USA Today: Ole Miss takes concussion research head on

OXFORD, Miss. — In the fall, Vaught-Hemingway Stadium will be the only facility in the world equipped with the capability to detect the mechanism of a concussion in athletes in real time.

It’s a huge concept, and it goes far beyond bragging rights, and even a little beyond the exponentially increased safety of the athletes on the field. This technology, and the network of researchers, professors, and others behind it could ultimately change the world for victims of concussions, traumatic brain injuries and one day possibly autism and learning disorders.

The technology as it applies on the field begins in an “X patch” engineered by X2 Biosystems, a company that does similar hardware and software for all 32 NFL teams, as well as hockey, soccer, and the Department of Defense. The patch is put either behind an athlete’s ear or in his mouthpiece and it registers impact to the head.

Assistant Engineering Professor Matthew Morrison says the underlying technology in the patches allow medical professionals to tell the angle of the impact, as well as the rotational forces. Eight wireless spots around the field can instantly access the data so that the team’s athletic staff can better assess what a player is dealing with internally after a hit. Read the entire story.

Historic Mississippi Town Comes to Life in UM Documentary

Film will be part of judging in this weekend's Tupelo Film Festival

"Take the Mountain" by Deborah Freeland will be screened on April 18 in Tupelo.

“Take the Mountain” by Deborah Freeland will be screened on April 18 in Tupelo.

OXFORD, Miss.­­­ – The documentary short “Take the Mountain” by Deborah Freeland, videographer for the University of Mississippi Division of Outreach, was screened earlier this spring as part of the university’s Black History Month events.

Now the film will be included alongside 64 other independent films chosen for the 12th annual Tupelo Film Festival, taking place this weekend in Tupelo. Freeland’s 12-minute production will be screened at 6:20 p.m. Saturday (April 18) on Screen 4 at the Malco Tupelo Commons Cinema.

“This film is the backstory leading up to the founding of the Taborian Hospital in Mound Bayou,” Freeland explained. “A lot of historians know about the hospital and how it figures into the civil rights movement, but what were its origins? I found this part extremely fascinating once I began to research.”

Freeland became interested in the small, historic town of Mound Bayou in 2011 when several UM departments were working together on service-learning projects in the area. Freeland teamed up with UM doctoral candidate Katrina Sims, who was writing and researching for her dissertation on the Taborian Hospital.

The hospital, founded in 1942, was one of the first modern medical facilities in Mississippi that was built, owned and operated by African-Americans.

“After learning more, my thoughts were that you couldn’t talk about the Taborian Hospital without talking about Mound Bayou, and you couldn’t talk about Mound Bayou without talking about Davis Bend,” Freeland said.

That interest led Freeland to create the film with the help of research adapted from Sims’ dissertation.

“The Bend,” as it was often called, was 20 miles south of Vicksburg and was developed by Joseph E. Davis, brother of Jefferson Davis, in the mid-1820s. The area included thousands of acres of rich farmland, located in a bend of the Mississippi River, but what made it noteworthy were Davis’ utopian ideas of a model slave community.

Freeland spent months scouring archives for information that would convey the inspiration behind the founding of this unique community and the special relationship between Davis and his most trusted slave, Ben Montgomery.

“Reading Isaiah Montgomery’s memoir about his father, Ben, in the New York World piqued my interest in the intertwining lives of the Davis and Montgomery families and the community at Davis Bend,” Freeland said. “Where did this idea of a cooperative community start? The culture at Davis Bend and its residents, who later start Mound Bayou, were so unique. Everyone took care of each other, shared the land and the corn crib was never locked.”

The intellectually gifted Benjamin T. Montgomery was a prominent leader in the slave community at the Bend. He managed all of Davis’ fields and cotton sales, and ran a store on the plantation.

