William Faulkner Died 1962 but Left Behind a Legacy That Will Live Forever

In front of a small crowd of about 20, Saturday Sept. 29, Gloria Burgess visited the Burns-Belfry Muesuem where she hosted a book signing for her book, “Pass It On.” The Book takes place in Oxford and details the story of William Faulkner paying for her father, Earnest McEwen Jr, to go to college.

“My father always had two dreams, to go to college and to own a house with running water,” Gloria Burgess said . “A dream Mr. Faulkner help propel my dad towards when he offered to pay for my father’s college.”

In her remarks before the actual signing Ms. Burgess stressed the importance her father’s education played in helping him and his future generations to escape poverty.

“With education, my father was able to move his family out of Mississippi to Michgan,” Burgess said. ” Growing up, there was never a discussion about whether we were going to go to school or not but where we were going to school because our father knew college was on the road to success.”

Similar to the influence he had on the lives of the McEwans, Mr. Falkner’s life and fame had a lasting effect on his hometown. Here in Oxford, the community is all too familiar with Mr. Faulkner and his legacy which was often discounted in his early life.

“As a young man, Faulkner was viewed by the locals as a bit of a deadbeat,”Howry Professor of Faulkner Studies Jay Watson said. “He was the eldest son in a prominent north Mississippi family, yet instead of wanting to be a banker or lawyer or businessman, as convention would have dictated, he wanted to be an artist, to live a life of the mind. That made him a bit of an odd duck from the point of view of the community. When he was in his early twenties, attending classes at the University, they called him “Count No ‘Count.” ‘Count’ because he dressed nattily, like he fancied himself an aristocrat; and “No ‘Count” because everyone thought he would never amount to anything.”

It was only in the late 1940s and early 1950s that his local reputation began to change and Oxford began to embrace him. Through his work, he was able to make Oxford known nationally.

“Faulkner put Oxford on the map as a kind of small-town window onto the South, and that reputation survives today,” Watson said. “When national and international news outlets want to get a “bead” on the South, to explore its culture or politics, they often send reporters to Oxford to take the pulse of the town and the local scene here. Every year thousands of visitors come to Oxford to see Rowan Oak and explore the local environment that fired Faulkner’s imagination.”

Annually the Department of English and the Center for the Study of Southern Culture and coordinated by the Office of Outreach and Continuing Education host the Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha conference in his honor. The William Faulkner Society also uses Faulkner’s name. Through his work Faulkner became somewhat of a namesake for Oxford.

“William Faulkner is by far the most famous author to come out of Oxford, Mississippi,” Professor of English Dr. Jaime Harker said. “When I moved here from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania there were better writers coming to Oxford, Mississippi than were coming to Pittsburg because they would skip that but nobody wanted to skip coming to Oxford.”

After Mr and Mrs Faulkner passed their house was sold to the University of Mississippi which now uses it as a Museum. The building and furnishings have largely been kept the same as when Faulkner lived there including writing on the wall drawing tourist from around the world.

“The community benefits from this international interest, and the university benefits from it as well,” Watson said. “Scholars come to Oxford to research Faulkner’s life, writings, and world, and to share their scholarship at the annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha conference.  Undergraduate and graduate students in the English department come here to study Faulkner and write about him.  And at least since the 1980s, when Willie Morris and Barry Hannah joined the university faculty as writers in residence, poets and fiction writers have gravitated to Oxford and found it a hospitable environment for their work.  John Grisham called that “the Faulkner thing,” and it’s real.  It’s a big part of why there are so many successful writers living and working among us in this little town, and thus a big part of why the university was able to attract top faculty members for our creative writing programs.”

IMG_9597

Advertisements

What Works Weeks 6: Kanye West Made SNL Stars ‘Uncomfortable’ with ‘Surprise’ Trump Rant: Source

Headline: Kanye West Made SNL Stars ‘Uncomfortable’ with ‘Surprise’ Trump Rant: Source

This article details the event of Saturday Night Live this weekend which ended with Kanye West offering an impromtu Pro-Trump rant. During his rant he offered conspiracy theories blaming Democrats for purposely taking dads out the home and pushing welfare.

