by Xander Norris
The South is a big, complicated place. The irregular happens regularly, and many of the nation’s most important debates and happenings seem to either start or end somewhere within our borders. That’s why every Saturday morning, the Overby Center is committed to bringing you a rundown of this week’s most prominent southern news stories, all in one easily-digestible place. So grab a cup of coffee, settle into your most comfortable chair, and prepare to get caught up on what’s currently happening… Around the South.
- Last week, the Daily Beast reported that Georgia’s Republican nominee for Senate, Herschel Walker, paid for a woman he was dating to have an abortion in 2009. Since then, the Washington Post has corroborated the report, adding the wrinkle that Walker had requested the abortion, but she had to ask him to pay for it. Walker has denied the allegation and has been emphatically anti-abortion on the campaign trail. White evangelical voters make up the core of the Republican Party, a transformation that began during Nixon’s Southern Strategy and accelerated during the 80s and 90s. To better understand how the relationship between evangelical voters and their elected officials has changed, Reckon spoke with Dr. Michael Altman, an associate professor of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama and a co-developer of the uncivilreligion initiative, which documents the role of religion in the January 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
- Brett Favre denied wrongdoing in the Mississippi welfare scandal, speaking out for the first time on the controversy in a statement to Fox News Digital, saying, “I have done nothing wrong, and it is past time to set the record straight.” He added that he has “been unjustly smeared in the media.” Favre has been embroiled in Mississippi’s largest public corruption case, one in which tens of millions of dollars earmarked for needy families was misspent. He faces no criminal charges, but his alleged involvement has helped bring the case to broader national attention and cost him endorsement deals.
- Even as Jackson, Miss., struggles with a troubled water system, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba and the city council have been feuding for months over the garbage contract for the city of 150,000 residents. Richard’s Disposal has picked up Jackson’s garbage since April without compensation. The company said it would stop collections after Saturday unless it receives payment. City Council president Ashby Foote told The Associated Press on Friday that the city will pay $4.8 million, and garbage collection will continue.
- In an uphill fight against a 30-year incumbent, Republican congressional candidate Chris West was scratching for votes in Georgia’s second-smallest county on a recent October evening. West was telling voters in Georgetown, Georgia, that they should dump longtime Democrat Sanford Bishop if they’re unhappy with inflation and gas prices. West said his experience as a commercial developer would help improve the fortunes of Georgia’s 2nd Congressional District, which is one of the nation’s poorest. Bishop’s 15 previous victories have rarely been close, although the Democrat squeaked to reelection by fewer than 5,000 votes in 2010′s Republican wave. Last year, Georgia Republicans redrew the district to make it somewhat more favorable to their party, sparking fresh interest from GOP candidates.
- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday issued an executive order expanding voting access for the midterm elections in three counties where Hurricane Ian destroyed polling places and displaced thousands of people. The move, which followed requests from Lee, Charlotte, and Sarasota counties and voting rights groups, comes as Florida begins to undertake a massive recovery from the Category 4 hurricane that hit on Sept. 28 and leveled parts of the state’s southwest regions.
- On Tuesday, Baltimore, Md., prosecutors dropped the charges against Adnan Syed, the man whose legal saga rose to international renown because of the hit podcast “Serial.” The abrupt move comes after Syed’s conviction in the 1999 killing of Hae Min Lee was overturned last month. However, his murder, kidnapping, and robbery charges loomed while the city State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s office considered whether to dismiss his case or try him again in his Woodlawn High School sweetheart’s death. Mosby said her decision hinged on new, last-ditch DNA testing being conducted on evidence collected in the decades-old homicide. The DNA test results excluded Syed, the public defender’s office, which is representing Syed, said in a news release after court Tuesday.
- Before refrigeration or a modern transportation network, family graveyards were as much a part of family heritage as they were a necessity. Some have been covered by the sands of time on the Outer Banks; others may still be there, shielded though by dense forest or hidden by the side of some forgotten road. Settlers Lane is one of the oldest streets in the town of Duck, N.C., winding its way up a hill to the west of N.C. 12, or Duck Road. It’s difficult to say how long the road has been there, but there has been a graveyard along the side of the road since at least 1843, for it is here, beneath the shade of massive live oak, among the spreading ground cover that threatens to cover the markers, that a tale of unimaginable heartbreak emerges.
Black elders saved this couple’s Mississippi farm. Now they’re harvesting ancestral techniques—and tomatoes
- Mississippi is home to the most Black farmers; they’re also aging and retiring the fastest. Teresa and Kevin Springs inherited an overgrown farm in Mississippi. As they reclaim the land, they’re racing to reap farming lessons from community elders before it’s too late.
- Jackson State football and coach Deion Sanders played spoiler and defeated Alabama State 26-12 on the Hornets’ homecoming Saturday. Then Alabama State coach Eddie Robinson Jr. played spoiler to Sanders after the game. Sanders shook hands with Robinson and tried to add a postgame hug, but Robinson rejected Sanders attempt. Sanders wore a surprised look on his face and opened his palms after Robinson pulled away. Robinson felt Sanders was disrespectful in the media leading up to the game and on the field during the pregame, he said.
- Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Eli Apple became a popular villain to New Orleans Saints fans earlier this year when he used Twitter to go after New Orleans, the city’s people, and South Louisiana culture. At noon on Sunday in the Caesars Superdome, Apple returns to New Orleans, but it’s unlikely he will receive a warm welcome. Apple played for the Saints in 2018 and 2019 as a cornerback. Over the last nine months, Apple has not attempted to walk away from his Twitter comments.