|Program:||The Club, Kosciusko, MS|
|Contact(s):||Preston Hughes, Coordinator: (601) 289-3999|
|Purpose:|| To provide a forum for black and white individuals living in the community to get to know each other and get involved in community-building projects and activities |
The Club was founded in the fall of 1995 when members of both the black and white communities in Kosciusko felt a need to improve communication and cooperative involvement in community affairs by both blacks and whites. Through regular informal meetings, people could get to know each other and discuss relevant issues.
The Club began with 10 members: Five white and five black. All new members must join in pairs, one white and one black. Currently, the membership is at 38, and includes a bank president, the mayor, two county supervisors, a high school principal, the school janitor, businessmen, a doctor, a lawyer, retirees and others. The Club meets one night a month for fellowship, a meal, a program, and a question-and-answer period. The setting is kept informal by having no head table or podium, arranging seating in an open square, and having speakers remain seated. There are no officers or dues. Corporate contributions have paid the costs associated with the organization. This money has been used to pay the expenses of the speakers who have come from out of town and to provide for meeting reminder communications.
Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments
The Club has held an annual dinner each year where a special guest has been invited. The first two such guests were former Governor William Winter, and former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Reuben Anderson. (Gov. Winter is a member of the Advisory Board to President Clinton's Initiative on Race.) Friendships have developed among people who only recognized each other by name only, despite having lived in the same community all of their lives. Knowledge about other people's families, and the contributions they have made to the community has increased as well. For example, some white members of the Club did not know about the military service of several of the older black men in the community during World War II, but the Club has helped them to learn about one another's backgrounds. Needs in the community have been addressed by members of The Club, both individually and together with other members. Volunteer opportunities with organizations like the Boy Scouts and local tutoring programs have been met by The Club. Discussion of local issues during meetings, particularly school-related issues, has addressed the concerns of members. This has preempted some controversies and divisiveness due to misinformation or misunderstandings.
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