Highways to honor black leaders, military heroes

By Molly Davis/The Associated Press

JACKSON – Republican Gov. Haley Barbour has signed into law several new highway designations that will honor black leaders and military heroes on highways throughout Mississippi.

Alcorn State University released a statement last week in response to Barbour signing a bill honoring longtime educator Walter Washington. School officials credited Washington’s “commitment to excellence” for making Alcorn one of the premier historically black universities in the country.

“In life, there is always someone who takes time to care about the growth and success of others, and that describes the legacy of Dr. Walter Washington,” said M. Christopher Brown II, Alcorn’s current president.

Washington served as the longest-tenured president of Alcorn, the nation’s first historically black land-grant institution. School officials said he secured major funds to improve life on campus. The stretch of highway honoring his legacy begins on Mississippi Highway 552 at the Alcorn campus in Claiborne County, and extends to its intersection with U.S. Highway 61 in Jefferson County.

Barbour has signed a series of highway designations this month, including one in Coldwater for Martin Luther King Jr.

Others include a highway designation in honor of for Sgt. Todd Partridge, who served and died in Iraq, and one for Chaplain Clark Poling, who served at Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg during World War II. Poling posthumously received the Purple Heart.

Partridge’s stretch lies on U.S. Highway 84 in Adams County, and Poling’s lies adjacent to Camp Shelby.

Additional designations will honor recipients of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and Gold Star family members of fallen soldiers.

Barbour also signed designations honoring Jefferson “Carl” Monk Jr., a campus security official at Jones County Junior College, as well as two designations honoring local citizens at the request of Sen. J.P. Wilemon Jr., a Democrat from Belmont.

Wilemon’s Belmont honorees are Mickey Johnson, a police officer shot in the line of duty, and Roger D. Moore, a business leader.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation will erect the new markers on the highways.