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The American Almanac – October 4, 2011

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The Book of the General Laws of the Inhabitants of the Jurisdiction of New-Plimouth, Collected Out of the Records of the General Court, and Lately Revised, which was published in 1685 in Boston by Samuel Green, Printer. The General Fundamentals were listed with the dates of “Anno. 1636 and Revised 1671” in successive editions of the Book of General Laws. By comparing the first few paragraphs of the Fundamentals with the 1636 Codification of Plymouth Colony Laws, one can see early enactments that contributed to this list of “inviolable” individual rights. In contrast, a sentence in paragraph 8 of the text below mentions that the Colony had been in existence for over sixty years. This sentence was revised with each new printing of the Fundamentals, and cannot be used as a measure of the year in which all provisions of the Fundamentals were first authored. The 1672 edition of the Book of the General Laws, for example, printed this particular sentence to state that by that time the Colony had “now had near about fifty Years Experience.” Below is text of the General Fundamentals, as they were released in 1671. 1. Wee the Associates of the Colony of New Plimouth, coming hither as free born Subjects of the Kingdome of England, Endowed with all and singular the Priviledges belonging to such: Being Assembled,Do Enact, Ordain and Constitute; that no Act Imposition, Law or Ordinance be Made or Imposed upon us at present or to come, bur such as shall be Enacted by consent of the body of Freemen or Associates, or their Representatives legally assembled; which is according to the free Liberties of the free born People of England. 2. And for the well Governing this Colony: It is also Resolved and Ordered, that there be a free Election annually, of Governour, Deputy Governour and Assistants, by the Vote of the Freemen of this Corporation. 3. It is also Enacted, that Justice and Right be equally and impartially Administered unto all, not sold, denied or causelesly deferred unto any. 4. It is alto Enacted, that no person in this Government shall suffer or be indamaged, in respect of Life, Limb, Liberty, Good Name or Estate, under colour of Law, or countenance of Authority, but by Virtue or Equity of some express Law of the General Court of this Colony, or the good and equitable Laws of our Nation, suitable for us, in matters which are of a civil nature (as by the Court here hath been accustomed) wherein we have no particular Law of our own. And that noire shall suffer as aforesaid, without being brought to answer by due course and process of Law. 5. And that all Cases, whither Capital, Criminal, or between man and man, be Tried by a Jury of twelve good and lawful men, according to the Commendable custome of England, except where some express Law doth reserve it to the judgment of some other Judg or Inferiour Court where Jury is not; in which Case also, any party agrieved, may Appeal and have Trial by a Jury. And it shall be in the liberty of any person, that is to be tried by a Jury to challenge any of the Jurors, and if the challenge be found just and reasonable by the Bench, it shall be allowed, and others without just exception shall be Impannelld in their room: And if it be in case of Life and Death, the Prisoner shall have liberty (according to the Law of England) to except against twenty of the Jury without giving any reason for the same. 6. That no Person shall be Cast, Condemned or Sentenced in any Case Capital, Civil or Criminal without the testimony of two sufficient Witnesses, or other sufficient Evidence, or Circumstances equivolent thereunto, unless in any particuler Case the Law hath otherwayes provided. An Exception. 7. And it is Enacted; Being the Priviledge of our Charter; That all Persons of the Age of twenty one Years, of right understanding and memory, whether Excomunicated, Condemned, or other, having any Estate properly theirs to dispose of, shall have Power and Liberty to make their reasonable Wills and Testaments, and other lawful Alienations of their Lands and Estates; be it only here excepted, That such as are sentenced for Treason against the King’s Majesty, or Realm of England, or other Capital crimes, shall forfeit to the King or Colony, for the carrying on the Charge of Government, their personal Estate: Their Lands and real Estate being still at their disposal. 8. That whereas the great and known end of the first Comers in the year of our Lord, 1620. leaving their dear Native Country, and all that was dear to them there; transporting of themselves over the vast Ocean, into this remote wast Wilderness, and therein willingly conflicting with Dangers Losses Hardships and Distresses, fore, and not a few Wars, that without offence, they under the protection of their Native Prince, together with the enlargement of his Majesties Dominion, might with the liberty of a good Conscience enjoy the pure Scriptural worship of God, without the mixture of humane inventions and impositions; and that their Children after them might walk in the Holy wayes of the Lord: And for which end they obtained leave from King James of happy Memory, and His Honourable Council: with farther Graunts from His Gracious Majesty, Charles the I. and His Honourable Council, by Letters, Patents for sundry Tracts of Land, with many Priviledges therein contained for their better Encouragement to proceed on in so Pious a Work, which may especially tend to the propagation of Religion, [etc.] as by Letters, Patents more at large appeareth; with further assurance also of the continuance of our Liberties and Priviledges, both Civil and Religious under the Royal hand and Seal of our Soveraign Lord King Charles the II. And whereas by the good hand of our God upon us, many others since the first comers, are for the same end come unto us, and sundry others rise up amongst us, desirous with all good Conscience, to walk in the Faith and Order of the Gospel, whereby there are many Churches gathered amongst us, walking according thereunto: And whereas (by the Grace of God) we have now had above sixty Years experience of the good consistancy of these Churches, with Loyalty to our Prince, civil Peace and Order, and also with spiritual Edification, together with the welfare and tranquility of the Government. It is therefore for the honour of God and the propagation of Religion, and the continued welfare of this Colony Ordered by this Court and the Authority thereof, That the said Churches already Gathered, or that shall be orderly Gathered, may and shall from time to time by this Government be Protected and Incouraged in their peaceable and orderly walking, and the faithful, able, orthodox Teaching Ministry thereof duely incouraged and provided for: together with such other orthodox, able Dispensers of the Gospel, which shall or may be placed in any Township in this Government, where there is or may be defect of Church Order. 9. And finally, It is Ordered and Declared by this Court and the Authority thereof, that all these aforegoing Orders and Constitutions are so Fundamentally Essential to the just Rights, Liberties, Common Good, and Special End of this Colony, as that they shall and ought to be inviolably preserved.]]]]> ]]>

