Coast Gets Ready For Black Spring Break

Rev. Larry Holmes was right in the middle of Black Spring Break 2001. So a 2002 coast event isn't something he endorses.

"I'm hoping they go to New Orleans," he said. "But in my gut I believe some of them are going to come to the golden gulf coast. And we are happy to see them come."

In 2001, Rev. Holmes patrolled Highway 90 as part of the God Squad. The ministers alliance tried to keep harmony between spring breakers and police. When that party ended, the reverend felt visitors left last year's event with a bad taste in their mouths. That's why he thinks a return trip should be canceled.

"We don't want them to come into an atmosphere where it appears that they aren't wanted," he said.

A similar statement came from Boyd James. "I think that they should go somewhere where they're welcome," said James, pointing out that the coast wasn't that place.

James represents Gulfport's Keepers of the Pledge organization. His message to students is that "You shouldn't come and spend your money and be mistreated. And that's what happened last year. And that's what's going to happen again this year."

If there is a Black Spring Break this year, there won't be a God Squad. Rev. Holmes said last year's arrest of a God Squad member hurt relations between the ministers alliance and law enforcement. The reverend agreed with Boyd James that Black Spring Break should avoid the coast. But if it does come here, he said the community should be a good host. He also said ministers will do what they can to help out.

"If it comes, we're going to be out as volunteers," the reverend said, "just to try and assist in educating the children as to what they should and should not be doing in order to stay out of trouble here on the coast during the weekend."

According to a Mississippi State student, a lot of college kids aren't coming to Black Spring Break if it's on the coast this weekend. They felt they got mistreated here a year ago. The 19-year-old said he understood there has to be law and order. But he felt coast police tried to eliminate last year's fun.

Coast leaders responded to that by saying their traffic plan worked because it kept cars moving. So they'll use it again this weekend.