Year in Review: Change sets tone of 2012
Starting with the election of Willie Crawford as Circuit Clerk in 1976, the majority black voting age population gradually chipped away at the historically white slate of county officials. James Dunn and then John Pickett were elected to the Board of Supervisors in the 1980s, then Pickett became Tunica County’s first black sheriff in modern history. In the past 20 years, black constables, justice court judges and coroners replaced their previously white counterparts.
But in the November 2011 general election, the transition was complete. Every county official sworn in at the start of the new year in 2012 was African American, except county prosecutor Chuck Graves. District 3’s Phillis Williams and Louise Linzy made personal history as the first African American females elected as supervisor and justice court judge respectively.
That change was only the first of many last year, however, as the newly constituted board moved quickly to distance themselves from policies and procedures of the past. At their first meeting, supervisors altered meeting times, personnel, salaries and travel procedures, hiring Joe Eddie Hawkins as Road Dept. manager and electing James Dunn, the member with the longest tenure, as Board president. Although the first of the month meeting time remained at 9 a.m. on Mondays in the boardroom, the other two regularly scheduled Board meetings began to convene at 5 p.m. upstairs in the courtroom.