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Mississippi Development Authority accepting applications for 2020 Aspire Mississippi program

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From the Mississippi Development Authority:

The Mississippi Development Authority’s Asset Development Division is accepting applications for the 2020 Aspire Mississippi program. The program is designed to help communities become better places to live, work and visit through economic, community and workforce development.

“Participants of MDA’s Aspire Mississippi program master the leadership = community development = economic development model, sharpening their leadership skills to effectively develop their communities, which attracts private capital investment creating new jobs in their communities,” MDA Executive Director Glenn McCullough Jr. said in a statement. “Past participants of Aspire Mississippi demonstrated their commitment to bettering their communities through a variety of proactive projects that will bolster their economic development efforts for years to come.”

Aspire Mississippi provides support to counties as they identify marketable assets, allowing participants to increase industrial and economic development in their counties. The program helps communities develop projects that achieve significant and sustainable community and economic development outcomes. Curriculum focus areas include data-driven decision making and project mapping, as well as community, economic and workforce development.

The location for each session will alternate among the Aspire Mississippi counties. In addition to support from MDA, participants receive guidance from partners at the state’s universities, private businesses, nonprofit organizations, and state and federal agencies.

Each Aspire Mississippi team is typically formed through the local economic development office and consists of approximately eight to 10 local stakeholders committed to enhancing their knowledge in key community and economic development areas. Teams from the following counties recently graduated from the 2019 Aspire Mississippi program: Covington, Lawrence, Leake, Panola, Sharkey and Walthall.

The 2020 Aspire Mississippi program begins in April and will conclude in late fall with each team’s project presentations and a graduation ceremony.

The deadline to apply for the 2020 program is Monday, Feb. 3. To apply, go to mississippi.org/aspire. For additional information, contact Ellen Bourdeaux with MDA’s Asset Development Division at 601-359-9333 or [email protected].

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Adopt-a-School training seeks to empower partnerships between churches and public schools

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Pastor Tony Evans, the Urban Alternative

Vicksburg will play host to a unique training designed to help churches partner with local schools to transform individuals, families and communities.

The training, a project of Pastor Tony Evan’s Urban Alternatives organization, is part of a nationwide Adopt-a-School Initiative, which provides attendees “the building blocks for starting or enhancing the delivery of social services to urban youth and their families,” the organization’s website states. “Participants will receive an overview of the process for adopting public schools and creating programs, including school-based mentoring, to meet the vast needs of public-school youth and their families.”

The training is hosted by the Warren County Youth Court and Unite Mississippi, the parent organization of numerous faith-based organizations that have “a desire to make communities whole in a grass-roots way,” said Larry Nicks, deputy director of Unite Mississippi.

