Award-Winning Journalist and Novelist will be honored at 2019 Community Foundation Crystal Ball

Hernando, Miss., The Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi’s 19th annual Crystal Ball will present its Star of Hope honor to award-winning journalist and novelist Jesse J. Holland. 

Jesse J. Holland is a native of Holly Springs and was editor of the Daily Mississippian as a student at the University of Mississippi.  He is the author of the first novel featuring comic’ most popular superhero, The Black Panther, and the award-winning books, The Invisibles:  The Untold Story of African American Slavery Inside the White House, Black Men Built the Capitol: Discovering African American History in and Around Washington, D.C., and the author of the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Finn’s Story. 

Holland is an editor with the Associated Press in Washington, DC, and is the former president of the Washington Press Club Foundation. He was the first African American ever elected to the Congressional Standing Committee of correspondents, a congressionally created committee of journalists.  He is also a member of the National Press Club and one of the creators of the former newspaper comic strip, Hippie and the Black Guy. 

Previous recipients of the Star of Hope award include Morgan Freeman, Archie and Olivia Manning, Sen. Thad Cochran, Sela Ward, Marty Stuart and others who give hope to their fellow Mississippians.

Four local Community Stars will also be honored at the annual fundraiser including man, woman, business and nonprofit of the year.  Proceeds from the event help the Community Foundation aid over 700 charitable programs in Northwest Mississippi. 

“We are expecting another sell-out crowd of over 1,000 guests at our 19th annual black-tie Crystal Ball gala.  This year the theme is ‘Super Heroes: Use Your Powers for Good,’ and will include lots of fun surprises and a fabulous dinner, silent and live auction, and dancing to the music of the Fifth Kind,” said Emily and Patrick Johnson, Co-Chairs of the event. “The Community Foundation is an amazing organization that enhances the quality of life in Northwest Mississippi, and we are proud to be part of this event.”

Tickets for the Jan. 19, 2019, event at the Arena in Southaven are $150 per person and can be purchased at or by check to the Community Foundation, 315 Losher St., Hernando, MS  38632 or by calling 662.449.5002. 

The Community Foundation manages 240 donor-established funds and has distributed $22.1 million to support more than 700 charitable organizations and activities recommended by its donors, as well as charitable programs established by the foundation.  Established in 2002 with a generous grant from the Maddox Foundation, the Community Foundation is an independent 501(c)3 charitable organization. The Foundation serves Bolivar, Coahoma, DeSoto, Leflore, Marshall, Panola, Quitman, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, and Tunica counties.  A board of 19 volunteer civic leaders governs the Community Foundation.  Learn more about the Community Foundation at or call 662.449.5002.