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Emmett Till Civil Rights historical marker vandalized in Mississippi, again

A historical marker for Emmett Till[1] has been vandalized, less than a year after receiving bullet holes in October. The marker, which contained information on and pictures of Till, was erected in honor of the black teenager who was kidnapped and lynched in 1955. The Associated Press reports that according to Allan Hammons, whose public relations firm constructed the marker, someone scratched it with a blunt tool in May and now the vinyl panels have been peeled off the back.

“Who knows what motivates people to do this?” Hammons told AP. “Vandals have been around since the beginning of time.”

The metal marker was unveiled in 2011 as a part of the Mississippi Freedom Trail, a series of state-funded markers at significant civil rights site to highlight the state’s African-American history. The murder of Till further inspired the Civil Rights Movement after Till’s mother, Mamie Till Mobley, held an open-casket funeral for her son in Chicago. She wanted to show how her 14-year-old son had been abused while visiting the Mississippi Delta.

The marker stands within yards of the infamous Bryant’s Grocery & Meat Market, where white shopkeeper Carolyn Bryant alleged that Till whistled at her. The teenager was later kidnapped, beaten and killed for allegedly offending Bryant. The 21-year-old’s husband, Roy Bryant, and brother-in-law, J.W. Milan, were acquitted by a white jury in the case of Tull. NBC News[2] reports the two later confessed to the killing in a paid interview with Look magazine. IN 2008, Carolyn Bryant, now Carolyn Donham, revealed to Duke University scholar Timothy B. Tyson that she falsely testified against Till. According to Hammons, the Freedom Trail marker cost more than $8,000 and repairs will cost at least $500.


  1. ^ Emmett Till (
  2. ^ NBC News (

Wicker urges Congress to increase number of Navy ships

Wicker Urges Congress To Increase Number Of Navy Ships

Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., are pushing for the Navy to have 355 ships.(Photo: Deborah Barfield Berry, USA TODAY)

WASHINGTON With increasing threats around the world, including China and Russia, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., said the U.S. should increase the number of ships in the Navy by nearly 80 to a fleet of 355.

We have a serious threat situation that we haven t faced in the previous decades, Wicker, chairman of the Senate Armed Services’ Seapower subcommittee, told reporters Thursday. We re not doing this to be fanciful. We re doing this to meet an expanding threat a situation we didn t see a few years ago. Wicker and Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., introduced a bipartisan measure earlier this month they called a statement of purpose. The Securing the Homeland by Increasing our Power on the Seas or SHIPS would state the policy of the United States on the minimum number of available battle force ships, the bill reads.

We think this is an extraordinarily important message to send, to communicate, to the citizens across the nation, but also to the industry who we will need to make sure that we get to the 355 ships, said Wittman, chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces. Lawmakers don t have total cost estimates yet and funding would have to be approved by Congress. Gulf Coast Republican Sens. Thad Cochran of Mississippi and Luther Strange of Alabama are co-sponsors.

Wicker, who has held several hearings on the issue, including one last Wednesday on Navy shipbuilding programs, said the Navy’s 276 ships is not enough. He said defense officials have said the need is urgent that they take it seriously, that they mean it when they say 355 ships as a minimum requirement.


Mabus touts efforts to build Navy fleet

Mabus: Money for Navy ships crucial for readiness

Cochran seeks millions for Mississippi-built cutter

It s not the first time Mississippi lawmakers have pushed efforts to boost the number of ships in the Navy or Coast Guard. Ray Mabus, a former Democratic governor of Mississippi, has touted his efforts to increase ship building when he was secretary of the Navy.

We re the Navy. We need ships,” Mabus, who served as secretary from 2009 to 2017, said last fall. “We need enough ships to do every job that we re given.”

Mabus also told the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense chaired by Cochran in 2015 that the Navy’s ships are key to military readiness. That same year Cochran, chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, pushed to add $640 million to a spending bill for a ninth Coast Guard National Security Cutter to be built in Mississippi, even though the agency said it didn t need another ship. Cochran said he pushed to include the money in the fiscal 2016 Homeland Security appropriations bill because it s important to our national security.”

Taxpayers for Common Sense and other watchdog groups have complained about lawmakers pushing for costly and sometimes unnecessary projects that benefit their home states.

This is essentially a $640 million earmark for Huntington Ingalls to build another cutter, Steve Ellis, the group’s vice president, said then.

Mississippi is home to several shipbuilding-related businesses, including Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, the largest private employer in the state. Wicker acknowledged Mississippi could benefit from increasing the number of Navy ships.

No question about it. We do get a twofer,” he said. Let me stress, we re taking about protecting the nation and allowing commerce to go unfettered around the globe But yes, the added benefit is thousands of thousands of new manufacturing jobs. Wicker said parts for the ships come from across the country.

