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Welcome to Pearl River County Library System’s Picayune Item Blog! Here, library staff highlights memorable articles and provides commentary for various Picayune Item articles throughout the years. Just use the navigation menu to the left of the webpage to cycle through blog posts by month and year.

January 2022 – June 2022

June 20, 2022

During my research of Picayune Item historical records, there are quite a few famous/renowned people from Picayune, MS.

To name a few; Cailey Presley Fleming, an American actress, T. J. House, professional baseball player, Jonathan Bender, professional basketball player, Rhyne Hughes, professional baseball player, Michael Holloway Perronne, writer, Matt Riser, College Baseball Coach, and Freddie Little, World Light Middleweight Champion.

The Picayune Item dated Dec 25, 1988, had a great story about Freddie Little, World Light Middleweight Champion, Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame Inductee in 1995, and a Member of the Nevada State Boxing Commission.

He was born April 25, 1936, in Picayune, MS. He began his professional career in 1957. Little captured the vacant World Light Middleweight title in 1969. By the time he had his first fights outside of the region—and the U.S–in Sydney, and Australia, Little had only been defeated once in over 20 matches. He had a strong record and had a lengthy career, at the end of it, going out on a high note.

He had a great record:

Wins: 51
Total fights: 58
Wins by KO: 31
Losses: 6

He retired from boxing in 1972. After hanging up his boxing gloves, he worked at Anthony Saville Middle School in Las Vegas, Nevada as a P.E. teacher, then retired.  One of Picayune Legends!!!

Lanett Hawthorne
Microfilm/Digital Document Coordinator

May 24, 2022

Picayune Item, Thursday July 21, 1988, Vol 84, Number 37

Stennis Dedication–New Name, New Sign-New directional signs to Stennis Space Center were placed along surrounding highways leading to the site. The center, formerly the National Space Technology Laboratories (NSTL) was renamed after Mississippi’s retiring U.S.  Senator John C. Stennis. The official dedication ceremonies would take place on Wednesday August 3, 1988.

Picayune Item, Thursday August 4, 1988, Vol 84, Number 47

Sen. Stennis honored at dedication of center–Approximately 5,000 people attended Sen. John C. Stennis 87th birthday party and dedication ceremony on August 3, as the National Space Technology Laboratories was officially renamed the John C. Stennis Space Center.

In attendance were several state, county and local government officials and NASA officials. Some of the dignitaries in attendance were Gov. Ray Mabus, Sen Thad Cochran, Stennis Space Center Director Jerry Hlass.   NASA administrator James C. Fletcher and Rear Adm. Richard Truly, a former astronaut and NASA’s chief of astronauts. U.S. Rep. Trent Lott, State Sen. Margaret “Wootsie” Tate, State Sen. Gene Taylor, and Pearl River County Chancery Clerk D.R. Davis.

Sharing a few highlights, the ceremony began with presentation of colors and nation anthem, sung by 1987’s Miss Mississippi, Toni Seawright. After an introduction by Stennis Space Center Deputy Director Roy Estess, the Rev. Beverly Tinnin, retired pastor of First Baptist Church in Meridian gave the invocation.

Stennis said that was pleased with the work that had come from Stennis Space Center. He expressed his belief that the space center would carry on far in the future.

In closing, Stennis referred to a quote he made when explaining to the residents of Log town why they had to move.  He told them “There is always the thorn before the rose. You have got to make some sacrifice, but you will be taking part in greatness.”

“We are ready for the thorns. We know that they are there. We know they will take advantage of us if they can.”

I’m proud to stay that I was there on that bright sunny and most prestigious day to witness this great historical celebration.

Lanett Hawthorne
Microfilm/Digital Document Coordinator

April 14, 2022

The following article is from the Picayune Item dated April 17, 1988.

The National Library Week statewide legislative reception and workshops were held in Jackson, MS. A few attendees from Pearl River County were PRC Head Librarian Josephine Megehee, state Rep. Ezell Lee, D-Dist. 108 of Picayune, State Sen. Margaret “Woosie” Tate, D-Dist. 47 of Picayune, and many librarians and legislators from across the state.

