Mississippians selected as Southern Living's Southerners of the Year 2017

Southern Living picked several Mississippians for its 2017 Southerners of the Year list, an annual selection of people actively making a difference in the South.
The list includes former pro basketball player Jaborri Thomas, Southern Foodways Alliance Director John T. Edge, Quapaw Canoe Company founder John Ruskey, and the founders of Water Valley’s Base Camp Coding Academy: Sean Anthony, Kagan Coughlin, and Glen Evans.
Jaborri Thomas (Jackson, MS)
Thomas’ wanted a way to give back to his hometown of Jackson, so he decided to launch a non-profit called J.T. & Friends— a free week-long camp teaching basketball fundamentals and providing educational resources to disadvantaged children in Jackson. It started as a weekend-long mini-camp before being extended to a full week with the city’s support.
John Ruskey (Clarksdale, MS)
Ruskey, who gained national exposure when featured on Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” in 2014, is described by Southern Living as a “modern-day Mark Twain.” He founded Quapaw Canoe Company after moving to the Delta, which “shows visitors, school groups, city slickers, Girl Scouts, and nature enthusiasts alike the river’s backwaters, bayous, oxbows, and floodplains between the levees, along with the fragile ecosystems that rely on it.”
John T. Edge (Oxford, MS)
Edge is the expert on Southern food, which is just as significant to this region as it is everywhere else.”The more important Southern food has become to the national food conversation, the more important it has become to have someone like John T. Edge as a spokesperson,” writes Southern Living editor Hannah Hayes.
Sean Anthony, Kagan Coughlin and Glen Evans (Water Valley, MS)
Anthony, Coughlin and Evans founded Base Camp Coding Academy in Water Valley to give high school graduates with no coding experience an opportunity to learn skills that put them on the same level as college graduates. Every student in Base Camp’s inaugural class secured a job after graduation.
Read the entire list: Southerners of the Year 2017

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