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June 17-23, 2010

1980 as staff attorney at Central Mississippi Legal Services and worked simultaneously as an adjunct professor at Jackson State University, spending 17 years in the departments of Mass Communications. Political Science, and Public Policy and Administration. From 1986 to 1990, he joined the Office of the Mississippi Attorney General, working as a Special Assistant Attorney General in the Human Services and Health Law divisions. Graves then went on for a brief tenure in the Department of Human Serv-

Judge Greg Mathis of television fame was the guest speaker at the awards banquet held in conjunction with the annual Medgar Evers Homecoming last Saturday night at the Masonic Temple in Jackson. The event commemorated the 47th year anniversary of the assassination of Evers, who at the time of his death was Mississippi's leading civil rights activist. Mathis, pictured above with Charles Evers, told the 300+ guests, "We have to stop making excuses for what's wrong in our communities. It's time to take responsibility." (Advocate photo: Alice Thomas-Tisdale)

ices as Director of the Division of Child Support Enforcement. He was there at the time of his first appointment to the bench in 1991. Compliments have been coming in from many of his friends and associates, praising Graves for his achievements. Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker is very supportive of Graves. As Senator, Wicker will have one of the critical 51 majority votes Graves needs for his appointment. “During his tenure on the Mississippi Supreme Court Justice, James Graves has been a diligent and capable jurist,” Wicker said in a letter of support. “I am hopeful the Senate

Jackson Advocate

will act on his nomination soon.” Congressman Bennie Thompson likewise signaled his support for Graves. “I strongly support the nomination of James Graves to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. I believe that Justice Graves will be an excellent addition to the federal bench. Over the years, I have come to know him as a person with impeccable judicial integrity and as a tenacious worker. Justice Graves has been selfless and tireless member of his community. I am sure that his record will speak well for him during his confirmation process.”

Jackson, Mississippi
Southern Region Progressive National Baptist Convention
The Annual Session of the Southern Region Progressive National Baptist Convention will be held in Jackson June 21-25, 2010. The Welcome Night Worship Service will be held on Mon., June 21 at 6:30 p.m. at Greater Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, 1400 Robinson Street. All activities of the convention (with the exception of the Welcome Program) will be held at the Marriott Hotel in Downtown Jackson. For a listing of activities and additional information, call 601-352-8585.

him to be at fault in any way. Hill said that Stokes usually confers with him before any trip and that he helps plan out the itinerary with him. Writer Chris Joyner used innuendo and a kind of arched-eyebrow slant in reporting on four trips Stokes made running from July 2009 until March 2010. Joyner questioned whether Stokes had actually taken the trips and implied that somehow the down-to-Earth councilman was pocketing public money illegally. Hill, who bears the title of city finance executive, demolished all such innuendo and snide reportage in an exclusive Jackson Advocate interview Wednesday morning. “I have worked closely with Councilman Stokes for the past 15 years,” said Hill. “Whenever he goes on a trip he will call me and ask me to work

with him on getting the travel together and call hotels. I do some of the legwork for him. “I’ve never found any problems with his travel, he’s always come back to me and brought the receipts. I’ve never had a problem with him getting me what I need to document his travel.” Hill said he also helped arrange flights and other expense-related items. All city officials and employees must give a documented account of their activities and expenses. The traveler gets a per diem allowance also. “The only things they don’t have to have receipts for are their meals and their taxi fares for less than $10,” he said. “The per diem allowance covers the meals. Otherwise, we’ve got to document all the other expenses.” Hill has worked closely with Stokes over the past 15 years, both he and the councilman say. Hill has been executive administrator of the city’s fi-

nances for 10 years. Altogether, he has been with the department for 38 years, spending two of those years as the director. Stokes showed the Jackson Advocate the registration identification required for attendance at the July 21-Aug. 6, 2009, American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Construction Subcommittee in Chicago; the March 10-20, 2010, meeting of the National League of Cities in Washington, D. C.; and the RE-Think New York Think Tank Co-Op and Condo Expo 2008. The CL writer also used a quote from Congressman Bennie Thompson to imply that Stokes was not in Washington because he did not meet with the congressman along with another member of the council during the March conference for the National League of Cities. Thompson sent Stokes a letter dated June 14 that cleared

up the matter from his end in support of the councilman’s claims. “This letter is to confirm that no one from my office contacted you about a meeting with me in March 2008,” Thompson wrote in the letter Stokes received Wednesday. “If any further information is needed in this matter, do not hesitate in contacting me.” Stokes pled with his fellow council members Tuesday to vote with him to hire famed Civil Rights Attorney Alvin Chambliss to initiate legal action against the Clarion Ledger and its reporter, charging capricious reporting and malicious defamation of character. Although Stokes did not get the majority of four votes needed to hire his lawyer of choice, Chambliss, he asked the city attorney to affirm that he had a right to appeal the vote within 10 days. City Attorney Peter Teeuwissen and his assistant Monica Joiner said they would need time to confer with

