Author, Ted Talk speaker and executive coach Dr. Gloria Burgess will speak at the museum on Thursday, October 26, 2023, 12 noon about her book Pass it On!. It is a children’s book which tells the story of how her father Earnest McEwen Jr. and William Faulkner connected in a way that changed McEwen’s life.
The book Pass it On! recounts the story of young Ernie (Earnest McEwen Jr.) who dreamed of a better life for his family in the segregated South of the 1930s. More than anything, he wanted to go to college.
While working as a janitor at the University of Mississippi, Ernie, who loved to read, spoke to a professor about his burning desire to go to college. This set in motion a series of events that changed his and his family’s life for all time. One of those significant events was meeting Nobel Laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Faulkner.
Faulkner helped Ernie attend college, paying for his tuition and expenses with no strings attached. His generous financial gift allowed Ernie to go to college, move out of the South, and eventually emerge from poverty.
Ernie made a better life for his family, who continue to live a legacy of life-long learning and service, passing on their blessings to the next generation and the next.
“Pass it on”–the only repayment Faulkner requested–became Ernie’s motto, which he gave to his daughters, as explained in the author’s note at the end. This story is full of hope, showing people reaching across boundaries to help one another and provide a better life for the next generation.
Gloria, who now lives in North Carolina, is also a poet and has written several books. She is a motivational speaker who tells her story in ways to help others.
The New Century Club of New Albany will provide lunch for the event beginning at 11:30 and the program will begin at noon. It is free. For more information call 662-538-0014. The museum is located at 114 Cleveland Street in New Albany.
Jill Smith, Director
Union County Heritage Museum
114 Cleveland Street
New Albany, MS 38652