We re happy to help the manufacturing base also, but this is about national security, he said.

Wicker Urges Congress To Increase Number Of Navy Ships

Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., (right), chats with Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., after Thursday’s press conference. (Photo: Deborah Barfield Berry, USA TODAY)

Wittman said part of the effort is to project power and influence around the world.”

It s not just about being able to engage in conflict,” he said. It s about being able to make sure that we re effective diplomatically and that we can respond on a humanitarian basis when necessary around the world. We can not do that without a Navy fleet of at least 355 ships. And we can t get there overnight. Wittman cited estimates that it could take 20 to 25 years.

We want to make sure we re doing everything we can to try to get there sooner,” he said. We do not have the luxury of time. Wicker said he s confident the measure will garner support, particularly since members on the Seapower subcommittee support the bill.

There s no question we ve seen the need, and yes it s bipartisan, he said. But when you get the entire Democrat and Republican membership of the Seapower subcommittee on board in a day you ve got yourself a proposal that has bipartisan support.

Follow Deborah Barfield Berry on Twitter: @dberrygannett.

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Tropical Storm Cindy makes landfall in Louisiana

Gulf Coast states were in for a third day of rough weather as Tropical Storm Cindy sloshed ashore early Thursday in southwestern Louisiana. Already blamed for one death in Alabama, Cindy was expected to keep churning seas and spin off bands of severe weather from eastern Texas to northwestern Florida. The storm’s maximum sustained winds had decreased to near 40 mph Thursday morning with additional weakening expected, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

A boy on an Alabama beach was struck and killed Wednesday by a log washed ashore by the storm. Baldwin County Sheriff’s Capt. Stephen Arthur said witnesses reported the 10-year-old boy from Missouri was standing outside a condominium in Fort Morgan when the log, carried in by a large wave, struck him. Arthur said the youth was vacationing with his family from the St. Louis area and that relatives and emergency workers tried to revive him. He wasn’t immediately identified. It was the first known fatality from Cindy. Otherwise, the storm was blamed for widespread coastal highway flooding, rough seas and scattered reports of power outages and building damage caused by high winds. There were numerous reports of waterspouts and short-lived tornadoes spawned by the storm. National Weather Service forecasters estimated the storm had dumped anywhere from 2 to 10 inches (50 to 250 millimeters) of rain on various spots along the Gulf Coast from southern Louisiana to the Florida panhandle as of Wednesday. And more rain was on the way.

Alek Krautmann of the National Weather Service in Slidell, Louisiana, said Thursday’s pattern would likely be much like Wednesday’s: Bands of intermittent, sometimes heavy rain spinning onto the coast. In Gulfport, Mississippi, Kathleen Bertucci said heavy rainfall Wednesday sent about 10 inches of water into her business, Top Shop, which sells and installs granite countertops.

“It’s pretty disgusting, but I don’t have flood insurance because they took me out of the flood zone,” said Bertucci, whose store is near a bayou. “We’re just trying to clean everything up and hope it doesn’t happen again.”

In nearby Biloxi, a waterspout moved ashore Wednesday morning. Harrison County Emergency Management Director Rupert Lacy said there were no injuries but fences, trees and power lines were damaged. Storms also downed trees in the Florida Panhandle. Fort Walton Beach spokeswoman Jo Soria said fallen trees hit houses and cars in what she called “pockets of wind damage” in two or three residential neighborhoods.

The White House said President Donald Trump was briefed on the storm Wednesday by Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency, like his Alabama counterpart a day earlier. He was among authorities stressing that the storm’s danger wasn’t limited to the coast. In Knoxville, Tennessee, the power-generating Tennessee Valley Authority, said it was drawing down water levels on nine lakes it controls along the Tennessee River and its tributaries in Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky, anticipating heavy runoff from Cindy’s rains once the storm moves inland. The TVA manages 49 dams to regulate water, provide power and help control downstream flooding.

In Alabama, streets were flooded and beaches were closed on the barrier island of Dauphin Island. Some roads were covered with water in the seafood village of Bayou La Batre, but Becca Caldemeyer still managed to get to her bait shop open at the city dock. If only there were more customers, she said.

“It’s pretty quiet,” Caldemeyer said by phone from Rough Water Bait and Tackle. “Nobody can cast a shrimp out in this kind of wind.”

Rough seas also led to the rescue of a shrimp trawler in danger of sinking off the coast of Texas. The U.S. Coast Guard said crew of the trawler Footprint was about 80 miles (130 kilometers) southeast of Galveston when the crew radioed that the vessel was taking on water faster than onboard pumps could clear it. A helicopter crew lowered and extra pump that enabled the shrimp boat crew to clear enough water to stay afloat. A Coast Guard cutter escorted the vessel to Freeport, Texas.

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