Mississippi Edition


5/15/20 - Small Business Relief | Nursing Homes | Gibbs-Green Revisited | GSN Round-table: Hurricane Prep

Mississippi businesses react to the grant program passed by the legislature.

And, what nursing homes are doing to fight high transmission rates.

Then, we hear from a survivor of the 1970 Green-Gibbs murders at Jackson State.

Plus a Gulf States Newsroom round table on hurricane preparedness.

Segment 1:

A $300 million dollar relief package for Mississippi small businesses is one step away from becoming a reality. The two-part program passed through the legislature Wednesday night and is awaiting the signature of Governor Tate Reeves. After a week-long clash with lawmakers over the power to appropriate CARES Act funds, state leaders settled down to address the growing concern of small business owners. During his daily press briefing yesterday Reeves addressed the bill and the relief that comes with it.

A Mississippi business organization says the grant program just passed by the legislature is needed to help small businesses recover from the pandemic. Dawn Starns is with the National Federation of Independent Businesses. She says some small businesses don’t have large cash reserves and operate on thin profit margins. Starnes tells our Desare Frazier, as owners work to reopen, the funds available through the program will help meet expenses.

Segment 2:

Mississippi’s long term care facilities are home to nearly half of the state’s COVID-19 related deaths. MPB’s Kobee Vance reports on what nursing homes are doing to slow the spread of disease and keep family members informed during the crisis.

Segment 3:

In May of 1970, Gailya Porter was a sophomore majoring in Sociology at what was then called Jackson State College. The campus was home to mounting racial tension. At the time, Lynch Street was a main thoroughfare that went through the campus, and Porter says students were routinely harassed by white motorists passing through. Some students started fires on campus in protest, after a false rumor spread of the death of civil rights activist Charles Evers. The National Guard was placed on standby and Jackson Police closed off entrances to the campus. It was just before midnight when highway patrol officers and Jackson police marched up Lynch Street, and at some point opened fire near Alexander Hall - where Gailya Porter lived. When the gunshots ended, two African-American men were dead at least a dozen others injured - including Porter. She shares part of her experience with our Ashley Norwood.

Segment 4:

Hurricane season starts June first. That’s nothing new for those who live along the Gulf Coast. What is new this year is the fact hurricane season is happening during the coronavirus pandemic. We hear about how emergency officials are preparing from reporters in the region. MPB's Evelina Burnett and Tegan Wendland of W-W-N-O in New Orleans join the discussion. Andrew Yeager of W-B-H-M in Birmingham kicks things off.

More Episodes


7/2/2020 - Rising COVID Cases | 1894 Flag Retired | Book Club: Vicksburg | Fireworks Safety

State officials expresses concern over rising COVID cases, and asks residents to do their part.And, the 1894 flag is lowered from above the capital for the final time.Then, in today’s Book Club, how the siege at Vicksburg sealed the fate of the confederacy.Plus, fireworks safety for the Independence Day weekend.Segment 1:Mississippi has seen over 2,000 new cases of COVID-19 this week, corresponding with a trend of rising cases across the nation.In addition to cases, hospitalizations continue to rise.During a press briefing yesterday, Governor Tate Reeves shared his concerns over the viability of the the health care system.State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs has been warning of the impending risks to the system.He says the virus causes a strain on hospitals because severe cases can often need weeks of care.Yesterday's press conference was the first time Governor Reeves appeared publicly since the bill to remove the state flag was passed and signed.He likened the weeks leading up to the move a difficult family conversation, and spoke to those who feared a flag change might lead to the removal of monuments.Leaders of the legislature were on hand at the capitol for the final lowering of the 1894 flag that flies above the grounds.During a brief ceremony, flags were presented to Reuben Anderson, President of the Board at the Department of Archives and History.Anderson was also the first black judge to serve on the Mississippi Supreme Court. House Speaker Philip Gunn, called the moment historic.Segment 2:The battle at Gettysburg is often cited as the civil war’s most important battle but it was Vicksburg that ultimately sealed the fate of the confederacy.In his book, “Vicksburg,” author and historian, Donald L. Miller chronicles the warfare in all its phases, both land and water – the siege, the mine, the assault, the bombardment, sickness, captivity and, famine.Segment 3:The coronavirus pandemic has shutdown many Independence Day celebrations across the country.State Fire Marshall Mike Chaney thinks that could lead to more people celebrating with fireworks at home and in their communities.He joins us to discuss safety when dealing with fireworks this Fourth of July weekend.

