July 28 – August 3, 2005 | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

July 28 – August 3, 2005

<b>Overcoming Perceptions</b>

The Hinds County Board of Supervisors recently made a noteworthy investment in The Legacy of Timbuktu Exhibition Project. This international one-of-a-kind exhibition is expected to attract over 200,000 visitors to the Jackson Metro area, generating over $10 million in economic benefit for Jackson, Hinds County and the State of Mississippi.

The Hinds County Board of Supervisors recently made a noteworthy investment in The Legacy of Timbuktu Exhibition Project. This international one-of-a-kind exhibition is expected to attract over 200,000 visitors to the Jackson Metro area, generating over $10 million in economic benefit for Jackson, Hinds County and the State of Mississippi.

The feature attraction of "The Legacy of Timbuktu: Wonders of the Written Word" exhibition will be a display of rare ancient African manuscripts that demonstrate the prominence of literacy and learning that characterized Timbuktu, Mali, West Africa, for more than 700 years. There are an estimated 1 million manuscripts that have been re-discovered in Mali in recent years. The manuscripts reveal that a highly sophisticated, literate culture flourished in the city of Timbuktu, clearly refuting stereotypical depictions of Africa as a primitive society with a strictly oral history tradition.

This is the first time the manuscripts have left the continent, aside from a one-time limited exclusive showing at the Library of Congress in 2003. This represents the very first time these manuscripts will be on display to the American public. This Timbuktu Exhibit sends an important message to the nation that Mississippi is a progressive state and seeks to overcome the perceptions of its past. It presents a Mississippi that cares about all its citizens and one that values literacy and education, and promotes cultural and tourism venues of significance. It places Mississippi among those leading states that advocate interfaith, racial and cultural dialogue and promote tolerance and understanding between people for the betterment of humanity.

This project has also gained other vital support and sponsorship. To mention a few, Tougaloo College is an official sponsor, and Jackson State University is finalizing an agreement to be an official sponsor. The Jackson Convention and Visitor's Bureau has adopted the exhibit as the major attraction for 2006. Congressman Bennie Thompson, among others, has endorsed the project and offered his support. Also, several community leaders have supported the exhibit by providing valuable financial and human resources.

The Hinds County Board of Supervisors should be commended for supporting this wonderful event, which will help the public in Mississippi and the surrounding states learn and appreciate African contributions to the world community. The Board of Supervisors did the right thing by funding this economic development, tourism and educational project that will have significant impact on the lives of the citizens of the county and the state.

Okolo Rashid, Co-founder & Executive Director
Emad Al-Turk, Co-founder & Chairman
Owen Brooks
Susan Glisson
Ameila Hunter
Dr. Rubina Inamdar
Dr. Houssain Kettani
Earm Martin
Attorney Bob Owens
Abdul Rasheed
Sababu Rashid
William Sabree
Dr. Steve Smith
Alice Tisdale
Jimmie Travis

— Timbuktu Exhibition Steering Committee

Rage Here At Home
The "home grow" London subway bombers show how alienated, angry young men are the agents of terrorism. We need not fear the American Muslim community, but there is another American community I worry about—the immense "nation" of despairing, angry youth in our prisons. So many are there simply because of exclusion from "mainstream" American opportunities. They are prey to extremists of all kinds, and the true horror of fanaticism is how it can give purpose to those in despair. Their rage must be as great as that felt by many of the people brought to Europe as "guest workers" from Turkey and other eastern states, now trapped, jobless, in slums on the outskirts of Paris and London. I believe that reintegrating our prison population into society, giving them hope and dignity, is now part of national defense. Congressman Bennie Thompson is truly fighting terrorism in his effort to have voting rights restored to ex-prisoners, and as patriots, we should commend him.
—John Davis, Jackson

Ready, Set, Action
Nice article about Thomas Moore ("Road to Meadville," July 21-27, 2005) and nice to see new technologies allowing such quick mobilization to action.
— Kevin Lu, Via the Internet

Editor's Note: Under this article, still online at jacksonfreepress.com, readers started a campaign to purchase new tombstones for Charles Moore and Henry Dee. You can still donate online and join a list serv to help call for justice in this case.

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