire the sacrifices of James Meredith. The book is self published and not up to the standards of the other books in the Store.  This is not considered to be an insult to you or Mr. Meredith.  Many great books are self published but we have found that the quality is usually not as good if they have gone through a professional publisher.  

____________________

Cindy Gardner

Two Mississippi Museums administrator

Mississippi Department of Archives and History

PO Box 571

Jackson, MS  39205

601-576-6901

cgardner@mdah.ms.gov

_________________________

This edition of My Brother J-Boy was not self published. The hardback edition was published by Meredith Etc via Ingram. I see you never saw the book. You are referring to an older version. This version was released last year. My Brother J-Boy Ingram 978-0-9993226-0-4 
I’d like to pick up Odyssey and The New Populist Party tomorrow. I never left a copy of My Brother J-Boy. I left provided the product page. 
Meredith McGee
___________________________

Ms. McGee, 

Can you bring me a copy of My Brother J-Boy?  I promise to return it to you within a week.

____________________

Cindy Gardner

Two Mississippi Museums administrator

Mississippi Department of Archives and History

PO Box 571

Jackson, MS  39205

601-576-6901

cgardner@mdah.ms.gov

Meredith Coleman McGee, Publisher
Meredith Etc
1052 Maria Court
Jackson, MS 39204
601.372.0229