Shortly after the Civil War, Montgomery purchased 4,000 acres from Davis and began to farm with the help of other freedmen from the area. Eventually the cotton business went under with the pressures of failing economic and agricultural conditions. The Montgomerys could no longer make payments on their land at the Bend. Years later, Ben’s son, Isaiah, took what he had learned at the Bend and established the new town of Mound Bayou.

“After these economic hardships, I think it was that legacy of cooperation and independence that allowed the former residents of Davis Bend and their descendants to re-establish their community as Mound Bayou,” Freeland said.

“Benjamin Montgomery was an extraordinary man and so was Joseph Davis, and I feel like they recognized that in each other.”

The documentary is stocked with original photos of the Davis and Montgomery families, the land and many of the residents of Davis Bend. Freeland found many of the photographs through extensive research in the Library of Congress and the city of Vicksburg archives.

“This compelling story comes to life through some truly amazing images,” Freeland said. “Each of the images chosen is original to the time period, and while some photographs are well-known, some may have never been published before. These decades-old photographs, often blurry and discolored with time, are both beautiful and haunting.”

The photos provide a rare look into the life of the “other” Davis brother and one of the most important sites for trade on the Mississippi River, said David Sansing, a retired UM history professor.

“This documentary gives us an insight into the community of Joseph Davis, who was probably the most influential person in the life of Jefferson Davis, the most famous Mississippian,” Sansing said. “There is not much known about Joseph Davis, and this film brings more light to his legacy and the founding by his former slaves of the cooperative community at Davis Bend. The Bend was a major trade site for Mississippi while shipping cotton up and down the river, and it was run meticulously.”

WTVA: Former UM Artist-in-Residence Passes Away

HICKORY, NC (WTVA) — Actor and founding member of the Mississippi Film Commission James Best has died.

The actor, remembered by many as Roscoe P. Coltraine in the Dukes of Hazzard, died Monday night after a brief illness.

Click here to read the full story from WTVA.

Clarion-Ledger: We all lost a great one in Flowers

JACKSON, Miss. – Years ago, Charlie Flowers was showing me a photo of the 1959 Ole Miss football team. He was pointing to each player, face by face, row by row.

There were 43 players in the photo. Forty-two, Charlie said, graduated.

“Bank president, CEO of his company, successful lawyer,” Charlie said.

“Athletic director, mayor, Chancellor,” he continued.

“Head football coach, Major League baseball player, insurance executive, another mayor,” he kept going and going.

Finally, he finished. “There will never be another team like it,” Flowers said.

All too many people love to talk about themselves. Charlie Flowers loved to talk about his team.

Read the full story by Rick Cleveland here.

MBJ: UM Young Alum of the Year To Open Oxford Restaurant

Chef Kelly English plans this spring to bring his restaurant The Second Line to Oxford, Mississippi — the home of his alma mater — according to a news report. See the story in the Memphis Business Journal. Or read the UM release on English and other other distinguished alumni honored this year.

WAPT: UMMC Staff Trained to Treat Ebola

JACKSON, Miss. —The University of Mississippi Medical Center is training its staff to treat and avoid catching Ebola.

Doctors and nurses are working to recognize the symptoms of the virus to keep it from spreading further.

“You know, you never want to jinx yourself, but we are about as prepared as we can be,” said Jonathan Wilson, UMMC’s chief administrative officer.

Eighty percent of UMMC’s doctors and nurses are receiving enhanced training on Ebola response. The latest Tuesday was training on hazmat suit use — how to put them on and take them off without risking the spread of the potentially deadly virus.

Since last week, the hospital has received a handful of what it deemed potential Ebola threat cases: Patients with flu-like symptoms who were ruled out after they failed to meet other criteria.

Read more: http://www.wapt.com/health/ummc-staff-trained-to-treat-ebola-patients-should-need-arise/29261286#ixzz3GtgDBXM8

DM: Exhibition of Works from W. Gordon Bailey Collection Draws Attention

OXFORD, Miss. – A man walks across a mountainous plain. On his shoulder, stuffed into the cloth bag tied to the end of a wooden stick are his only possessions. Joe Light presented the painting in vibrant colors brushed across the broadside of a door. The doorknob is missing. Where is the man going? Perhaps to another time where there is no inequality.

