BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Thirteen days into Black History Month, Mississippi Power will honor the legacy of four civil rights icons at the 2016 Heritage Awards at the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino.
Joseph Hudson of Gulfport; Jesse Palmer of Meridian; Constance Slaughter-Harvey of Forest; and George Watson of Pass Christian are the recipients of the 2016 award.
The event, in its third year, recognizes individuals who have shown commitment and leadership to making the state of Mississippi a better place to live.
"At Mississippi Power, diversity is very important to us. We are so proud to honor individuals who have shown unwavering dedication to enhancing the diversity within our great state," said Anthony Wilson, president and CEO. "The Heritage Awards has become one of our marquee events and it gives us the opportunity to celebrate and recognize these individuals for their selfless and brave efforts to influence and champion civil rights."
Approximately 500 people are expected to attend the event, which is sponsored by Chevron, Ingalls, Coca-Cola, and the Beau Rivage. Bruce Chinn, Chevron's general manager, is slated to be the guest speaker.
Continue reading below to learn more about the 2016 Heritage Award winners:
Joseph P. Hudson
Born in Biloxi, Hudson went to work for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in 1973. He
provided legal counsel for local civil rights leaders and served on numerous church and public interest
boards and committees including the Mississippi Law Income Child Care Initiative; Magnolia Bar
Association/Foundation; the Catholic Foundation, Catholic Diocese of Biloxi; and NAACP, Gulfport of
which he is a life member.
Jesse E. Palmer, Sr.
Palmer is a native and resident of Meridian, where he dedicated his life to educating youth through his
teaching and coaching career. He also served the city of Meridian on the Transportation Commission and
the City Council, serving as councilman for 24 years. In 2008, Palmer was elected to the Mississippi Hall
From Forest, Slaughter-Harvey is the first African-American woman to receive a law degree from the
University of Mississippi Law School. An encounter with civil rights leader Medgar Evers and his brutal
death inspired her efforts to bring civil rights change to Mississippi. Throughout her career spanning
decades of achievement in private practice and public service, she amassed an extensive and
impressive list of accomplishments. Since 2005, Slaughter-Harvey has served as Scott County Youth
Court Prosecutor. As founder and president of Slaughter Memorial Foundation, she supervises an
after-school program where she spends her free time teaching and mentoring at-risk children.
George T. Watson
A native of Pass Christian, Watson served in the U.S. Marines during World War II. After discharge he
earned his degree, became a teacher, and went on to serve as assistant superintendent for the Pass
Christian School District. Watson played a key role in the integration of the Pass Christian School
District. He has long been involved in his community including serving as Commissioner for the
Mississippi Public Service Commission and a member of the Park Commission.