Are you well-known?

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, June 28, 2023

How many famous or influential people do you know from the state of Mississippi?

Our Magnolia State has been the birthplace of many a well-known artist, actor, activist and athlete. Here are just a few that stand out to me.

Boxer Floyd Mayweather Sr., father of — wait for it — boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. (betcha didn’t see that coming), was born in my mother’s hometown of Amory.

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Actor Gary Grubbs is also from Amory. He’s one of those guys whose name you might not know, but chances are you’ve seen him on the big screen or the small. He’s been in more than 170 projects, including “JFK,” “NCIS,” “Free State of Jones” and “Django Unchained.”

The founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET) and the first black billionaire, Robert L. Johnson was born in the little town of Hickory, where I went to high school.

Lawrence Gordon was born in the Delta, and was producer of a few movies that I will watch anytime they’re on TV — “Predator,” “Point Break” and “Die Hard.” To be honest, I have them on DVD, too.

Maybe you’ve heard of Delphia Welford, maybe not. She lived to be 117 years and 66 days old, dying in 1992. Born in Mississippi, she’s the second-oldest person to have lived in America.

Civil rights activist Medgar Evers — murdered in 1963 — was from Decatur, where I lived for a while.

Pretty much everyone in this part of the state knows of (or knew) “The Mouth of Mississippi,” Jerry Clower. The story-telling comedian hailed from East Fork in Amite County.

Brookhaven natives are familiar with Bob Pittman, the founder of MTV and iHeartRadio, as well as Kim Sessums, physician and artist. Sessums, who still lives in Brookhaven, has created many notable sculptures, including the African-American Monument at Vicksburg National Military Park, and busts of Eudora Welty, Rev. Billy Graham, and one my favorite artists, Andrew Wyeth.

All of these people are or were well-known for their actions, creations, etc. Some of them may have excellent reputations, others may not. There are hundreds of others I could have listed, but these are (obviously) the ones I chose.

They all have a story to tell. You know who else has a story to tell? You.

I firmly believe that every single person has both a story to tell (at least one) and is worth telling a story about. It doesn’t matter whether you think your story is worth telling. Take it from me, a storyteller, that it is. I may not have heard your story, but it is worth telling.

Do you know how I know? Because I know your life is worth living.

So live it. Keep going, keep pushing, keep taking one step at a time. It doesn’t matter if you are ever “famous.” What matters is that others are watching you, and they see how you live. To them, you are known. Live your life well, so you may be well-known.

News editor Brett Campbell can be reached at