Recognizing that churches and faith-based organizations are probably the most influential organizations inside many communities in Mississippi, the Adopt-a-School program seeks to develop partnerships between churches and public schools and offer mentoring to children and families.

“Our prison population is growing, and our school literacy problem is getting worse. If we can tap into the school population at the third-grade level, then we can make a difference in the quality of graduates and, of course, our workforce,” Nicks said.

Mentoring at-risk children at an early age, particularly at the third-grade level, is crucial, he said. If children can’t read by third grade “they’ll never catch up and be on level in college and in life.”

The goal is not to only mentor children but to make the family whole through mentoring, job skills and more. Churches with resources will be partnered with churches with few resources.

The problem of literacy must be addressed before it gets to the justice or penal system, said Judge Marcie Southerland with the Warren County Youth Court.

“We have got to reach these children and their families when the children are … in second and third grade, not when they’re 13, 14 and on up to 17 years of age,” she said, adding, “I know this will work.”

“The kids we’re trying to reach are the kids that, for whatever reason, haven’t had proper mentoring and proper upbringing at home,” said Chip Miskelly, chairman of Unite Mississippi. “These are kids who are falling through the cracks.”

“What we’re trying to do more than anything else, is give these kids a fighting chance,” he added.

“It’s a holistic approach to reach not only the kids, but the families as a whole.”

In this one-day training, attendees will learn how to analyze the needs of the community, engage with a local school, recruit and develop volunteers and how to raise the necessary funds to support the endeavor.

The training is Jan. 23, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the George Oaks Building at the Vicksburg-Warren County Hinds Community College Campus. Lunch will be served, sponsored by Mississippi Tobacco Free Coalition of Claiborne and Warren Counties.

Cost of the training is $75 per person, and everyone is welcome. The training is designed for pastors, church and community leaders, and for people who are stakeholders in public schools including parents and teachers, or those who may be interested in becoming stakeholders.

“This is a top-notch training” with a successful track-record of more than 30 years, said Michelle Johnson, a Unite Mississippi board member and Vicksburg coordinator for the training.

For more information or to register, see the Adopt-A-School website or call Bill Collins with Urban Alternatives at 1-800-800-3222, Pastors’ coordinator Pastor James Bowman at 601-529-2044 or Vicksburg coordinator Michelle Johnson at 601-715-0522.

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Vicksburg Chess Club provides a way to exercise the brain for adults and children

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Vicksburg Chess Club

To many, chess is a complex board game that takes time and a great deal of focus to learn and play. It’s also a fun way to pass the time.

Chess is a great way to exercise the brain, too. Research has shown chess helps adults prevent or delay Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia and some mental illnesses. In children, it sparks an interest in math and science as it helps them improve critical thinking and abstract reasoning skills, and find solutions to complex problems.

Vicksburg schools understand the benefits of chess and have added the board game to their extracurricular activities with the help of the Vicksburg Chess Club.

“Right now the Chess Club is trying to promote chess in lots of areas,” said Dr. Donald Rathburn, a member of the Vicksburg Chess Club. “We have the grade-school programs. We run chess tournaments. We have a men’s championship and a women’s championship every year. We now have the Chess League that’s been going on for four years and that gives us a championship, and there are more possible tournaments.”

Each Tuesday and Thursday the club meets at the Vicksburg Mall, 3505 Pemberton Square Blvd., at 6 p.m. to play chess and improve their skills. Everyone is invited to join in to watch or play in the matches.

At the weekly club meetings, members and guests have an opportunity to learn different tactics and styles of the game.

“There is a variety of chess,” Rathburn said. “It isn’t just two people playing chess. That is, of course, the most common way to play chess, but it could be two people on two boards or it could be two people on one board. There’s even a thing called random chess.”

The Vicksburg Chess Club also holds monthly chess matches. The next meet is on Jan. 11, 2020, at 10 a.m. in the Vicksburg Mall and as always, the event is free and everyone is welcome. 

For more information or to join the Vicksburg Chess Club and enhance your mind simply join them at their weekly meetings.

“Just come out on Thursday nights to the Vicksburg Mall,” Rathburn said. “We’ll train you and show you how to play chess. I emphasize having a good time. If your ego is involved, I don’t think you should play chess. Accept the fact that when you lose, you’re learning.”

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