Hattiesburg Convention Commission

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HATTIESBURG- The Mississippi Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (MAMFT) will return to Hattiesburg for their annual conference on Thursday, February 10 through Saturday, February 12.

MAMFT is the professional society for Marriage and Family Therapists in Mississippi, and in 2011, it will celebrate 30 years of service. The conference will bring more than 150 professionals from across the state to the Hattiesburg area.

For the first time, the association will offer attendees the opportunity to receive 17.5 CEU credits, allowing participants to earn all hours required for license renewal.

The conference will offer workshops featuring speakers from across the country. Dr. William Doherty, from The University of Minnesota, will serve as keynote speaker and will address topics ranging from “Working with Stepfamilies” to “Couples Therapy.” Other presenters will include Dr. Scott Ketring of Auburn University, Dr. Penny Boone of Memphis City Schools, and Dr. Cynthia Undesser of Mississippi Children’s Home Services.

For more information, or to register for the conference, visit www.MAMFT.com.

The Lake Terrace Convention Center is a Hattiesburg Convention Commission Facility. Since 1991, the Hattiesburg Convention Commission has been developing, operating and promoting tourism-related facilities for the Hattiesburg area. For more information, visit www.HattiesburgConventionCommission.com.

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HATTIESBURG – This Friday, February 4th at Lake Terrace Convention Center, Hattiesburg will experience TNA Wrestling Live!, as seen on Spike TV.

TNA, which stands for Total Non-Stop Action, is the second largest wrestling company in the world and is a leader in the sports-entertainment genre.  It is known for bringing fans closer to the action through impromptu autographs, fan interaction and superstar accessibility.

The show in Hattiesburg is part of the 2011 TNA tour, which will also visit other cities across the U.S. and the globe including Westbury, New York; Paris, France; Berlin, Germany; Glasgow, Scotland; and London, England. The event will showcase the talents of Mr. Anderson, “King of the Mountain” Jeff Jarrett, “The Monster” Abyss, Samoa Joe and more.

Tickets start at $20 and can be purchased at the Lake Terrace Convention Center Box Office or online at www.LakeTerrace.com. Doors will open at 6:30p.m., and the show will begin at 7:30 p.m.

For more information, visit www.TNAwrestling.com or call 601.268.3220.

The Lake Terrace Convention Center is a Hattiesburg Convention Commission Facility. Since 1991, the Hattiesburg Convention Commission has been developing, operating and promoting tourism-related facilities for the Hattiesburg area. For more information, visitwww.HattiesburgConventionCommission.com.

Jesse LeRoy Brown, a Hattiesburg Native and Military Hero

Jesse LeRoy Brown led a life full of firsts, carving the way for African American men and women to reach new heights years after his life and heroic death. He proved that dreams can be captured, regardless of circumstances, rules, and even race.

As a young Mississippi boy, Jesse always dreamed of flying a plane. He was a smart young man, having made good grades in the segregated Eureka High School of Downtown Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He went on to study engineering at Ohio State University, as one of the first African American students accepted to the institution. Taking a chance on his dreams, Jesse applied and was accepted to the Navy Pre-Flight School in 1946.

As the most notable first of his life, Jesse earned his wings in 1948 as the first African American Naval Pilot and was assigned to serve on the aircraft carrier Leyte during fleet maneuvers in the Caribbean. He was commissioned an ensign by the Navy and joined Fighter Squadron 32 in January of 1949, which joined the Fast Carrier Task Force 77 to serve the United Nations Forces in Korea.

Overcoming obstacles and achieving success was not foreign to Jesse. Instead, he was driven by challenges and determined to make much of his life. As a pilot, Ensign Brown became a section leader who received the Air Medal for daring attacks against enemy lines of communication, transportation, facilities, military installations, and troop concentrations at Wonsan, Chonjin, Songjin, and Sinanju. While aboard the carrier USS. Leyte, Jesse flew a total of 19 combat missions. His commanding offer, Captain Thomas Sisson of Winona, Mississippi, called Brown, “one of the best pilots of the air group.” He was respected by his peers and admired by all who knew him.

Another first came during his 20th mission – Jesse’s plane was hit by enemy gunfire. While he survived the crash, Jesse was trapped in the cockpit, unable to release himself from the burning wreckage. On December 4, 1950, Jesse Brown became the first African American to lose his life in combat during the Korean War. Consequently, Jesse was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his exceptional courage, airmanship, and devotion to duty in the face of great danger.

As a testament to Jesse’s great impact on his fellow wing mates, Captain (then-Lieutenant junior grade) Thomas J. Hudner crashed his plane alongside Jesse’s in a brave effort to save his friend. Hudner received the Congressional Medal of Honor for extraordinary heroism.

In citation from the Secretary of the Navy, it is stated that “by his unfaltering determination, personal valor, and gallant devotion to duty in the face of hazardous flying conditions, Ensign Brown reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.” What an honor to have at the young, yet courageous age of 24.

In a tribute to Jesse on November 22, 1993 from the Honorary Gene Taylor, former Mississippi Congressman, it is said that the story of Jesse Brown should survive forever. “In 1948 [Jesse L. Brown] accomplished a goal that had never been accomplished by an African American before him. As an aviator and as an officer, he made tremendous strides in the U.S. Armed Forces and saved innumerable lives. We must never forget his unselfish acts of courage.”

After 43 years, Michael Gregory, a Marine who was fighting around the Chosin Reservoir when Jesse offered air support, stated that “Jesse L. Brown died for us, the survivors.”