To share a little history, with the cooperation of American Library Association (ALA) and with help from the Advertising Council, the first National Library Week was observed in 1958 with the theme “Wake Up and Read!” The 2018 celebration marked the 60th anniversary of the first event.

Ironically, 2020’s theme for National Library Week was “Find Your Place at the Library” but due to Covid -19 global pandemic, libraries were closed amid a nationwide lockdown. However, many libraries were virtually opened to provide services and digital content.  Through it all, we made it.

April 3-9, 2022 was National Library Week, a time to highlight the essential role libraries, librarians, and library workers play in transforming lives and strengthening communities.

The theme for this year’s National Library Week was “Connect with Your Library,” which promoted the idea that libraries are places to get connected to technology by using broadband, computers, and other resources. Libraries also offer opportunities to connect with media, programs, ideas and classes, in addition to books. Most importantly, libraries connect community members to each other.

Lanett Hawthorne
Microfilm/Digital Document Coordinator

March 15, 2022

We take honor in celebrating Women’s History Month that has been observed annually in March in the United States since 1987. This month was legally declared an international celebration honoring the contributions of women to history, culture, and society. The month-long commemoration started with Women’s History Day (March 8) in 1978. While digitizing the January – March 1987 Picayune Item issue, I realized we had quite a few remarkable women Columnists in Picayune and the surrounding areas who left a great legacy that we stand on today.

A few of these ladies as listed in their columns are: Mrs. Herbert King, Mrs. Ralph Westbrook, Gussie Buckalew, Alice Manning, and Mary Hough.

These women wrote a little about everything. They kept the public aware of what was going on in their neighborhoods. They wrote about festivals, church functions, and social gatherings. They even included garden tips and recipes.

I also had the pleasure of sitting down with Mrs. Juanita L. Gex to discuss some of these ladies and their well written columns. She is our President of the Pearl River County Historical Society. She has been in this position for 12 years. She shared some of her accomplishments: A member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) since 1974, a past National President of the Colonial Dames 17th Century, served as secretary at the official beginning of the Picayune Senior Center that opened 1994, and presently teaches water exercise classes for 22 years at the Cornerstone in Picayune.

Great job to all!!!

Lanett Hawthorne
Microfilm/Digital Document Coordinator

February 14, 2022

Picayune Item Special Edition published the Pearl River County Today Report, February 28, 1988.

On January 7, 1988, the Picayune Item Staff published the announcement that they were geared up for the area’s annual progress report “Pearl River County Today”.  The paper stated that this special edition report would be published on Sunday, February 28, 1988. The colorful special edition was to be distributed to over 12,000 homes in Pearl River and North Hancock Counties.

The Pearl River County Today was a yearly roundup reporting on education, government, industry/agriculture, clubs, organizations, churches, and the people in our community who made it happen. There were questionnaires mailed out and photo days scheduled to collaborate this huge effort. They wanted this edition to be as complete as possible, but there was a lot of work to be done in a timely manner.

Kudos to the Picayune Item Staff! The special edition and distribution turned out wonderful with much great success.  They made this edition special so everyone could tell their story as complete as possible. This was a great example of how dedication, hard work and teamwork came together and paid off.  Another Great Success Story in Picayune!!!

Lanett Hawthorne
Microfilm/Digital Document Coordinator

January 13, 2022

The following article is from the Picayune Item dated Wednesday, April 8, 1987 Crosby Library held activities, poll for National Library Week.

The Margret Read Crosby Memorial Library kicked off National Library Week on April 5, 1987 with the Pearl River County Arts League sponsoring its Annual Spring Membership Show. Other activities ran through April 11, 1987. The readers’ poll was conducted, and all library patrons were invited to participate.  Records of folk using the Library were broken across the board, that had been set across 5(five) years span.

This article is a reminder of how much our library has tremendously grown and advanced, continuing to meet the needs of the public. To name a few particulars, the library today has many programs. The Outreach program includes (1) Book Mobile and (2) books for shut ins. We also have eBooks and help for the blind by ordering talking books.  For additional information concerning these programs and others, call 601-798-5081.

The National Library Week for this year will be held the week of April 3-9, 2022.

Lanett Hawthorne
Microfilm/Digital Document Coordinator


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