It also talks about the response from the SNL crew who was surprised by Kanye’s rant. Kanye accused the crew of bullying him for wearing the hat which the crew denied. The crew acknowledged that he had been wearing the hat all week without anybody getting him any trouble and that he even asked them if he should wear the hat.

The article also notes that his rant wasn’t televised but because the show was already off the air not because they were silencing his voice.

This article works because they contacted a wide variety of source and even capture the story from many angles even getting the presidents response and twitter’s response. It also does a good job of linking to the actual rant and twitter post.

What Works Week 5: Rod Rosenstein Suggested Secretly Recording Trump and Discussed 25th Amendment

Headline: Rod Rosenstein Suggested Secretly Recording Trump and Discussed 25th Amendment

This article from The New York Times details an alleged between Rod Rosenstein and other White House officials about wanting to secretly record Trump and discussing the 25th amendment. The article does a good job of talking to everybody involved in the story from the allegedly the people around the situation to having Donald Trump and even an updated response from Rosenstein. ‘

The article does a good job to note that Rosenstein denies the claims and it actively attempts to dive deep into the thinking and atmosphere surronding the whole event going into details some of the event leading up to this discussion such as the firing of James Comey.

As this point it think the Times is just beating into the ground the fact that they are opposed to Donald Trumps presidency. This is like the second or third time this month the Times has used completely anonymous sources for big stories and it is starting to make me question their credibility.

This story is based a lot on he said she said and it really just boils down to a story to bash trump that can’t be proven one way or the other.

C Spire Looks to Provide High-Speed Internet to Mississippians

According to a recent Pew Research Center report, about a quarter of Americans in rural areas believe that access to high-speed internet access is a problem and in Mississippi that number rises to 36%.

“There is a lot of talk about does Mississippi have a brain drain,” C Spire spokesperson Dave Miller. ” Do the young people have the opportunities they need if they go to a community college or a 4 year institution. Are there job opportunities available at the appropriate level that they think justify staying in the state? We feel very strongly that technology offers opportunities to offer more jobs in those areas.”

Lack of high speed internet can hamper a community in a a number off ways from something as little as causing a slow gaming session to limiting a business’ ability to grow. C Spire is actively using technology to improve the quality life for rural Mississippian through a wide variety of channels.

In 2016, C Spire and TeleHealth coordinated to help people who suffer from chronic disease such as Diabetes

“what we did is we partnered with university of Mississippi medical center and we provided tablets and our network and they partnered with a technology company/ software company where they gave people in some of the most rural areas of these state these tablets to use to monitor and manage their diseases and what was amazing was they reduced their emergency room visit. It was almost reduced completely,” Miller said.

Many of the problems keeping high-speed internet from being integrated into people’s lives in rural areas is cost, mainly because of a light population density.

“When you look at providing services, whether it’s telecommunication services or Internet access, you look at (population) density,” Miller said. “In rural areas, one of the reasons people live in these rural areas is because they don’t want to be around lots of other people. Another part that is unique to Mississippi is that we have a lot of rural areas, we’re not a populous state. We don’t have a lot population clusters, outside the cities we have a lot of small towns in rural areas, people love living  in the country and not being tied into a lot of things you associate with metro areas. These things make it difficult to serve the population.”

Whether you live in a rural area or a big city, the need for fast internet is there.”

In the rural areas that are throughout the state, people have to come to go into their towns to find a local library or go to the closest city for a coffee shop just to do tasks like apply for jobs.

Ole Miss seniors Allan Brooks and Delvin Davis often come to the university library to play games on their computers.

“At home the internet lags while here (at school) the quality is higher,” Brooks said. “The Library has a noticeably more stable connect.”

With students coming onto campus to play their games while other places in Oxford, C Spire is aiming to provide a stable connection in areas that haven’t ever seen it.

