September 4, 2008
There will be some history in the making this Thursday evening.
The H.W. Byers Lions travel to Byhalia for a junior high football game.
That’s right – football.
Close to Nowhere
Traditions at Aunt Jackie’s
My husband, Pop, as our granddaughters and now the rest of the world, call him, is fond of saying many pithy things about me.
One of his favorites is “you’re burning up the road!”
With all his health problems, he’s not a frequent traveler at all.
I, however, like to “go!”
Last weekend, Jane and I were in Nashville; this weekend, my daughter, my granddaughters and I went to visit my sister in Missouri.
The Preacher’s Corner
‘If you were Gale Denley, I enjoy your column’
As I have written this column over the past 20 years, readers have been most kind in expressing their appreciation when we meet on the street or at the grocery store.
I have met many new friends through The South Reporter, and writing the column has been fun for me and I think it is an important aspect of my ministry.
I have enjoyed working with the staff at The South Reporter, and my editors, Barry Burlison and Linda Jones, are a pleasure to know and real friends in the journalistic endeavor.
‘Beloved newspaper man’ dies at 72
Retired Mississippi journalism educator and newspaper publisher S. Gale Denley of Bruce died of complications from kidney disease on Friday, Aug. 29, 2008, at Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi in Oxford. He was 72.
Funeral services were held at Bruce United Methodist Church on Sunday, Aug. 31, at 3 p.m. Interment followed in Bruce Cemetery. Parker Memorial Funeral Home in Bruce was in charge of arrangements.
Letters to the Editor
Remembering ‘life’ teacher:
In our lifetime we are influenced by a number of people who cross our paths.
However, of those, there are only a very few we truly remember for their passion, compassion, sense of humor, sincerity and many other rich qualities that made them such unique individuals.
S. Gale Denley was one of those persons in my life. It is amazing that of all the students who came through the journalism department at Ole Miss, he still remembered me and always greeted me with a warm smile and a hug.
I can imagine he was that way with all of the former students who came through the department. That’s just who he was.
I was saddened to hear of Mr. Denley’s death, but I am truly blessed to have wonderful memories of such a great husband, father, teacher and friend to so many.
God bless Mrs. Jo Ann Denley, Celia, Lisa, Deanna, and all of the family.
Wake up, smell the coffee:
August 28, 2008
First, I want to express, as I have already, congratulations to Dr. David Beckley and the Rust College family on acquiring the Mississippi Industrial College (MIC) property or MI as it was popularly known.
Dr. Beckley was gracious enough to call me, Wednesday evening, August 13, to inform me of the sale. However, as I also expressed to Dr. Beckley, I have serious issues with the CME church leadership.
Therefore, my comments have nothing to do with Dr. Beckley or Rust College. My issues and/or concerns are expressed in this brief narrative below.
Bishop Elias Cottrell (1853-1937), a native of Holly Springs and an ex-slave, founded Mississippi Industrial College. He was converted to Christianity in 1874, was licensed to preach in 1876, was ordained deacon and elder in 1877 and 1878 respectively. He was elected education commissioner of the church in 1890 and the seventh bishop of the Colored Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church on May 9, 1894 in Memphis, Tenn.
He is widely credited as being the founder of Texas College (1894): this being his first Episcopal assignment, and Arkansas Industrial College in Moten Ark. (1917-1941); on about 230 acres of land (I wonder what has happened to this land?).
It appears that he was the founder of Miles College (1908) although not given credit; as his personal journal reflects that he was presiding bishop in Alabama’s Anniston Annual Conference when the conference adopted the resolution to establish Miles Memorial College (now called Miles College).
He established Mississippi Theology & Industrial Seminary on 110 arces of land in 1903. It was chartered as Mississippi Industrial College in 1906. It appears that everywhere he presided as bishop, a college “sprung up.”
As you can see, Bishop Cottrell was an education bishop and perhaps more than any other, promoted the cause of education in the South with vigor. That has benefited the nation in general, Mississippi and surrounding states in particular, by educating thousands of negros, blacks -- African American men and women.
From all accounts, the love of his heart was Mississippi Industrial College (MIC), (1903-1982).
According to an article that appeared at the Clifton Conference: “An Era of Progress and Promise. Aug. 1908,” it states, “He is the founder of several church institutions and has brought harmony out of chaos.”
It is sad to know that this is what has happened to the land, the dream that this man gave his whole life to, matters pertaining to the church and the general uplift of his people. It is a sad to know that this “hallowed ground,” the dream and the hope of ex-slaves has been given away, albeit, sold, after being under the auspices of CME for more than 110 years. It is sad to know that Cottrell’s unrelenting work, and the efforts of so many who worked with him -- Teer, Mhoon, Pegues, Bates, Potts, Hurts, Bullard, Montgomery and Frazier; those who worked so earnestly to preserve the institution in my time --Rankin, Byers, Trice, Washington, Shannon, Murdock, George, Armstrong, and Brown, to name a few, was in vain.
It has been widely reported and well documented that in Bishop Cottrell’s last written communication to the Mississippi Annual Conference, dated December 1937 (from his deathbed) he asked the conferences, “Don’t forget our educational enterprise located at Holly Springs, Mississippi, dear old MI.”
He died December 5, 1937.
But today, is there anything we value today? Is there anything of intrinsic value to us? This “beacon of hope, this red old hill,” has been sold. What will our Bishops tell us now or in February, Black History Month, about leadership, dignity, heritage, pride, ownership, and hope, when they have sold, without notice, “dear old MI.”
If an ex-slave, a man who spent the first 12-13 years of his life enslaved, had enough vision and courage while serving in the office of bishop, in spite of a governor’s decree, a decree that lasted more than 50 years, to do the things that he did, what is wrong with that office, the office of bishop today? Cottrell’s work, his sacrifices, his vision, dreams and aspirations alone were and are enough to have preserved this land and made it priceless!
It is time for all of us to wake up and smell the coffee. There is more going on here than meets the eye.
Jessie J. Edwards, Ph. D.,
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