100 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI The Coast and Its People Fred Wallace Haise, Jr., who was born in Biloxi on November 14, 1933, was an astronaut on Apollo 13. He is one of only twenty-four people who have flown to the moon. Because of an aborted mission, he was unable to walk on the moon, but he continued his career as a test pilot and retired from NASA in 1979. Most recently, Haise has been instrumental in working to develop and bring to fruition the Infinity Station in Hancock County. Many notable people call or have called South Mississippi home. Jerome Herman Dean, better known as Dizzy Dean and remembered as a famous pitcher for Major League Baseball teams, settled in his wife’s Stone County home in Bond after retirement. Olympic gold medalists Alice Ruth Bolton and Janice Faye Lawrence, both born in the Coast region, played on the U.S. women's basketball team. Lawrence won a gold medal in 1984 and Bolton won gold medals in 1996 and 2000. Eric Moulds, also of Lucedale, played professional football for the Buffalo Bills for most of his professional career. Another football personality is Brett Favre, who is from Kiln in Hancock County and was recently inducted into the National Football League Hall of Fame. The majority of his career was with the Green Bay Packers, and he led his team to the Super Bowl XXXI championship. Dr. Gilbert Mason and Dr. Felix Dunn had organized the Biloxi Civic League in 1959 and initially began instituting Head Start Educational Programs throughout the county. Mason also organized the first Gulf Coast chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which worked within the county to improve opportunities for all. He lead the efforts to integrate the beaches of Biloxi and Gulfport in the 1960s. In 1964, he successfully lead the effort to desegregate the Biloxi Public Schools. Anthony Herrera was born in Wiggins and made a career as a television producer and director. Another television personality, Robin Rene Roberts, was raised in Pass Christian. Once an anchor of SportsCenter, she can be seen daily on Good Morning America. Toni Deniece Seawright from Pascagoula is currently an actress and was also the first African American woman chosen as Miss Mississippi. Jake W. Lindsey was a Medal of Honor recipient for his actions in World War II. He was born in Lucedale. Chester “Trent” Lott, Sr., from Pascagoula, was a United States senator and served from 1989 to 2007. He served as Senate Majority Leader and is the author of Herding Cats: A Life in Politics. Theodore Gilmore Bilbo, from Pearl River County, was a Mississippi senator, lieutenant governor, and governor as JESMYN WARD Award-winning novelist Jesmyn Ward was born in DeLisle, a small rural town located on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Ward’s painful experiences in her hometown—particularly her brother’s death by a drunk driver during her last year of college—led her to pursue a career in writing. Shortly after Ward received a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan in 2005, her family and community fell victim to Hurricane Katrina. During the storm and in the days following, Ward and her family sought refuge in neighboring homes and communities. As she empathized with fellow storm victims, she began to grapple with the meaning of her own experience. Doug Seibold of Agate Publishing accepted her first novel, Where the Line Bleeds, in which she dealt with the difficult lives of two young African American men in the post-Katrina Gulf Coast. Ward’s second novel, Salvage the Bones, was published in 2011. Most notably, the novel earned her a National Book Award for Fiction in 2011, as well as final consideration for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. From 2010 to 2011, Ward served as the John and Renee Grisham Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi. Ward’s memoir, Men We Reaped, was published in 2013, earning a National Book Critics Circle Award that year. Ward’s latest work, The Fire This Time— inspired by James Baldwin’s 1963 work The Fire Next Time—was published by Simon and Schuster in August 2016. The anthology includes works by many contributing writers, including a number of Ward’s fellow Mississippians. PHOTOS COURTESY OF MISSISSIPPI BOOK FESTIVAL