University of Mississippi Computer Engineer PhD Candidate, Daniel Coto said When I was an undergraduate, I would come to campus and play games with friends. The internet was better there than it was at my house. With the internet being inconsistent, it ruined the gaming experience since we couldn’t always stream a game with our friends.

C Spire is also hoping to add 5g connectivity through out the state.

“We could take some of our underlying wireless technology or 5g technology and apply it to provide internet access. So where we have cell sites that we have fibers feeding those cell sites we have the opportunity potentially to offer 5g internet.”

“Whether it’s jobs, whether it’s the economy, it’s all of these things to help move Mississippi forward,” Miller said.

The journey that is bringing Mississippi towards a future where technology is integrated into the lives of its citizens is bringing companies out of the cities and into the technology age.

 

What Works Week 4: U.S. is denying passports to Americans along the border, throwing their citizenship into question

Headline: U.S. is denying passports to Americans along the border, throwing their citizenship into question

This article from the Washington Post talks about people who were born in America but are increasingly having their passport denied because border agents don’t believe they were born in The United States.

Starting under Bush and continuing under Obama before a decline, the US began questioning birth certificates issued by midwives as they were a string of fraudulent certificates being distributed. Under Trump revived and rejuvenated that practice leaving legal citizens in a legal limbo as they attempt to freely travel across the border.

The Post does a good job of detailing the story and showing how these policies are affecting everyday Americans. They also do a good job of pulling together data and talking to quality sources such as a lawyer and documents pertaining to a late doctor.

I like how the article was originally published but the Post went back to add in data from the justice department and other sources. It shows that the post is concerned and dedicated to making the story as accurate as possible.

Ole Miss Steers Clear of the Nike Controversy

“For most people [the Nike Swoosh] didn’t register,” Professor of Sport and Recreation Administration Kim Beason said. “Most people probably knew we were sort of Nike but they didn’t care, but now does it register. Does the swish register with people. Are they gonna see it more than they did before? Nike likes that.”

One stroll around the Ole Miss campus and there is no question who our sponsor is. From the countless Nike apparel in our bookstores to the many student athletes draped head to toe in Nike. the brand is very visible on campus.

Last Thursday Nike shook the country when they released an ad that featured ex-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick prompting backlash from certain groups and even prompting a response from President Trump.

Following the release of the ad, the University of the Ozarks ended its partnership with Nike and the Mayor of Kenner, La advised people close to him to avoid using Nike products for the recreational activites.

The University of Mississippi has yet to release a statement or response to the ad continuing business as usual.

The University of Mississippi is 1 of 10 sec schools who have a partnership with Nike or one of its affiliates and after a 12 year extension in 2015 they are contracted to remain with Nike until 2027. Under this contract Nike promises to pay Ole Miss $1.9 million annually to be the exclusive provider. Ole Miss is also sheltered from having to spend cash for Nike Products.

“Does the university benefit from Nike or does Nike benefit from the university,” Beason said. “That’s what it comes down to. If its mutual we’ll stay with nike until Nike isn’t mutual beneficial to us.”

The release of the ad was as controversial as the act itself but most school that are contracted with Nike are bond by a contract which doesn’t allow the school to leave unless Nike goes bankrupt or doesn’t pay it the money they promised.

Here at the university student athletes have largely been unbothered by the ad being released some even going as far as saying it brought the team together.

“Everybody on the team is a family,” Ole Miss Track and field team member Emanuel Foster said. ” Everybody agrees with each other so there isn’t really any racism or anything like that.”

Support for Kaepernick’s and Nike’s actions were widespread amongst student athletes.

“I think its good for the brand because the stand that Colin Kaepernick took with all that is going on in America and the world it shows that they don’t care about just one Side but care about anything,” Ole Miss football player Brenden Williams said.

Ole Miss has largely attempted to avoid any controversy itself with coaches recomending their players to stand for the anthem out of respect.

The communications department for athletics couldn’t be immediately contacted for comment.