In 1973, the U.S. Navy named a ship in his honor. The USS Jesse L. Brown served for more than twenty years and was decommissioned in 1994. Today, Jesse continues to be honored for his bravery and his legacy. The USS Jesse L. Brown’s 80-pound bell was sent to the Forrest County Board of Supervisors, and placed on display in the Federal Tax Building in Downtown Hattiesburg, where it currently remains.

Hattiesburg is a special place in the life of Jesse L. Brown. As his first city, it is one filled with honor and respect for this hometown hero. Jesse’s mother, Daisy P. Thorne, and daughter, Pamela Knight, still reside in Hattiesburg. Together, they continue his legacy in the place where it all began.

Throughout the months of January and February, Jesse L. Brown will be honored through an exhibition in his honor at the African American Military History Museum in Hattiesburg. A Pilot Lights the Way exhibition will tribute Jesse L. Brown and Blacks in Aviation through a collection of art, photographs, artifacts, literature, and oral accounts.
A Pilot Lights the Way has been exhibited in several locations throughout Florida, but will be making its debut in Mississippi. Jesse’s family is looking forward to seeing the exhibit in Hattiesburg and are excited about remembering his life together in their hometown. “I will always be proud of him,” said Knight. “As his family, we are honored because of all the sacrifices and contributions he has made, and the honor that he has brought to our family. Displays like the one in Hattiesburg always give my children and me a sense of accomplishment. We continually strive to make him just as proud as he’s made us.”

The African American Military History Museum is a facility of the Hattiesburg Convention Commission. It is located within the Historic USO Club at 305 E. Sixth Street in Downtown Hattiesburg. Open Tuesday through Saturday 10am-4pm, the Museum offers free admission for all guests.  For more information on A Pilot Lights the Way exhibit or the African American Military History Museum, visit www.HattiesburgUSO.com or call 601.450.1942.

Regional Dance Conference to be Held in Hattiesburg

Hattiesburg - Dance Teachers United, a non-profit dance organization for dance teachers and students in the South, will make its way to back to Hattiesburg’s Lake Terrace Convention Center next week for the tenth year to hold its annual conference.

More than 25 studios from Louisiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi will be represented at this regional conference.

Dance competitions will be held on Friday and Saturday, January 28 and 29. On Sunday, January 30, guest teachers from across the country will offer workshops for dance instructors in attendance of the conference.

“The workshops help us expand our knowledge in dance from different areas of the country,” said Beverly Smith, secretary-treasurer for Dance Teachers United.

Local dance studios will be represented as well. According to Jennifer Odom-Townsend, owner of On Your Toes Dance Studio of Petal, her studio will enter more than 70 students in the competitions.

“Dance Teachers United is such a rewarding, Christian dance program,” said Odom-Townsend. “Much of our success as a studio comes from our involvement with Dance Teachers United and the encouragement that they provide. It’s great to host this program right here in the Pine Belt.”

The Lake Terrace Convention Center is a Hattiesburg Convention Commission Facility. Since 1991, the Hattiesburg Convention Commission has been developing, operating and promoting tourism-related facilities for the Hattiesburg area. For more information, visitwww.HattiesburgConventionCommission.com.

Hattiesburg Zoo Begins New Projects | Closed on Mondays through Winter

HATTIESBURG- The Hattiesburg Zoo has begun work on several new projects, many of which are slated to be open for Spring of 2011.  In order to meet this deadline, the Zoo will be closed every Monday during the winter months (December through February), unless the Monday is a legal Holiday.  In addition, the Zoo will be closed to the public during the last week of January 2011 through the first week of February.

“In order to continue growing the excitement of a Zoo visit, we need time to work on the projects that are in public areas,” said Rick Taylor, Executive Director of the Hattiesburg Convention Commission, which manages the Zoo. “Monday closings in the winter will allow us access to the project sites on a day which historically has the lowest attendance, and the two weeks next year will let us meet our ambitious deadline.”

New projects include a Zoo quarantine facility, new tiger holding area, a splash pad activity area, and a new education facility. Other projects in progress include relocation of the Zoo’s carousel inside the Zoo and expansion of the Zoo Gift Shop.

“Completing these projects by Spring will create several new reasons to visit this unique attraction,” said Taylor. “We are committed to keeping the Hattiesburg Zoo as a “must-see” site for residents and visitors alike.”

The Hattiesburg Zoo is a Hattiesburg Convention Commission Facility, in partnership with the City of Hattiesburg and the Hattiesburg Tourism Commission.  Since 1991, the Hattiesburg Convention Commission has been developing and operating tourism-related facilities for the Hattiesburg area. For more information, visit www.ZooHattiesburg.com, or contact us at 601.268.3220.

Hattiesburg African American Military History Museum to Honor Gold Star Mothers Friday

African American Military History Museum

HATTIESBURG – The African American Military History Museum will recognize three Hattiesburg area Gold Star Mothers with a ceremony and dedication on Friday, September 24th at 11a.m. at the Museum’s Memorial Garden.

The Museum will pay special tribute to Annie Lamar, mother of Cpl. Melvin Lamar, who was lost in the Vietnam War.   DeEster Burkett, mother of Spc.4 Elijah Burkett, who also was lost in Vietnam, and Patricia Davis, mother of Sgt. Anthony Magee who died during service this past May, will also be honored.

Jean Alice McDavid, Gold Star Mother and representative from the Southern Region’s Gold Star Mothers Association, will be the keynote speaker, and the ceremony will culminate with a bench dedication in the Museum’s Memorial Garden for each Hattiesburg mother and her family.

The African American Military History Museum is a Hattiesburg Convention Commission Facility.  Since 1991, the Hattiesburg Convention Commission has been developing, operating and promoting tourism-related facilities for the Hattiesburg area.  For more information, visit www.HattiesburgUSO.com, or call 601.268.3220