the Attorney General. When pressed by Stokes for advice on what legal avenues were immediately open to him, Teeuwissen said, “Mr. Stokes is free to hire whoever he wants to, but not at city expense” unless the action proved to be within the law governing such matters. “The Clarion Ledger is not judge, jury and executioner,” Stokes said in an open letter to the paper. “Councilman Kenneth I. Stokes has information that proves his attendance at the conferences. For example,

a Chicago WiMAX Conference that Councilman Stokes attended was followed by a WiMAX presentation at Jackson City Hall. The presentation featured a leading WiMAX Convention Exhibitor that was invited to come to Jackson by Councilman Stokes at the WiMAX Convention in Chicago. The Jackson City Hall WiMAX presentation was well attended by media, government and the general public. Surely, this fact was known by the Clarion Ledger.”

Led by the example of his mother, Dr. Alferdteen Harrison, Judge Harrison pursued a legal career out of a desire to help his community. “As I got older I saw the law as a way to help people and solve their problems. My mother instilled a sense of community service and to help your fellow man.” When asked about his responsibilities as a judge, Harrison becomes solemn. “I have taken my position as judge seriously and with a deep sense of responsibility,” he says. “I have sought to earn the trust of the citizens by carrying out my responsibilities with reverence, honor and respect.”

Harris in Jackson about the arrest, according to the SCLC official. Tabitha Tate was picked up by the police the following day but was released after her parents intervened, Wells said. The two sisters and their brother are scheduled to appear in justice court June 24 on a number of charges that they claim were contrived. David James, an investigator for both the Belzoni police department and the Humphreys County sheriff’s office, is alleged to be one of the main culprits at the center of the controversy that could wreck the lives of a number of innocent people. (A breaking news report from yesterday indicates that officer David James was brought into Humphreys County circuit court Wednesday on sexual harassment charges filed by a female Belzoni police officer, Shirley Johnson. Belzoni Police Chief Mickey Foxworth was also reported as being charged with sexual harassment by the same woman, according to reports from inside the courthouse.)

Another policeman and sheriff’s deputy, Bruce Williams, was also named by Wells as a law enforcement officer engaged in the alleged acts of sexual exploitation of women in the Belzoni area. Belzoni’s Mayor Wardell Walton, the first black man elected to that office, refused Monday to answer any questions about a growing number of charges of malfeasance and alleged criminal acts on the part of some of the officers under his authority. Under the law, the mayor is also the police commissioner and has oversight over police conduct. Walton called all complaints “hearsay” and said he would not respond to any questions about possible police misconduct. Beginning with an incident in March that involved an alleged assault on Deidre Ratliff, a good friend of Tabitha Tate and the daughter of David James, Sherry Wells found herself drawn into conflict with a group of women out to settle a score with Ratliff. Tabitha was with Deidre Ratliff at the time of the first incident. One night at a McDonald’s takes little credit for where he finds himself positioned in world affairs. Besides his family and professors, he says his mentor, Dr. Edward Jones of Seattle, helped him tremendously, as does his close friend and Lanier High School classmate Darryl Jones, who is now a Florida state senator in Miami. “I take literally ‘to whom much is given, much is required.’ I’m grateful to be in a position of authority which allows me to utilize my experience for the benefit of others,” he said. For his community activism, Mack has received numerous honors, including being named a 2006 Distinguished Engineering Fellow at his alma able students of all ages to receive quality education (despite location or income), while engaging them more fully in the educational experience. More and more students are finding ways to expand their learning through supplemental

in Belzoni, four of the accused women confronted Tate and Ratliff and ended up with one of them, Daniella Hughes, allegedly hitting Ratliff in the face, according to a statement notarized by Wells and Tate on April 22. “After they jumped on my niece’s friend, David James’ daughter, they went down to the sheriff’s office to file charges against Daniella Hughes and her accomplices for jumping on her,” Sherry Wells said. James allegedly wanted to keep his daughter clear of any involvement because of an alleged prior criminal charge against her in Louisiana and allegedly expunged all the court records on her. She has not been in contact with her friend Tabitha since the fiveyear injunction was issued, Tabitha Tate says. Ratliff had at first been included under the five-year injunction, but there is no record of her inclusion, thanks to the alleged insider work of her father. Tabitha Tate says that David James deliberately set up a rumor mill to take the onus off his daughter and tried to lay mater, Mississippi State University, and Ebony Magazine’s Top 150 Black Leaders in America (2008 and 2009 editions). His most recent achievement occurred in May when he received an honorary doctorate from Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York. In his remarks to the 2010 graduating class, Mack said, “My advice to you is to pursue your greatness. And that greatness means that you are going to pursue something that is bigger than you, something that is far more special than you. “The history of our great nation is filled with men and women who have achieved greatness and when you go through and recount all of their resources available at websites like Smithsonian Education (www.smithsonianeducation.or g). Educational games found on websites like FunBrain ( are also helping children learn in a way that keeps them engaged. Because of these resources, and

