National News

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 20, 2009

This iconic image of Barack Obama was created by Los Angeles-based street artist Shepard Fairey. The image has become a pop cultural phenomenon and an important symbol in the political landscape.

CNN producer visits Como for pre-inauguration stories

By Rupert Howell

Wayne Drash, a senior producer, calls Como his home away from home. His stories including an interview  with James “Little Man” Presley of Sledge are included in’s “The 44th President, Transition to Power” inauguration coverage.

Drash and CNN photographer Robert Johnson spent some time in Panola County between the general election and the inauguration of the nation’s first African-American president which resulted in some emotional video, stories and interviews on CNN.

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Drash already had an emotional connection to the story as his ancestors have had farming and business interests in Como for several decades.

 He writes, “My time in Como was always a reprieve from my family’s life in the city. I’d spend summers there on my grandfather’s (W.S. Taylor Jr.) farm. I did the things a kid loves to do: Fish, ride horses and shoot guns. I also saw some of the hardest working Americans I’ve ever known.

“I knew then that it was time to head back to my home away from home to do what I’d long wanted to do: Cross the railroad tracks to meet with blacks on the other side of town. To ask them about their lives, their struggles and what it’s been like growing up black in Mississippi. And most of all, to ask them what this moment in our history means to them,” Drash writes.

Read his complete stories and watch interviews, “Grandson of slaves” and “Obama is our Moses” by going to and “Crossing the railroads amid a new time in history” at

Also Google “CNN Wayne Drash” for other stories that include Como.

Also “Granddaughter of slave: I was ‘afraid’ for Obama” at tells of changes of Como resident Mary Dowden’s, 80, perspective from growing up in the Jim Crow era through the Civil Rights movement and the election of an African-American president.

[Wayne Drash is the son of Ginny (Taylor) and Sam Drash of Chattanooga and the nephew of Sledge Taylor of Como.]