MSU welcomes retired U.S. lawman for MLK tribute day

Contact: Sammy McDavid

Nehemiah Flowers Jr.
Nehemiah Flowers Jr.

STARKVILLE, Miss.--A history-making member of federal law enforcement will be the featured speaker at Mississippi State for the community's 16th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Unity Breakfast.

Nehemiah Flowers Jr. of Jackson, who retired earlier this week as U.S. marshal for the Southern District of Mississippi, will help lead the university's Jan. 18 observance of the American civil rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner's birthday, which also is a federal and state holiday.

The Greater Starkville Development Partnership is jointly sponsoring the free public program in the Colvard Student Union's Bill Foster Ballroom. Serving of the meal gets under way at 7 a.m.

Through the GSDP's assistance, this year's event will include a 6:30-10:30 a.m. shuttle service between the Palmeiro Center parking lot and union building. The local development agency also is making possible a Web broadcast of the program.

A welcome by MSU President Mark Keenum and special presentations by Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman and Donald Shaffer Jr., MSU assistant professor of English and African-American Studies, are among scheduled activities. The student Black Voices Gospel Choir will perform special selections and the closing hymn.

A Jackson native, Flowers was a member of U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran's staff when the senior Republican leader recommended him to President George W. Bush for the lawman post. With his Senate confirmation in early 2002, the graduate of (now) Belhaven University became one of only two black-American marshals since Reconstruction.

Flowers retired Jan. 3. Just before Christmas, President Obama nominated George White, a longtime state Department of Public Safety administrator, to be Flowers' successor.

Prior to joining Cochran's staff, Flowers was named in 1969 to be public affairs director at Jackson television station WLBT. In that role, he became Mississippi's first black TV executive.

As marshal, he founded the Southern District's first Violent Fugitive Task Force, which has gained national attention for its apprehension of some "most-wanted" felons. (For additional biographical information, visit www.usmarshals.gov/district/ms-s/general/marshal.htm.)

For more information on the MLK Unity Breakfast, contact Mary L. Alexander, director of MSU's diversity and equity programs office, at 662-325-2493 or mal2@pres.msstate.edu.

For more information about Mississippi State University, see //www.msstate.edu/.