Mapping a Modern Mississippi < Places < Jackson-Part II

Jackson-Part II

This page is dedicated to the citizens of Jackson who are daring to differ. See more Modern Mississippians in Part I.

The Stories

Cedric Sturdevant

Using his story to advocate for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Cedric Sturdevant lives and works in Jackson, Miss., where he is a very busy man. His primary job is project coordinator at the HIV/AIDS organization My Brother's Keeper, where he works with young Black MSM living with HIV/AIDS, implementing programs to help them foster healthy relationships. But his passion and commitment extend to other local AIDS-advocacy organizations: He is both the president of the board of Mississippi in Action and a facilitator for its men's HIV/AIDS support group...

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See a video interview with Cedric Sturdevant here.
Jackson, Mississippi, where Cedric Sturdevant lives, is not a city where mobile HIV testing vans park outside gay clubs, condoms are distributed at barbershops and bars, or information on sexually transmitted infections, testing and prevention is plastered on walls...
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Photo Courtesy of

Credit to: Nakeitra Burse

My art teacher at Jackson Prep dares to be different because she does crazy things and doesn't care what people think about her.

Credit to: Anonymous

The roofs pushing trees through the concrete. The rivers flooding the valleys. The reflection of the sun on the leaves. The smiles through the rain. The life that lives through it all.

Credit to: Anonymous

My PhD supervisor moved to Mississippi to care for cardiac patients. Now, she has settled and is fighting to for UMMC to become the best hospital in the states.

Credit to: Signe H. Nirosem

I feel that my bestie is modern because she is free and bold and isn't afraid to be different.

Credit to: Tarianna

Caitlyn Spane: The Songstrist

I've performed at the amazing Duling Hall in Fondren. I am a positive/motivating neosoul artist. I have also collaborated with artists and producers all over the world!

Caitlyn Spane is a singer/rapper that broke out on the scene in a major way by performing an impromptu freestyle during one of the dopest concerts of the year. Amongst some of the best and brightest artists that Jackson has to offer she held her own and caught the crowd’s attention...

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Listen to her work here.

Photo Courtesy of Caitlyn Spane.

Credit to: Caitlyn Spane

Noelle "Gahdis" Ge'

Noelle, Mississippi's most known unknown female hip hop/R&B artist, is modern. She is modern yet unique because she followed her dreams.

Jackson-based singer and rapper Noelle "Gahdis" Gee, 22, stays current with her sound while addressing social issues in her music. "Mi Girlz," for example, is a shout-out to all women—from CEOs to stay-at-home moms.

When she's not repping females, Gee is looking out for No. 1 with boasts like "go against the goddess, make you an example," and "flow coleslaw and my swagga BBQ, I'm getting that bread so they want the beef stew."...

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Who is Gahdis Noelle and where are you from?

Noelle is the stage name for a girl name Jessica from Mississippi, who believes the best gifts come naturally, so she expresses her best gift (performance) through her ego, Gahdis (pronounced Goddess)...

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Listen to one of her songs here.

She was born a goddess with the name Jessica Maria McKnuckle, however, overtime she found her own which explains the making of Noelle Ge'. Raised in the 2014 Fortune magazine most corrupt state, Mississippi, Noelle lived in a small town in MS northeast area known as West Point. At the age of four her birth mother was arrested and sentenced to serious jail time causing her and her three older siblings to live with her Aunt Joyce and Uncle George in the hood of Frog Bottom. Her aunt and uncle was determined to not have the hood in their house, despite the state of their community. Because of this Noelle became involved in theatre arts at home, school and church...

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Photo Courtesy of Gahdis Noelle.

Credit to: Jessica

James Figgs

Civil Rights Leader

Read the transcript of an interview with James Figgs here.

In his youth, Figgs led activist groups in his hometown of Marks and in Quitman County, including the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and the Freedom Riders, who rode interstate buses to protest segregation. He helped register black voters for the 1964 election and he organized local efforts in the “Poor People’s Campaign” for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr...

