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).

McGeeBookFestivalCopyCrop2-19 copy.jpeg

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.


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)

Market Expo at Jackson Cash & Carry Food Market 10/28/2017 from 10 am. to 2 pm.

Meredith Etc books
Meredith Etc Book Titles are Great!

SAT. OCT. 28, 2017. 10 AM TO 2 PM. Meredith Etc authors including Mary Haralson Coleman, Meredith Coleman McGee, William Trest Jr… are displaying and selling their books at Jackson Cash & Carry Fresh Food Market’s EXPO, 3520 Terry Rd. Jackson, MS 39212. For more information call 601.376.9327 or 601.948.4122.

New Book – Nashida: Visits the Mississippi State Capitol

Nashida: Visits the Mississippi State Capitol, Moses Meredith Cultural Arts Book Series Vol. 2 is live 08/18/2017 softcover $9.99.

Eight-year-old Nashida shares stories about the legacy of four former Mississippi governors including Andrew Longino (1900-1904); James Kimble Vardaman (1904-1908); Edmond Favor Noel (1908-1912); and Earl Leroy Brewer (1912-1916) with young readers. Nashida also describes the responsibilities of lawmakers in the context of her tour of the Mississippi State Capitol. Readers will learn how a bill becomes law and historical information about the state of Mississippi. Readers and learners will walk away with an understanding of how state laws impact theirs lives and the people who live in their communities. book page

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Local History………………………………..…7

Chapter 2 Four Governors 1900 – 1916….…….…17

Chapter 3 The Mississippi State Capitol………….41

89 pages