Books offers insight into Tupelo man’s speeches


In the new book, A Time to Speak: Speeches by Jack Reed (University Press of Mississippi), the Tupelo businessman discusses the events surrounding his speeches and talks about race relations within his church, his deep involvement in public education with his close friend William Winter and with George H. W. Bush, and his own run for governor in 1987.

For more than 50 years, Jack Reed has been a voice of reason in Mississippi — speaking from his platform as a prominent private businessman and taking leadership roles in public education, race relations, economic and community development, and even church polity. Excerpts from more than a dozen of Reed’s speeches over a 50-year period (1956–2007) are included in this volume.

Reed always delivered his speeches with a large dose of good cheer, but his words were not always cheerfully accepted, especially in his early years when he spoke out on behalf of public schools and racial equality. His willingness to participate in civic affairs often led him to leadership roles at state, regional and national levels — including the presidency of the Mississippi Economic Council, chairmanship of the President’s National Advisory Council on Education, and charter membership on the United Methodist Church Commission on Religion and Race.

Danny McKenzie places this original material in historical and biographical context and provides the reader with the necessary information to understand each speech and event. A Time to Speak illustrates how a private citizen with courage and a smile can effect positive change. McKenzie, a veteran Mississippi newspaper columnist, is the author of Matters of the Spirit: Human, Holy, and Otherwise.

McKenzie and Reed are scheduled to take part in book signings at Square Books in Oxford (March 3) and Lemuria Books in Jackson (March 10). Both events begin at 5 p.m.