the blame on Tate or Wells. “David James tried to keep Deidre’s name out of it,” Tate said. “So he started going around telling people that the trouble was about me and my boyfriend. Then those girls started picking on me and my auntie, Sherry Wells. He told Deidre to stop hanging around us. But it started because of her seeing her boyfriend in the park with Kasha Brown. They started picking on me because I was with his daughter.” One of the women accused of assault, Sharonda Ross, however, is the sister of David James’ alleged girlfriend, Kizzie Ross. James allegedly was conflicted between doing favors for his girlfriend and her relatives and standing up for his own daughter. He solved his dilemma allegedly by removing his daughter’s complaint from the police files. “David James got rid of the papers,” Wells said. “After that, the girls started picking at me and Tabitha. I went to Police Chief Mickey Foxworth and explained to him that I was moving to Orlando, Florida, as soon as my kids got out of school. He said that if lives – regardless of social economic background or race – there is one common denominator that they all have. All of the men and women in this great nation who have achieved that greatness had this one ingredient: opportunity. President Abraham Lincoln is considered a great president because he had the opportunity to deal with slavery in this country. Susan B. Anthony is considered a great woman because she had the opportunity to deal with discrimination against sisters in this country when it came to voting. Martin Luther King, Jr., is considered a great man in the history our nation because he had the opportunity to deal others like them, the playing field is being leveled for rural students, low-income students, nontraditional learners, and even those with disabilities. Online courses are also beneficial for students interested in taking advanced or specialized courses that are not offered at

the other women bothered me again, he would put them in jail for two weeks.” Wells and her two relatives faced more taunts, threats and an assault involving more than 20 people on her brother, Damien Wells, on the night of April 17, she said. Although Foxworth had advised Wells to file assault-by-threat charges against Marilyn Ross, a member of the group threatening her, he decided on April 17 to get a five-year court injunction to bar any contact between Wells and her tormentor, Marilyn Ross. Municipal Judge William C. Trotter issued the order the following Monday. But he included Wells’ sister, Antionette, and niece under the injunction to avoid contact with Ross and her associates. Trotter said he issued the injunction to maintain peace and order in the community. He dismissed all the other charges, he said. Wells and her sister Antionette were arrested on the morning of May 26. The sisters and their brother are scheduled to appear in justice court on June 24 facing with the moral consciousness of America. “And so now today – the graduating class of 2010, our Golden Knights – you too have amongst your vast array of opportunities – global warming, alternative energy sources, conservation and land, resources and wildlife, the growing economic gap between the haves and the have-nots, education, skyrocketing unemployment, an explosion in the prison population, world relations, war, immigration reform and yes, racism – are just some of the opportunities that await you and your greatness.” Mack has been successful in his pursuit of championing civil rights causes and increastheir school. Full degree programs can also provide the flexibility that some students might need in order to complete their schooling while working through the day. The many applications of broadband in the education spectrum have had positive im-

charges of malicious mischief and assault by threat, for Antionette and Damien, and disorderly conduct and resisting arrest for Sherry. It is not clear whether charges of violating the five-year injunction on contact with their adversaries will be brought against the three. Trotter said in a phone conversation Tuesday, nevertheless, that his municipal court docket does not include any charges. If the justice court pursues contempt charges against them, he will not do so, because of the issue of double jeopardy. Sharon Tate, the mother of Tabitha, says that most of the trouble occurring in Belzoni’s black community stems from conflicts of women getting into disputes over men, many of them in law enforcement, who exploit them sexually. She owns a beauty shop in Belzoni and has taken note of how the local courts routinely arrest and fine these women, although nothing is ever done to prosecute the officers who are the real cause of the conflicts. Sherry and Antionette Wells are her sisters. ing opportunities for black engineers. As the head of NSBE since 2005, he has been instrumental in growing the membership from 13,000 to 33,000. Just as impressive is the expansion of NSBE financial resources from $3.5 million to $9 million. Increased funding provided the bridge to embark on programming geared for the next generation of engineers; hence, SEEK (Summer Engineering Experience for Kids). “The academy exposes African American youth to science, technology, engineering and math early and constantly, and has seen tremendous growth, from 250 children to nearly 1600, in its first three years,” commented Mack. pacts on student achievement and the development of realworld skills. However, those without broadband at home sometimes compare it to life many thought had faded away decades ago as minority children are segregated from online schools and courses.

Minority Engineering Internship Program. In 2004, he expanded his community role as President of the Seattle King County Branch NAACP. To his credit, the branch grew from 600 to 2,000 members in a span of one year and received the Thalheimer Award as the top branch in the nation. “The mission of the National Society of Black Engineers is to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community,” Mack said. The new executive director

broadband-enabled learning has replaced the traditional classroom entirely, allowing students to participate in classes and degree programs online. These opportunities en-