Yoknapatawpha and Starkville Area Arts Council Host 1st annual Scrambled Egg Bowl

From Nov. 6 until the Egg Bowl, The Yoknapatawpha Arts Council and the Starkville Area Arts Council will be hosting a competition between two 11-man teams of artists recruited by the local communities. Playing on the age old rivalry between the two state colleges, the event will be called the Scrambled Egg Bowl. The art councils will compete with their respective teams scoring “Touchdowns” by selling their art.

Artist auditioned for the teams by submitting art to either of the art councils and auditions were open to all Mississippi residents.

“We wanted to emphasized the strength of art around the state so partnering with the Starkville Area Arts Council allows us to build relationship with artist and communities and really showcase their work,” Americorp Vista with YAC Jessica Richardson said.

For artist this is a great way to showcase their art while “playing” for their local communities.

“It’s a great way to network and get your name out there,” former and current rebel Paul Gandy said. “Any chance to show some work is worth it. The competition is really good. I’m just honored to be selected as one of the artists for the first Scrambled Egg Bowl.”

Uptown Coffee hosted Kickoff & Coffee for the opening of the Scrambled Art Bowl on Tues., Nov. 6th, from 6 P.M. to 7 P.M. Uptown Coffee is currently housing much of the art from both teams and all donations and purchases of $5 or more allows a patron to vote on their favorite art piece adding to that teams score.

(Quote from Uptown Coffee manager)

The winner will be announced on Black Friday, the day after the Egg Bowl. The winning team will take home the golden paint brush.

“This is the first ever Scrambled Egg Bowl and we have to bring home the trophy for Oxford it would only be right, ” Member of the Yoknapatawpha Art Council team Debbie Myers said. “Especially since we don’t know how football is going to go.”

The Yoknapatawpha team consist of: Catherine Smith, Debbie Myers, Pam Locke, Maria Paolillo, Paul Gandy, Anna Yates and Thomas Gorsskopf. The Starkville line-up features: Walter J Diehl, Joe MacGown, Jin Won Kim , Gerard Woods, Dylan Karges, Bonnie Bruemley, Holly Johnson, Fay H Fisher, Bonnie V Renfore and Lexus Giles.


Oxford Takes a Step in Recognizing Its Troubled Past

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On Sept. 29, 1935, Elwood Higginbotham was pulled out of a county jail and murdered by a white mob as a jury deliberated his potential innocence verdict becoming the seventh and last known lynching victim in Oxford.

On Oct. 28, roughly 83 years later, Oxford took the first steps in recognizing its troubled past by erecting a plaque to honor one of the last victims of racially influenced mob “justice”. The plaque will be located at the “Three Way” intersection of Molly Barr Road and North Lamar Boulevard — the location where Higginbotham was killed.

The unveiling ceremony took place in a packed Second Baptist Church Saturday afternoon. Many of Elwood’s relatives were able to attend the event. Some traveling from the nearby Memphis area but a few coming from as far as Ohio or Texas.

“I am glad to know that they had the fortitude to want to try and bring closure on somethings that were still open down through the years,” Retired pastor of the late Higginbotham’s church Rev. William Woods said. “This is an opportunity to have people to look at both sides of the pictures, to know that it has happened and to know that the family can have total closure.”

The Equal Justice Initiative worked with the Winter Institute, the Higginbottom family and the Lafayette County community  to develop a plan for the plaque and donated the funds to assure its completion.

“[The plaque] says there are people in Oxford who are willing to engage in a conversation,” Kiara Boone, Deputy Director For the EJI said. “It says there are people in Oxford who are willing to engage in a dialogue and I think that is a great starting point. That is a great foundation and its something that gives Oxford something to build upon. ”

Boone was joined by her fellow EJI Representative Evan Milligan, both of whom used their time to discuss some of the steps that still need to be taken to truly build a more inclusive United States.

“Why are we so comfortable having a system where so many people are thrown away,” Milligan asked.  “Why are we so comfortable with a system with young people born into conditions of homelessness? We have a problem with that. In order to address that problem, we can’t only talk about laws and policies. We have to talk about our hearts and cultures and stories that we tell each other. The desire to have that conversation is why we began to work with this (Higginbotham) case.”

The line up for the event included a litany of speakers and performers beginning and ending with performances from the University of Mississippi Gospel Choir.

The other performers included local singer Effie Burt Rendition of Billie Holliday’s “Strange Fruit” and a performance from some of the late Higginbotham’s descendants.

Some of the other speakers included, Cynthia Parham, a current member of Higginbotham’s church, Louis Burroughs who recently learned of his relation to Elwood Higginbotham and Professor Diane Harriford of Vassar College in New York.

A common theme among the speakers was the idea of noting that this is just a stepping stone and that their was still work to do.

Louis Burrough has made it his life’s work learning about lynchings and other aspects of African American history and using his art to help people visualize them. During his time behind the podium he shared his experience of learning about his deceased relative and his disapproval of the original account and details of the story.

“I have no doubt that somebody wanted something Elwood Higginbotham had,” Burrough said before going on to list the inconsistencies in the original story.

Burroughs finished his time onstage asking for the confederate monument to be replaced with a statue to the brave blacks who were able to survive and thrive in Oxford.

“The visualization of our genes has to go along with the struggle,” Burrough said. “It can’t just be words and preaching and poetry. If you don’t see that information that looks like you, reminds you of you, then you are diminished.”

