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Library exhibit shares Lincoln County black history

One of these days, Maxine Allen plans to take all the information she’s collected in the last eight years about notable black Lincoln Countians and write a book.

“I haven’t got to that point yet, but I want to,” she said. “That’s going to be my next project.”

For now, what keeps Allen busy is preparing for the First Achievers exhibit she puts together each February at the Lincoln County Public Library with help from her daughter, Jennifer Allen Stenson.

Her exhibit of more than 60 framed photographs and biographies of “First Achievers” will be on display in the library throughout Black History Month. A reception with speakers, entertainment and refreshments will be held in the Vernon Room Saturday from 12:30 to 3 p.m.

The Rev. Davion Brown, a freshman at Mississippi College, will be the guest speaker.

Allen began the exhibit to celebrate Black History Month eight years ago after reading a newspaper article on noted African-American leaders in Lincoln County. Allen, who’s worked for the library for over 25 years, started her showcase with the people she saw in the newspaper at the front of the library in 2010.

After receiving so much feedback, her exhibit was moved to the meeting room at the library. Growing numbers of portraits and biographies of African-American leaders fill the room with rich history every February.

She researches notable figures either from her own recollections or suggestions from others. She said she enjoys the hours spent getting to know individuals who have made their mark on the area.

“I learned a lot that I didn’t realize,” she said.

New to the collection is Fannie Locwood Tate Mullins and Stanford Qualls.

Mullins, an Ohio native, came to Brookhaven in 1907 to teach. Fannie L. Mullins School is named for the educator and trailblazer.

Qualls was the first black Mississippi State University Extension Service county agent for Lincoln County. He also runs the Bethal AME Church food pantry.

Allen hopes to add to the collection and is looking for more information on Mullins and Qualls as well as suggestions and information about other notable black Americans from Lincoln County or surrounding areas. She can be reached at 601-748-1381.