Press Release from Coahoma Community College Public Relations; (662) 621-4061 - Brittany Davis-Green - firstname.lastname@example.org
CLARKSDALE – When Jerry Young came to Coahoma Community College in the 1970s, he had very little to offer except a mind willing to learn.
“I came here (to CCC) out of a very difficult situation, and had absolutely no money at all. Unlike some of the other fellows who came here, I had no money and my GPA was not sufficient enough to demand any money,” recalled Young, a Scott, MS native.
Today Young, now Dr. Jerry Young, is a well-known pastor, not only in Mississippi but throughout the nation. He was recently selected as President of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.—the largest African-American religious organization in the country— and has made history as the first Mississippi pastor chosen for the position.
And for all of his accolades and achievements, Young credits CCC for helping to make him the man that he is today.
“It was Mrs. Zee Anderson Barron who actually introduced me to the National Baptist Convention through the Youth Department when I was a young preacher,” recalled Young. “What a tremendous impression that made on my life.”
Pastors, clergymen, elected officials as well as CCC students, faculty, staff and alumni came out to the special luncheon to congratulate Young Thursday afternoon during a special celebration luncheon.
“We did all of this to celebrate Dr. Young, but we also want our students to know that this a place where dreams start,” said CCC President Dr. Valmadge Towner. “You heard Rev. Young say that he came here without any money nor the GPA to get some money, but you see where he is now and it started right here at Coahoma Community College.”
During the special program, hosted in the Magnolia Room of CCC’s Zee A. Barron Student Union, Young was presented with a resolution on behalf of the Mississippi House of Representative and State Senate by Senator Robert Jackson and Representative Henry “Chuck” Espy, III. He was also presented a key to the City of Clarksdale by Tom Jones on behalf of Mayor Bill Luckett and was congratulated on behalf of Coahoma County by Supervisor the Rev. Dr. Timothy Burrel (’63).
After a special lunch prepared by CCC’s Culinary Artsstudents, the program continued with selections from CCC’s Choir, under the direction of Kelvin Towers, and special words of encouragements and congratulations from local clergymen, including: the Rev. Juan Self of the Coahoma County Baptist Associaion; the Rev. Micheal E. Jossell on behalf of the Quitman County Baptist Association; the Rev. Sylon Oliver on behalf of the Tunica County Baptist District Association; the Rev. Zedric Clayton II of Real Faith Christian Church; the Rev. Edward Thomas of King’s Temple Baptist Church; Elder Darrell Keith Dixon (’08) of St. Matthew Church of God in Christ; the Rev. Mark Webb of First Presbyterian Church; and the Rev. Odell Landfair of Haven United Methodist Church.
“I authentically appreciate what has happened here today,” said Young. “Without this institution I would not be standing here today. I am so indebted to Coahoma Junior College, now Coahoma Community College, and the persons who were here and put their arms around me and made my life so much better.”
Young then told the story of Alex Haley, who was said to have kept a statue of a turtle sitting on top of a fence post on his desk.
“Oftentimes people would ask him why he had that on his desk … his response was, ‘Because it reminds me that whenever you see a turtle who is sitting on top of a fence post, you know he had help to get up there.’ I want you to know how thankful I am, and you can tell everyone that you know that here is, in Jerry Young, a turtle who is aware that he’s on the fence post because a whole lot of people helped him to get there, and I am eternally grateful.”
CLICK HERE to view more photos from this event on CCC's Facebook page.