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New day dawning?

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Last Friday (May 28), the Delta Council, the Mississippi Delta’s Chamber of Commerce, celebrated its 75th annual meeting at Delta State University in Cleveland. One of its traditions is the announcement of the organization’s new president.

Is it a new day or the continuation of change that has been occurring for years?

Last Friday (May 28), the Delta Council, the Mississippi Delta’s Chamber of Commerce, celebrated its 75th annual meeting at Delta State University in Cleveland. One of its traditions is the announcement of the organization’s new president.

This year’s president will be Cass Pennington, special assistant to the president of Delta State. A former school superintendent, Pennington is credited with making the non-profit Delta Health Alliance one of the premier health organizations in the country.

He also is the first black to serve as president of the Council, which does everything from recruiting new businesses to the region to representing its interests at the state Capitol in Jackson and in Washington, D.C.

The Delta Council made no mention of Pennington’s race in the press materials it handed out to media or in the annual program. But then, those who have followed it for years would not have expected it to, since the organization generally keeps a low profile, preferring to work quietly for change.

In his brief remarks after out-going President Travis Satterfield, a cotton, rice and soybean farmer from Benoit, Miss., announced his selection, Pennington said he and his wife Carolyn are “proud to have our names associated with this organization. This is a special day in our lives.”

The Council has had several black vice-presidents and board members and staff members. But having a black president for the first time in its 75-year history is a new day for the Delta Council.

EDITOR’S NOTE — This is the first blog post in what we hope will become a regular feature for the Farm Press Web sites. If you have questions or comments about these posts, please contact the author or Forrest Laws, director of content, Penton Agricultural Media, at 901 201-1204.

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