Library unveils educational, fun Black History Month exhibit

There’s a new exhibit in the children’s section of the Biloxi Public Library on Howard Avenue that local history authority Jane Shambra recommends  for both children and adults. It highlights several of our notable people from our African-American community, in celebration of Black History Month.

The exhibition of nine locals is on display during library hours, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to  4 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The library is at 580 Howard Ave., adjacent to the Biloxi Civic Center.

“Children’s Librarian Kelly Derouen has taken a lot of time to research prominent black people in Biloxi and has actually drawn caricatures of them and displayed them in the children’s section,” said Shambra, who directs the library’s Local History and Genealogy Division. “A few of the people we know, some we don’t. Councilman Felix Gines dropped by yesterday. He’s included and I think he really liked what he saw.”

Among the other notables are Biloxi civil rights leader Dr. Gilbert R. Mason Sr.; civic leader Bishop James L. Black; well-known barber Tyrone Burton; Michael L. Esters, Biloxi’s first Ward 2 councilmember; educator Doris Busch; activist Sharon Hanshaw; the Most Rev. Joseph L. Howze, the first bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi; and civic leaders Betty Pollard and Jean Smallman. The library is also seeking suggestions for more notables to add to the collection.

Said Shambra: “It’s a fun little exhibit. It’s designed to show African-Americans who were important to the story of Biloxi. We’ve also put it on Facebook, which we hope will encourage people to come and learn more about it. And if they see some of these people who are still around, talk to them about the way things were and the way they are today.”
See Felix O. Gines’s photos from the exhibit
See the Biloxi Public Library on Facebook


Education is theme of Black History Month program

The City of Biloxi Parks & Recreation Department, along with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and East Biloxi Community Collaborative, will host the annual Black History Month Program on Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 6 p.m.

The free affair, taking place at the Dr. Frank Gruich Sr. Community Center at 591 Howard Ave., is themed “Black Education Past, Present & Future.” Bishop James Black of Faith Tabernacle of Praise, Carolyn Ramsey of Our Mother of Sorrows, Dr. Vera Robinson, principal of Gorenflo Elementary School and Dr. Janice Johnson, assistant superintendent of Biloxi Public Schools will each speak on the history as well as discuss the current status and future of education for children of color. 

Other activities include poster presentations by the NAACP Youth Group, educational booths, including such universities as Alcon State, Mississippi Valley, and Jackson State and dinner provided by the City of Biloxi.

The Black History Month Program is held annually in February and includes diverse festivities through the celebration of the history and contributions of African Americans to the American life.
See the program flyer
See other Parks and Recreation hosted events


Major paving underway in east, west Biloxi

A half-million dollars worth of paving began this morning in the infrastructure zone in east Biloxi while at the same time city and county crews are laying enough new concrete in the Bent Oak subdivision to cover five football fields.

Oscar Renda Contracting Project Manager John Cowart, in a new two-minute progress video update taped this week, says the paving work will continue for another two to three weeks while crews continue to move forward on other infrastructure work.

Meantime, in west Biloxi, in the Bent Oaks subdivision, which is at the north end of Jim Money Road, city and county crews are removing about 500 yards of aging and damaged concrete and pouring new concrete in its place. The work is expected to continue for another two to three weeks. 
See the Oscar Renda video of progress
See a gallery of photos from Bent Oaks


News and notes

City Council: The Biloxi City Council voted unanimously to move forward on a number of key issues Tuesday: to ask the state Legislature for approval on Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich’s initiative to lure a couple of high-tech businesses to Biloxi and for a Legislative green light on an aspect of the ultra high-speed internet proposal. Also getting affirmative votes was a measure to hire architect Walter “Buzzy” Bolton to move forward on design of a pier for Ship Island Excursions on Point Cadet. To see photos from the council’s 4 p.m. meeting, click here.  To see photos from the 6 p.m. gathering, click here.

Parade deadline:  Friday is the deadline for Biloxi Children’s Mardi Gras Walking Parade applications.  Applications should be submitted to the Biloxi Visitors Center on Beach Boulevard.  The parade, open to children ages 12 and younger, takes place on Saturday, Feb. 18.  To see the application and parade route, click here.