Hawkins Bolden’s abstract, scarecrow-like figure looms, its metallic features creating empty sockets of what could be eyes or, perhaps, were used in another life when the repurposed metal was something less beautiful. Torn rags hang from the assemblage’s frame, something soft against the harsh reality of the mount.

The mummy-like figure the late Archie Byron shaped using glue and sawdust from the floors of woodworkers that he later molded and painted to form a three-dimensional self-portrait is as fragile as the life it represents. The man lies in his bed, arms drawn out above the blankets as he stares wearily out at the world.

These evocative pieces and many more stunning works of Southern, self-taught artistry are now featured in the University Museum’s exhibition “Our Faith Affirmed –Works from the Gordon W. Bailey Collection,” which will be exhibited through Aug. 8, 2015.

Read more about the remarkable exhibition in the Daily Mississippian story here.

HRC Blog: HRC President Chad Griffin and Dustin Lance Black Travel to Mississippi

On Tuesday October 14, Chad Griffin, HRC’s President and Dustin Lance Black, Academy Award-Winning screenwriter of the groundbreaking 2008 film Milk, are continuing their tour through Project One America States as they participated in a forum at the University of Mississippi about the critical importance of LGBT people and their straight allies sharing their courageous stories and coming out.  On Monday, Griffin and Black were at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Arkansas. Both events coincided with the recent celebration of National Coming Out Day (NCOD) on October 11, now in its 26 year.

Through exclusive videos and a week-long blog series leading up to NCOD, HRC has been sharing the diverse experiences of people from all walks of life who’ve come out, and highlighting stories via Facebook, Twitter, and for the first time, Snapchat. HRC also released a compilation video of celebrities and public figures who made the decision to live openly earlier this year, including Former Miss Kentucky Djuan Trent  and actress Ellen Page, who came out at HRC Foundation’s inaugural Time to THRIVE Conference.

When people know someone who is LGBT, they are far more likely to support equality under the law. HRC encourages LGBT people and straight allies to share their stories and has resources available that can be helpful to start those conversations. Learn more about the history of National Coming Out Day as well as helpful coming out guides by visiting HRC’s website.

Read the entire story. 

Clarion-Ledger: Mississippi Soldier Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

JACKSON, Miss. – When Army Reserve Sgt. Randy Sandifer of Pinola deployed to Iraq as a sophomore at Ole Miss, he didn’t realize he was on a journey that would take him not only overseas, but eventually would tie his name to one of the most prestigious honors in the world.

Sandifer, now 30 and a ballistics expert at the Army Crime Lab in Atlanta, is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for research he did while stationed at Abu Ghraib prison — research that ultimately would lead to the closure of the controversial facility.

Read the full story here.

ARTFIXdaily: Our Faith Affirmed –Works from the Gordon W. Bailey Collection at University of Mississippi Museum of Art

The University of Mississippi Museum of Art presents Our Faith AffirmedWorks from the Gordon W. Bailey Collection, which celebrates a major gift by noted, Los Angeles-based collector Gordon W. Bailey of inspired artworks created by African American self-taught artists from the South.  This important exhibition features works by 27 artists, born between 1900 and 1959.  Many of the artists are widely known and several, most notably, Thornton Dial Sr, Roy Ferdinand, Bessie Harvey, Lonnie Holley, Robert Howell, Joe Light, Charlie Lucas, Jimmy Lee Sudduth, and Purvis Young are considered self-taught masters.

Curated by Bailey and David Houston, the powerful exhibition underscores the significance of Southern vernacular artists whose influence extends far beyond the realm of aesthetics. The artworks exude an authority of experience and directness of expression that bears witness to the considerable weight of Southern history, the saga of American politics, and, most clearly, to their faith and clarity of vision.

Read the entire story.