TUPELO – The Tupelo-based Mississippi Trailblazers organization announces today, that 16th District Circuit Court District Attorney Scott Colom of Columbus will receive the organization’s Mississippi Trailblazer of the Year on May 21st, for his historic election as North Mississippi’s first African-American district attorney.
In 2003, The Mississippi Trailblazers Awards Ceremony and Black Tie Gala was established to recognize Mississippians for their contributions to racial and cultural diversity through professional and public service. District Attorney Colom will receive the 2016 Mississippi Trailblazer of the Year Award – the organization’s highest annual award – during the 14th Annual Mississippi Trailblazers Awards Ceremony and Black Tie Gala at the BancorpSouth Conference Center in Tupelo. The May 21st event will also present the Bryan family of West Point with the “Sam Haskell Spirit of America” Award, naming it “A Great American Family.”
The Bryan Family of West Point descended from local meat market owner James Charles Bryan, whose sons included John Henry Bryan and W.B. Bryan, founders of Bryan Brothers Packing Company and PLI Livestock, and grandsons include John H. Bryan Jr., former CEO of Sara Lee, Director of Goldman Sachs, member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission, and his brother, George W. Bryan, former Sara Lee CEO and founder of Old Waverly Golf Club, which has been named one of Golf Digest’s Top 100 Golf Courses in the country.
Other 2016 Mississippi Trailblazers:
- Shawn Brevard, Tupelo Community Volunteer and Arts Supporter, will receive the “Tupelo Civic and Community Service” Award;
- Michael Booker, Shannon native, currently BancorpSouth Senior Vice President in Clinton, will receive the “Mississippi Leadership” Award;
- Debra McGee, BankPlus Executive Vice President and Director of Minority Business Development, will receive the first-ever “Charles Tisdale Groundbreaker” Award. The Tisdale Award is named for the late longtime Jackson newspaper publisher Charles Tisdale;
- Hattiesburg Mayor Johnnie Dupree will receive the “Rev. Robert Jamison Lifetime Achievement” Award, named for Tupelo’s retired educator, pastor and community leader;
- Geardie Carter, Taylor retired teacher, civic leader and business owner, who was Lafayette’s County School District’s first African-American teacher and the county’s first African-American poll worker. Mrs. Carter will receive the “Calvin ‘Buck’ Buchanan FIRST” Award. Buchanan was sworn in as Mississippi’s first African-American U.S. Attorney in 1997.
- Harry Owens, retired Oxford history professor, will receive the “Dr. Robert C. Khayat Distinguished Award for Diversity and Racial Reconciliation”. Dr. Owens developed the University of Mississippi’s first Black Studies courses.
Last November, District Attorney Colom defeated six-term incumbent District Attorney Forrest Allgood to win office, making Colom one of only two African-American District Attorney’s in the state.
“I am thrilled and humbled to join the prestigious company of past Mississippi Trailblazers of the Year such as (U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals) Judge James Graves,” Colom said. “I promise to work every day to honor the support and faith the voters of my district gave me and strive to live up to the honor of this selection.”
Also at the event, will be a special tribute to the late Dr. Howard Gunn, former North Mississippi civil rights leader, featuring the unveiling of a portrait of Dr. Gunn by his family members.
Past Mississippi Trailblazers include Mississippi Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Augustus Leon Collins, Author and Miss America Executive Producer Sam Haskell, Federal District Judge Sharion Aycock, Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians Chief Phyllis Anderson and religious leaders The Right Reverends Duncan M. Gray Jr. and Duncan M. Gray III.
The Mississippi Trailblazers event includes a champagne reception with live jazz music, and a banquet meal, as well as the awards ceremony. Ticket information is available by calling 662-401-4763 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org