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Photo Courtesy of the Clarion-Ledger.

Credit to: Jessica Orey

I think MS has breathtaking scenery. My husband is from Durant. I've always enjoyed the country scene... Amazing fields with cotton.

Credit to: Anonymous

Delores Orey

Civil Rights Leader
A concerned resident of Mississippi, this determined mother of eight became adament about the disparate treatment that she and other African American Mississippians received. During that time she joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People under the leadership of Dr. Aaron Henry, who later became very dedicated to the NAACP and served the organization in various capacities. She worked as Secretary in the NAACP State Office and the driver of Dr. Henry, taking him around the State to investigate discrimination complaints...

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A Civil Rights legend, one of the women who was instrumental in the fight for equal rights in Mississippi, will be buried Wednesday.

Delores Orey died January 8th in Slidell, Louisiana after a lengthy illness.
She worked alongside the major players of the movement but was a quiet force in her own right.

"...A great civil rights activist in the movement; she was one of the silent ones," said Delores Orey's granddaughter Jessica Orey of Jackson...

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Thirty years ago, Delores Orey bravely opened her home to the "freedom riders" traveling through the South to challenge segregationist policies. So when the NAACP recently called for a new group of freedom riders to head North and get out the vote, the 61-year-old Mississippi grandmother boarded the bus...

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Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the late remarkable public servant, Mrs. Delores Christina Brown Orey, who was born on September 24, 1932 in Martinsville, MS (the eldest of five children) to the late Mr. Alpheus and Mrs. Ella Brown...

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Photo Courtesy of NAACP.

Credit to: Jessica

Me, Brady Brown, full-figured natural hair, goes against typical standards of beauty. I am beautiful!

Credit to: Brady Brown

David Lewis

Fondren based architect passionate about growing and improving Mississippi. Curated the Modern Architecture in Mississippi exhibit at the Old Capitol Museum.

Dean at College of Architecture, Art, and Design

Credit to: Abigail Hartman

Fondren because of the wonderful diversity.

Credit to: Peggy Hampton

David Banner is a well-known rapper, record producer, and activist. In 2006, Banner was awarded a Visionary Award by the National Black Caucus of the State Legislature in recognition of his work during and after Hurricane Katrina.

“To be a visionary and to push forth, that means you have to be a trailblazer, you have to go before and let the followers follow. You don’t have nothing to blaze that trail before, but the thing is if you persevere, then you’re history.”

“Mississippi represents a space which is pregnant with opportunities… It really is a true space where we can represent self-determination, and anyone who speaks toward self-determination, anyone who speaks about owning their own and using what they own for themselves, is a daring story.”-Chockwe

“Mississippi traditionally is not adept to change a whole lot. They’re used to things being as they are, or as they were. They’re used to the status quo, but at the same time, Mississippi is the home to some very creative and innovative people who have thought outside of the box, whether it be musically, whether it be athletically, whether it be business-wise. We have some of the brightest people in the entire nation. It’s really easy to see why we’ve created the people that we’ve created.”-Brad

Carlyn Hicks understands two essential things about Mississippians: We love to eat, and we love to talk. Inspired by this, she founded Jackson Foodies, a group that gathers food lovers across the area to patronize local businesses and to grow community.

“I think that Jackson is a ripe, fertile ground for creatives. You know, this is a creative economy because there is so much that can be done here in our city, but you do have to be a little creative in how you can do things. The different communities within our city really speak for themselves in an artistic way, in a community way. And I’m hoping that the Jackson Foodies can be a part of strengthening those communities and those economies around them.”-Carlyn

“Every day at the Commission, we are just always talking about opportunities to go out and opportunities to see what’s happening in the field. Because we are funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, we have a connection with them… So we are constantly sharing all the good news that’s happening here in the state, and I have to say that we are really on par with some of the best arts organizations and arts agencies in the country.”-Turry

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