Headlines – 7/2/2004

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 2, 2004

Panolian Headlines: July 2, 2004

For complete stories, pick up the 7/2/04  issue of The Panolian

Batesville Library Receives
     a Piece of Faulkner History
Batesville Public Library librarian Barbara Evans (c) are with Jim Seay and Kenneth Brasell (r) who went on a mission to find a piece of Panola County history involving William Faulkner.
Two Panola County natives recently traveled to New Albany on a literary quest. Their mission was related to William Faulkner’s hunting experiences at the old Stone hunting camp near Dummy Line Road, southwest of Batesville.

Kenneth Brasell of Batesville and Jim Seay of Chapel Hill, N.C. went to New Albany with the purpose of purchasing doors that the current owners of the land had removed from the hunting camp clubhouse.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

"We just wanted to retrieve an important piece of Panola County’s history," Seay said.

Beginning around 1915 and continuing through the mid-1930s, Faulkner was a regular member of the hunting parties that General James Stone held annually at his clubhouse in the Tallahatchie Bottom.

Stone was born in Panola County in 1854, and he established his first law practice in Batesville in 1880. He moved to Oxford in 1892, and it was there that Faulkner became friends with Phil Stone, the General’s son.

Stone had extensive land holdings in Panola County and continued to maintain his hunting camp here.

Faulkner would later draw on his experiences at the Stone hunting camp in writing "The Bear" and other sections of "Go Down, Moses", as well as parts of "Absalom, Absalom!" and "Big Woods".

With help from locals, Seay located the old hunting camp clubhouse in the late 1970s. He has published articles about it, and he once served as lecturer for a guided tour of the camp as part of the Yoknapatawpha Conference at Ole Miss. Seay also wrote the Yoknapatawpha entry for the Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. His sisters, Jackie Sergi and Donna Magee, are residents of Batesville.

COFO Workers Remember Past
Batesville Alderman Rufus Manley and Edna Miles (right) talk with former COFO worker Penny Patch about the summer of 1964 in Panola County. Patch brought copies of "The Panola County Freedom Reader," then published every two weeks by local students.
By John Howell Sr.
Special to the Panolian


BATESVILLE – They found much changed after 40 years.

On their way to a June 20 memorial service in Philadelphia honoring the three civil rights workers- Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman- slain near there in 1964, about a dozen former volunteers stopped in Panola County for a small, intimate reunion.

They had been volunteers with the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) who had worked in this county during the "Mississippi Freedom Summer" of 1964 and afterwards. They had helped many local black people take their first, halting steps towards the Panola County Courthouse in Batesville to register to vote.

Saturday at Macedonia Community Center west of Batesville, they were reunited with former hosts and friends from those tense times, including Lygunnah Bean, South Panola School District Board of Trustees President and County Road Manager. "I was six years old that summer," Bean said.

He had learned much about the setting of that summer by reading files of the now-defunct Mississippi Sovereignty Commission, he said, but "I remember the people had to guard their houses" from attacks by nightriders.

"We met at the public library. I say that for our young people, we met at the public library," Bean said of the reunion planning committee, repeating to emphasize that the meeting location would not have been an option in 1964.
Panola County NAACP chapter president Julius Harris named the black people elected to public office since the summer of 1964, starting with Robert Avant, elected supervisor in 1987, the first African-American to serve in that county capacity since Reconstruction. Harris’s recognition included other people elected as supervisors, trustees of the North and South Panola school districts, election commissioners, members of the Panola Democratic Executive Committee, city officials in Batesville, Sardis, Crenshaw, Como, state representatives, and those appointed as poll workers. Among them

Cheryl James, recently elected to a four-year term as chair of the County Democratic Executive Committee. She also said that she had learned much about the atmosphere of racism and tension of the 1960’s from reading the files of the now-defunct Sovereignty Commission.

Chris Williams was 18 and just out of high school when he was among a group of 10 volunteers let out at the bus stop in Batesville about 5 a.m. on a Sunday morning. They had spent two weeks on a college campus in Oxford, Ohio, undergoing training and orientation for what they might expect to find in Mississippi. There was no one to meet their chartered bus when they arrived at the Batesville bus stop.

As the bus pulled away, their group of seven whites and three blacks immediately began to attract attention, and cars begin circling, Williams recalled.


Maddie Sullivant (r) and a friend dance the night away at a recent Batesville Public Library reading program event.
North Delta Names New Headmaster
Coats Will Also Lead Lady Wave Basketball
By Jason C. Mattox
News Editor

BATESVILLE – North Delta School got a two-for-one deal with the hiring of Herman Coats as the new headmaster and head girls basketball coach.

Coats comes to North Delta with an extensive background in both the public and private school system. He spent six years as athletic director (AD) and eight years as a coach and teacher at Tishomingo County High School.

He also spent 21 years as a coach and AD at Coahoma County High School. At Coahoma, Coats compiled a 300-224 record as a boys basketball coach.

Coats began his career as head boys and girls basketball coach at Drew High School. He most recently served as AD and head girls basketball coach at Tunica Institute of Learning.

Coats said the biggest thing that intrigued him about the North Delta job was the people.

"I saw a group of people excited about accepting challenges and wanting to be very successful," he said. "I want to make this the best school in the area.

"We have a great faculty here already and a great staff on board, and, most importantly, we have a great student body ready to rise to the occasion," he said.

Coats said the projected enrollment for the upcoming school year is 370 students.

"Anytime there is a change, people seem to be apprehensive," he said. "That makes people work harder from both sides.

"That is two-fold, there will be apprehension from the students and the faculty," Coats said.

Boys & Girls Club Set
     for National Kids Day
By Myra Bean
Sports Editor

BATESVILLE – National Kids Day 2004 is in the planning stage.

The Boys and Girls Club of Batesville is gearing up for the a Street Festival to celebrate the day which will be celebrated across the country Saturday, July 31.

Events are planned for downtown Batesville at the Pavilion area that day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

National Kids Day will be celebrated in a carnival-like atmosphere with a water slide, jump-a-round, penny toss, cake walk, face painting, spelling bee and a math talk competition.

The Boys and Girls Club of America sponsors this day each year to give parents and children a chance to enjoy "meaningful time" with each other.

National Kids Day began in 2001 by the Boys and Girls Club of America to be celebrated the first Sunday in August.

Events for children start at noon. At noon there will be an around the world math by Families First. At 1 p.m. Families First will sponsor a spelling bee. At 2 p.m. Project Homestead will sponsor a cake walk.

Other events include Smokey the Bear sponsored by Mississippi Forestry; a laser show by the Mississippi Wildlife Fisheries and Parks; 4-H bicycle safety program by the Panola County 4-H; fire safety and fire truck by the Batesville Fire Department; and race cars by Melvin Holcomb.

Informative booths will be set up by Aaron E. Henry Clinic, Magnolia Counseling, Families First, Project Homestead and South Panola Schools.

Entertainment will be provided all day by various groups beginning with the South Panola Risque Business at 10 a.m., numerous youth choirs and the North Mississippi Juridical Orchestra. The performances will last from 15 to 45 minutes, depending on the group.

Mayor Bobby Baker is scheduled to sign a proclamation at 11:30 a.m.

There are more spots available for entertainment in the afternoon. To scheduled a performance, call the Boys and Girls Club at (662) 578-7309.

Registration for the 2004-05 year at Boys and Girls Club will be accepted.