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Mississippi music’s promotion man

Movie Review: “Civil War”

Mississippi’s musicians occupy a special place in the world of music.  From writers to performers, the state’s musicians have made a global impact, and few have done more to make sure the world knows that great and timeless music is one of Mississippi chief exports than Hazlehurst’s James (Jim) Brewer.  


The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) alum, who founded the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame and coined the phrase, “The Birthplace of America’s Music,” was the focus of the USM band program’s celebration of Mississippi Musicians Month in presentations to him of a commemorative plaque from the USM School of Music by Dr. Chris Winstead, Dean of the school’s College of Arts and Sciences, and a proclamation from the City of Hattiesburg by Mayor Toby Barker.


            Brewer received his BMED, Med and EdD degrees from USM, taught at Mississippi College after serving as band director, administrator and special projects director at public schools throughout Mississippi, and operated Associated Consultants in Education from 1980 to 1998.


            When he was 61 years old in 1994, he founded the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame, which has inducted more than 140 artists.  Subsequently, he founded museums at Medgar Evers International Airport and the Iron Horse Grill in Jackson, which made Mississippi music history visible.  And just to make sure Mississippi musical heritage was widely known, he coined the phrase, “Mississippi, Birthplace of America’s Music,” a slogan for Mississippi car tags, road signs at major intersections and state border crossings, promotions of tourism departments and the state’s Governors.


            After settling in Hazlehurst in 2001, he opened a third museum inside the town’s historic downtown train depot and created the Musicians Walk of Fame outside, which was dedicated on August 4, 2017.


            Active in the community, Brewer has served on the music and personnel committees at Hazlehurst First Baptist Church and the boards of Hazlehurst Chamber of Commerce and Co-Lin’s Institute for Learning in Retirement.





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