• 75°
franklin county times

The two Meridians come together

By By Buddy Bynum / editor
August 1, 2004
It was an emotional Tuesday night for Anthony "A.J." Brown, a member of the Boys and Girls Club since age 4 who will enter his senior year at Meridian High School this week. The occasion was the annual awards night banquet of the Boys and Girls Clubs of East Mississippi, and Brown was the star of the show.
For 300 or so area young people, the Boys and Girls Club on 45th Avenue is a daily refuge from the sting of life. Ricky Hood, the club's executive director, his staff and a host of volunteers make every day a building block toward a better life.
In his comments, Brown recounted that his mother had pushed him into the Boys and Girls Club at an early age. He hadn't been too interested at the time in the kind of structured, disciplined, supervised activities available there.
Then, she really laid the pressure on by telling his three sisters they couldn't go to the club unless their brother went, too. So, the sisters were motivated to help keep A.J. on the straight and narrow.
Avoiding trap
As he grew older, Brown said he could easily have fallen into the trap of selling drugs or participating in other illegal activities going on in his Western Gardens neighborhood. But, thanks to his mother and father and sisters and the Boys and Girls Club of East Mississippi, he chose the path toward a brighter life, the path lit by the promise of hope and greater expectations.
On this Tuesday night in July, Brown's family and friends watched as he was named Youth of the Year by the Boys and Girls Club of East Mississippi at the organization's annual Celebration of Excellence dinner.
Here's how staff writer Steve Gillespie, who covered the event for The Meridian Star, wrote the story of Brown's achievement:
Best speech
Gov. Haley Barbour even paid tribute to Brown when he rose to speak as the evening's keynoter. He recognized that the best speech of the night had already been given by Brown.
Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards likes to talk about the "two Americas." Sitting in the audience Tuesday night at the Frank Cochran Center, I was reminded of the perception that there are two Meridians one predominately white and relatively affluent, one predominately black and not affluent. I was also reminded that stereotypes are misleading.
On this night, if there are two Meridians, they came together in a public way; the truth is there's more togetherness on a daily basis than meets the eye. Look closely enough in the right places and you may discover we're all members of the same race the human race.
Buddy Bynum is editor of The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3213, or e-mail
bbynum@themeridianstar.com.

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Thomas Randall Miller

Franklin County

Community Spirit Bank announces promotion

Franklin County

Police search underway for man wanted in three states

Franklin County

Local students earn collegiate honors

East Franklin

PHOTOS: East Franklin Junior High awards honors

News

Traveling band makes stop at Phil Campbell High School

News

Russellville Parks and Rec holds adult sandlot softball game

Galleries

PHOTOS: Community celebrates Fourth of July with annual Jam on Sloss Lake

News

Second Canadian Phil greeted by town

Franklin County

Franklin County Schools lead nurse school nurse named administrator of the year

News

Former Russellville resident performs in ‘Miracle Worker’

Galleries

PHOTOS: Russellville, Red Bay public libraries enjoy summer reading program events

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight: Robbie Richardson

News

University of Mississippi announces spring Chancellor’s Honor Roll

News

PHOTOS: Community turns out for Phil Campbell Festival

Franklin County

University of Alabama announces spring graduates

Franklin County

Dean’s, president’s lists students named for UA spring term

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Hugh Plott

Galleries

PHOTOS: Inaugural downtown Russellville Art Crawl winners

Galleries

PHOTOS: Russellville Public Library holds princess, pirates bounce party

Franklin County

Northwest Shoals Community College signs 24 students in FAME class

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Tony Chard

News

Car show benefit helps raise needed funds

News

Russellville High School varsity cheerleaders attend UCA cheer camp

x