The EJI held an essay contest for local high school students that asked participants to compare a historical injustice to contemporary issues. The top four winners were recognized at the ceremony, and Jupiter O’Donnell—a junior from Oxford High School— read his aloud to the crowd.




Ole Miss Meek Art School Houses Kathryn Hunter’s Exhibit “Concurrence”

Louisiana-based artist Kathryn Hunter, whose mixed media exhibit “Concurrence” will be on display in the University of Mississippi Meek School of Art through Oct. 28, showcases a wide variety of skills, ranging from graphic design to sewing and steel-cutting.

“Its a culmination of a lot of different aspects of art,” Assistant Professor of Graphic Design and Gallery Director Tyler Barnes said. “We have graphic design, there is laser cutout of metal, welding, fiber art, fabric and sewing is all combined in as well”

Hunter runs a print studio in Baton Rouge, Blackbird Letterpress, and her print background shows heavily in her work.

“She is able to take her basic printmaking processes and combine them with modern art and printmaking to break away from tradition while still holding on to the old techniques,” associate professor of sculptures Durant Thompson said.

Her art exhibit is spread throughout two rooms. Some pieces are in a small entrance room, which leads to another larger gallery room, which houses the rest of her art. One of the first things one notices upon entering the exhibit is the overpowering amount of white walls, giving the art the appearance of being printed on paper.

The entrance room welcomes the viewer to some of the common themes of the exhibit with the artworks “Eclipsed” and “Wadling”. Eclipsed introduces the viewer to the dog who is a guardian of spirit and keeper of guns. In the artwork the dog is surrounded by the different phrases of the moon alluding to our spirits connections with the moons and the universe in general. The way the light reflects of the art work puts a spotlight on a certain phase of the moon depending on the viewing angle giving the work the illusion of being a legend or guard of some sort.

the way adjacent to the “Eclipsed” houses the artwork “Wadling” which depicts what appears to be a polar bear surrounded by water droplets. This artwork introduces us to the bear which is a common theme through out Hunters work. The bear is a character, One of the largest fieriest predators but still vulnerable.

The exhibit is 19 works of art collectively with four in the first room and the rest in the back larger gallery.

The exhibit features a lot of installation art sometimes making the art pop such as “Tidal” which features a series of laser cut steel shaped like the different phases of the moon over wool fish. The way the light reflects of this exhibit also changes with the viewers angle allowing viewers to interact with the art. The art seeks to depict the intimate connection between fish and the moon. This again alludes to our connection as human to the rest of the universe.

“its not inside of a frame so each one of those individual phrases of the moon were nailed into the wall,” Barnes said. “Kind of merging 2-D art and 3-D art all at the same time. ”

According to her website, Kathryn Hunter is a fine artist based in South Louisiana where she runs blackbird letterpress, a printing studio which specializes in quirky animal stationery, handmade notebooks and cards, and invitations, with a focus on good craftsmanship and good design.

Hunter received her undergraduate degree in printmaking from Montana state University and her MFA in printmaking from Louisiana state University before going on to start her company.

Hunter’s Work has been commissioned by Clarkson Potter (a division of Penguin Random House), Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, Norton Simon Museum of Art, Los Angeles, and Historic New Orleans Collection.

The open house for the exhibit will be Thursday Oct. 25 in Meek Hall and will allow viewers to interact with Hunter and ask her question about her art and process.


Deadly crash in New York leaves a community and the country searching for answers.

Saturday a deadly limousine crash in Schoharie, New York left 20 dead making it the deadliest transportation accident in the U.S. in 9 years. It was the deadliest transportation accident since February 2009, when Colgan Air Flight 3407 crashed near Buffalo, New York, killing 50 people.

According to CBS News, a deadly limousine crash has happened every year in this country since 2000. These crashes account for at least 68 deaths.

Although most states require seat belts in the front seats, 22 states don’t have the same regulations for passengers in the back, and according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, you are eight times more likely to be killed in a crash if you are riding in the back seat of a car without a seat belt.

As most limousines don’t cross state lines, regulations for limousine are often regulated at the state level, and states like Mississippi regulate them similarly to buses, only stepping in when it seat 15 or more passengers.

“Mississippi is fairly laxed,” Scott said. “DOT regulates limousine just as they would buses”

Another thing that increases the chance of deadly accidents is the limit of regulation on vehicle which have been modified to accommodate more passengers.

“[Some companies] will take a factory vehicle and cut it apart at a 3rd party facility and put it back together as best they see fit,” Oxford Executive Travel President Jared Scott said. “A lot of the times  its not even close to manufactures specifications as far as safety goes. I had one manufactured about eight or nine years ago, and once I figured out how they were manufactured, I started to have my doubts about them. You see how they are manufactured, and you start to think ‘God, is this really in good taste?'”

Oxford Executive Travel hasn’t had an accident, a feat which President Jared Scott attributes to his companies safety practices.

“I prefer to operate factory style vehicles,” Scott Said. “I tend not to buy anything thats been modified. All my drivers are CDL drivers and have lots of experience driving buses or semi truck. I look for employees that have a solid track record of safe driving practices. I constantly monitor at MVRS. We use cameras in our cars. We drug test randomly and we also push up on a hour service limit and don’t allow drivers to work beyond 8 hours at a time because driver fatigue is a real thing.”


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.”


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.


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.