- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 14, 2014

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) - Former State Rep. Robert Clark, the state’s first black legislator since Reconstruction, is among the honorees at the 2014 Mississippi Trailblazers Awards on Saturday.

The annual event recognizes Mississippians for their contributions to the advancement of diversity and multicultural exchange. The event is held at the BancorpSourth Center in Tupelo.

Clark, of Holmes County, will receive the Rep. Leonard Morris Award for Public Service and Integrity and the Rev. Robert Jamison Lifetime Achievement Award. Clark was elected to the Mississippi House in 1967. He served as education committee chairman and was elected House speaker pro-tempore in 1992. He retired in 2003.

Linda Gholston, director of Sanctuary Hospice House, is the Mississippi Trailblazer of the Year. She has led the nonprofit hospice program since January 2005, nearly a year before the west Tupelo facility accepted its first patient in November 2005. It has since served more than 2,100 patients, as well as an additional 700 through its home hospice program that began in 2010. Gholston has announced plans to retire this summer.

William Heard has been selected as the Tupelo Trailblazer of the Year. Heard is a local artist known for his self-described “colorful, exuberant style” and his work to help people with serious disabilities become more independent and involved in their communities. He has been quadriplegic since an automobile accident in 2000.

Other honorees include Leroy Walker, a Jackson businessman; Dr. Wovoka Sobukwe, founder of the Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom School and Cultural Center in Etta; retired Maj. Gen. T.K. Moffett, a Tupelo attorney; Dottie Quaye Chapman Reed, McGraw-Hill associate manager, Midwest Editorial Region, Atlanta; and Lauren Taylor of Jackson, a fashion designer.