Thursday, November 15, 2012, the J & W Smokehouse hosts the grand opening of this new business in Mound Bayou, Mississippi. We got a preview today, when they hosted lunch for the partners in the Taborian Urgent Care Center project, which will restore the historic Taborian Hospital to medical use. The restaurant is located at 401 Dr. T R M Howard Highway (formerly Edwards Street) in the building that housed Mayor Johnson's father's furniture store and laundromat.
Regular readers know of my admiration for Mayor and Mrs. Johnson, and this community. Just type "Mound Bayou" in the search box for the blog, and you will see what I am talking about. This past week, my friend and colleague, DJM, and I were in Washington, DC doing a workshop about our work with Mound Bayou, and sharing the history and accomplishments of this remarkable community. It is a story that needs to be told again and again, for it is the story of a community that established itself, and then invented itself over and over again as circumstances changed, and will continue to rise to whatever challenges it faces.
I have had the joy and privilege of working with this community in the past 1 and 1/2 years, and with Ms. Margo Christian-Brooks, the Taborian Urgent Care Center project director--who loooooovvvvves her some catfish. She inspires me with every meeting. She helps me focus. She is relentlessly positive, yet speaks truth. Today, as we stood in a circle--lopsided though it may have been, and reflecting our lopsided lives--she prayed over our lunch and this community and its First Family and the future of this community that represents so much of what is good and right and needed in the world, and I was reminded yet again of our many missteps in the efforts to, in the words of Booker T. Washington in 1912, "work out our destinies, side by side." But, in the words of Suzassippi in 2012, "thank you Mound Bayou, for being part of my destiny, and allowing me to be part of yours."