7/1/20 - Gov. Reeves Signs Bill to Retire Flag | Lt. Gov Hosemann | Southern Remedy Health Minute | Derrick Johnson (Part 2)

The Mississippi flag is officially retired as Governor Tate Reeves signs the historic bill.Then, Lt, Governor Delbert Hosemann reflects on the role legislative leadership played in ushering in a moment of change.Plus, after a Southern Remedy Health Minute, COVID-19 and recent episodes of police violence have revealed systemic disparities for black communities. Part Two of our conversation with NAACP President Derick Johnson.Segment 1:Mississippi's state flag, adopted in 1894 and emblazoned with the confederate battle emblem, is officially retired.Governor Tate Reeves signed House Bill 1796 last night, which removes the current state flag and establishes a commission to design and present a new flag.Mississippi has faced increasing pressure in recent weeks to change its flag as national protests against racial injustice have focused attention on Confederate symbols. By a bipartisan vote on Sunday, lawmakers passed legislation to change the flag.Early in his address, Reeves emphasized the need for unity and a vision forward.He also spoke to those concerned that changing the flag would led to stronger scrutiny of confederate monuments and statues.During his nearly nine minute speech, Reeves never directly addressed the history of violence and racist oppression associated with Confederate battle flag - this despite impassioned speeches from both chambers over the weekend reflecting on the image's history of such.Reeves, who campaigned on the promise of giving voters the decision to change that flag, did, however, explain why he changed his mind regarding issue.Segment 2:In a three-week span, the issue of Mississippi's state flag went from non-starter to national spotlight.In the days following the largest protest to descend upon the capital city since the Civil Rights Movement, momentum for lawmakers to take action on the flag swelled so much that when he rapped the gavel to adjourn on Sunday, the emotion of the moment seeped from Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann.He shares more about that moment and the build-up to it with our Michael Guidry.Segment 3:Southern Remedy Health MinuteSegment 4:The COVID-19 pandemic is hitting communities of color disproportionately hard, amplifying cracks in a health care system that leaves many uninsured or under-insured.It has also brought economic hardship on small businesses and rural communities.In Part Two of his conversation with MPB's Desare Frazier, NAACP President and CEO Derick Johnson discusses some of the systemic issues challenging black communities.

6/30/20 i Lawmakers React to Flag Vote | Derrick Johnson (Part One) | MAC and the New Flag

Lawmakers react to Sunday’s historic vote as the bill awaits the governor’s signature.Then, the President and CEO of the NAACP weighs in on the flag and the role of other confederate iconography.Plus, the part the Mississippi Arts Commission will play in presenting voters with a new flag.Segment 1:Lawmakers returned to the capitol yesterday - one day removed from a vote that drew headlines across the country, and ended the 126 year tenure of a state flag featuring the confederate battle emblem.The bi-partisan, super-majority vote in both chambers signified the state's legislative bodies were ready to make changes to the flag that, over the course of the last month, drew internal and external condemnation.For House Minority Robert Leader Robert Johnson, a Democrat from Natchez, Sunday's vote was a long time in the making - the result of a steadfast resolve to end Mississippi's official association with the confederate flag. He tells our Ashley Norwood, it felt good to see the bill pass, but acknowledges there is still much more work to be done.Segment 2:Derrick Johnson is a native of Detroit, Michigan but came to Jackson, Mississippi for his undergraduate studies at the historically black Tougaloo College - a primary center of activity in the metro region during the Civil Rights Era.Now President and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Johnson is helping lead a re-energized call to address the systemic racism rooted in the country's complex past.In part one of his conversation with MPB's Desare Frazier, Johnson reflects on the state flag and role of confederate statues and icons in a nation grappling with racial reconciliation and equalitySegment 3:When Mississippi voters cast their ballots this November, they will have an up or down vote on a newly designed flag.The bill that removes the current state flag also establishes a nine-person commission tasked with presenting that design to the legislature.Three of those are appointments made by the Governor, but must include representation from three state organizations: The Mississippi Arts Commission, the Mississippi Economic Council, and the Department of Archives and History.In the first of a three part series, we talk with Malcolm White, the Executive Director of the Arts Commission, about the role his organization will play in presenting voters a new flag.