By Associated Press - Thursday, April 1, 2021

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Jesse Turner Morris Jr., the first executive director of the Mississippi Food Network, has died at the age of 84, the Clarion Ledger reported Wednesday. He died on March 18, surrounded by family.

A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Morris came to Jackson in the early 1960s to help empower Black people living in the South, the newspaper reported. He was field secretary of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

In 1966, he co-founded the Poor People’s Cooperation, which provided loans and assistance to people who wanted to start cooperative businesses. He also served for 15 years as director of the Emergency Land Fund, helping Black residents keep their own land. And in 1984, he was named as the first executive director of the Mississippi Food Bank, now the Mississippi Food Network.

Today, the Mississippi Food Network provides food for 430 member pantries throughout the state. The organization gives away 1.5 million pounds (680388.5 kilograms) of food and feeds more than 150,000 each month, according to its website.

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