What Works Week 3: Dallas officer Amber Guyger charged with manslaughter after killing neighbor in his apartment

Headline: Dallas officer Amber Guyger charged with manslaughter after killing neighbor in his apartment

This article from USA Today details the events and aftermath of a police shooting that took place Thursday. The officer Amber Guyger was arrested and charged with manslaughter Sunday after she reportedly accidentally walked into the wrong apartment and shot Bothan Jean.

This covers a very heated and conflicted topic in it being an officer involved shooting of a black man but its is even more controversial being that he was inside his own house.

USA Today does a good job of tracking down reputable and quality sources from the mother to the Dallas Mayor. It also does a good job of answering some of the important question like how much her bond was, if she is still in jail, who is doing the investigation, etc.

Some of the questions that are still left unanswered is what happened inside the apartment and how did she walk into the wrong apartment. She would have essentially had to break into the apartment to have gained interest and then to shot the resident is crazy to me and almost seems like an excuse versus what actually happened.

Elwood Higginbotham Set to be Memorialized in Oxford

On Sept. 17, 1935 the last publicly recorded lynching in Oxford took place. After a trial for killing a white man in self defense, Elwood Higginbotham was taken from his jail cell either forcibly or through persuasion of the guards before being hung and shot before a mob of 150 or more people.

At the time it happened, it received a wide variety of coverage although most of it proved to be ineffective in painting a accurate picture of what actually happened. The story barely registered to get any mention from the family its self as the remaining Higginbothams fled Oxford before eventually settling in Memphis.

The story would remain blurred and under wraps until Kyleen Burke from Northeastern University’s Law School was assigned with gathering the story for a memorial in honor lynching victims in Birmingham.

“What makes this important to day is showing our young people what our elderly people went through to have the rights that they have now,” Said Cynthia Parham Commissioner of the Historical Properties Division of the city of Oxford. “Its a part of our legacy. We don’t want our past to be our present.”

The Equal Justice Initiative is collaborating with the Oxford Board of Alderman to erect a plaque in honor of Higginbotham near the alleged lynching site.

The Plaque will detail the events and the sad reality of the Jim Crow Era south.

The Lynching Memorialization in Lafayette county will host a public meeting on Aug. 28 from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Tallahatchie Oxford Missionary Baptist Association building in Oxford

The EJI is also providing Lafayette County students with the opportunity to earn scholarship money through an essay contest. Some high schools such as Lafayette High School have yet to take advantage of the scholarship.

“Towards the end of last year the story caught some traction and inspired some kids but so far this year we haven’t even had the chance to get the kids into the full swing of writing to write,” said 9th grade English teacher Maria Young.

At the time of this article, some staffers were unaware that the scholarship was available.

“I hadn’t heard about the scholarship but i’m sure this is something that would excite my students,” said 12th grade English teacher Sara Irby.  “I find it easier to talk about social injustices when we have actual examples. Last week we read some Tom Sawyer and it help orchestrate a discussion among students.”

 

What Works Week 1: Introducing the Upshot’s Encyclopedia of Donald Trump’s Twitter Insults

Headline: Introducing the Upshot’s Encyclopedia of Donald Trump’s Twitter Insults

This article from The New York Times talks about a then new database of all of President Trumps insults which he has made public record through publishing to his 5+ million Twitter followers.

The article is interesting because they take something that is news but is hard to explain and explains it vividly by putting the information all in the readers face. They skimmed through all of Trump’s tweets since his election around Jan of 2016 and it was around 487 then so imagine what it is at now, which they have kept it updated up until July of this year.

I like how ever vile or disrespectful thing they say Trump said they can prove it with a link to his tweet. I think this is interesting because to say Trump is a horrible person or he is mean etc, would normally be a dead end conversation but by showing you his comments it paint a vivid picture of his character.

This article speaks to the hard work and dedication of the members of the New York Times crew because it take a long time to go through and read Trump’s tweets let alone archive and categorize them. It also speaks to their readers because something like this would only be news to a liberal leaning news station like New York Times and wouldn’t even get a mention on a more conservative network like Fox.

The article does a good job of giving a summary of the database and its contents and it also did a good job mentioning some of the more memorable comments made by or Commander and Chief.

The Archive