In today’s paper, we reflect on the sesquicentennial anniversary of both the city of Tupelo and the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal. While the city’s official anniversary was in July, we could not let this year go without highlighting how far our community has come and how the Journal has played a role in telling the story of this community.
COVID-19 not only postponed, and possibly canceled, any celebration in town, but the virus also cast some doubt on how we could put together a comprehensive special section.
Thanks to the efforts of our staff and the Oren Dunn City Museum, you have a 28-page section highlighting the history of Tupelo and the Daily Journal. This section features the stories we know along with some less told angles. We look not just at President Roosevelt’s 1934 visit to Tupelo but the role of his wife, Eleanor, during this trip. And as we look back on the 1936 tornado, we highlight the new research, which tells us more about how this disaster affected the Black community.
And then we focus on far the community has come in the 21st century; the development of Fairpark in downtown; Toyota locating to Blue Springs and the economic impact, not just for Lee County, but for the region thanks to the PUL Alliance; the 2014 tornado and the recovery effort, which led to Tupelo earning its fifth All-American City award in 2015; two visits from President Donald Trump, as he held campaign rallies for Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith and Gov. Tate Reeves.
This section was put together by special projects editor Caleb Bedillion, copy desk chief Amanda Burden and designer Scott Burden. The Oren Dunn City Museum curators Leesha Faulkner and Sihya Smith went above and beyond to assemble the timeline and provide several stories for the section.
This is an important story to share with the community, and we hope you enjoy the final product in today’s paper.