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Monday, August 21, 2006

New Book on Mississippi is a Classic:
Proud to Call Mississippi Home helps state tell its positive story

Great homegrown books are a staple of the Mississippi diet – a natural fact for a state with more than its share of legendary writers, entertainers and history-makers. And the latest page-turner is no exception.

Proud to Call Mississippi Home is a full-color coffee table book chronicling the lives and accomplishments of famous Mississippians, as well as 40 local personalities who are stars in their own right in communities around the state.

The book is one of a kind, according to first lady Marsha Barbour, honorary chair of the Mississippi PRIDE Committee, sponsor of the project.  Setting it apart is the committee’s goal to help change negative perceptions of Mississippi by focusing on the state’s most valuable resource – its people.

“Many books like this are about places or landmarks that are unfamiliar to those outside of the state,” Barbour said. “Mississippians featured in this book are known around the world, and their involvement will broaden its appeal and help tell our story.”

Proud to Call Mississippi Home highlights Mississippians who have achieved global acclaim in the arts, business and industry, sports, politics, and many other realms. Luminaries include William Faulkner, Elvis Presley, B.B. King, John Grisham, Morgan Freeman, Jim Henson, and Walter Payton.

The book also celebrates 40 grassroots “visionary heroes” who have made noteworthy contributions to the customs, heritage and traditions of their home state, including former Gov. William Winter, Gail Pittman and Hartley Peavey.

Publishing was funded mainly through corporate sponsorships. A portion of revenues from sales will be donated to the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion Foundation to assist with restoration of the second-oldest occupied governor’s mansion in the United States.

The Mississippi PRIDE Committee represents business and civic leaders from across the state and is chaired by Duane O’Neill, president of the MetroJackson Chamber of Commerce.

“The beauty of our state and our quality of life are a well-kept secret, and this book reflects the true essence of Mississippi and its people,” O’Neill said. “While it will be a wonderful read for us, it will also serve as a tremendous promotional tool to the outside world.”

Chambers of commerce and economic development groups around Mississippi plan to use the book for industrial recruitment efforts, and corporations are purchasing copies to share with employees and clients. Individuals are getting copies for their own collections and as gifts for family and friends.

Proud to Call Mississippi Home is a high-quality 9” x 12” hardbound of top quality paper, with case binding and a full-color wraparound dust jacket.
Copies cost $39.95 each and are available at most local bookstores. For more information or to find out the nearest location where you can purchase the book, call 601-948-7575, or visit www.imagepublishinginc.com.

PRESS RELEASE initially published by
Mississippi Press Association & Services

Pictured in this photo: Duane O'Neill, President of the MetroJackson Chamber and his wife Donna.  Behind the Governor is Tom Lester who was profiled in the book
(Tom played Eb on Green Acres, the classic TV sitcom). Also on the right is Dave Dennis, one of the Pride Committee members,
and his wife.

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