Six Individuals Selected to be Honored as Legacies for Most Influential African American Event

Our Mississippi Magazine publisher Wesley Wells has announced that five individuals have been selected to honored as legacies for the Mississippi’s Most Influential African Americans Awards Gala and Reception. The event is scheduled to be held on Friday, August 23, 2019, at the Hilton on County Line Road in Jackson.

This is the second year for the event, which recognizes and honors the most significant African Americans in the state.

“Last year was so great,” Wells said. “It was an honor recognizing individuals that have done so many great things for this great state. We are just as excited about this year’s group of honorees. They have been true pioneers and continue to be great leaders for our communities.”

The 2019 honorees include:

Alyce Clark – Longtime member of the Mississippi House of Representatives and was the first black woman in the state legislature.

Dr. Don Cole – Former assistant Provost and assistant to the Chancellor for Multicultural Affairs at the University of Mississippi.

W.C. Gorden – Legendary Jackson State head football coach that remains the winningest football coach in school history.

John James – Starkville native is the Chairman, CEO, and founder of the James Group International. James is the first African American nationally to be granted authority by the Interstate Commerce Commission to operate in interstate and foreign commerce.

Flonzie Brown Wright – Civil rights activist, author, and educator from Canton and the first African American female to be elected to a public office in the state of Mississippi in a biracial town.

Dr. John Perkins – Civil rights activist, author, philosopher and community developer. He is the founder and President Emeritus of the John & Vera Mae Perkins Foundation with his wife Dr. Vera Mae Perkins.

“These individuals have meant so much to the state of Mississippi,” Wells added. “Each of them, in their own way, have created so many opportunities for others. We can’t wait to tell their whole stories and we look forward to giving them the honor and recognition they deeply deserve.”

The legacy group will be honored along with 25 other individuals that will be chosen by a panel from nominations received from the public. Nominations are open until May 31 Wells said.

“We encourage anyone to nominate a person they think is worthy of being recognized as one of the most influential African Americans in their area,” Wells added. “They can be a business leader, community activist, volunteer, clergy, politician, educator and so on. We’re looking for movers and shakers to be honored at the awards gala later this year.”

Nominations can be made online at


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