A Bolton, MS, native, Congressman Bennie G. Thompson is the longest-serving African-American elected official of his state. His history of grassroots political organizing began during his time at Tougaloo College -- a private historically Black college in Jackson, MS. From there, he went on to serve as alderman from 1969 to 1972 before being elected to mayor in 1973, when he made major and lasting improvements to the city's infrastructure. After moving up to congress, he continued to fight for his communities, creating the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities and serving as the first Democratic chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security. When he's not working to better the world, Thompson is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys gardening, reading, and listening to the blues.
SOCIAL JUSTICE IMPACT AWARD
Listed amongst the Most Influential People of 2021 by TIME100, Ebony Magazine’s Power 100 Most Influential African Americans, The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Lawyers, and the 2014 NNPA Newsmaker of the Year, Attorney Benjamin Crump is referred to as “Black America’s Attorney General.” Through a steadfast dedication to justice and service, renowned civil rights and personal injury attorney Benjamin Crump has established himself as one of the nation’s foremost lawyers and advocates for social justice, winning a number of record settlements and verdicts for victims and families that have faced injustice. He has worked on some of the most high-profile cases in the U.S., representing the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, the residents of Flint, Michigan, who were affected by the poisoned water of the Flint River, as well as the family of Henrietta Lacks in a landmark reparations case. In 2021, St. Thomas University College of Law announced the Benjamin L. Crump Center for Social Justice in his honor, which will open doors for minority students pursuing law degrees. Published in October 2019, hHis book, published in October 2019, "Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People", reflects on the landmark cases he has battled, and how discrimination in the courthouse devastates real families and communities. He is the founder and principal owner of Ben Crump Law.