2006 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Senator(s) Jordan, Butler, Dawkins, Frazier, Harden, Jackson (11th), Thomas, Walls, Williamson

Senate Resolution 19

(As Adopted by Senate)


     WHEREAS, author, playwright, educator, nominee for the Pulitzer Prize and civil rights activist Endesha Ida Mae Holland, Ph.D., of Greenwood, Mississippi, passed away on Wednesday, January 25, 2006, at the age of 61; and

     WHEREAS, since early childhood, Endesha Ida Mae Holland's life was touched by poverty, racism and violence; but civil rights, education and love of family changed the direction of this extraordinary woman's life, and we are all the richer for it; and

     WHEREAS, in the year 1983, Ida Mae Holland added Endesha to her name after she met Dr. Maulana Karenga, a scholar of African history and culture, who is also the creator of Kwanza.  Holland added this name not only to distinguish herself from her mother (for they shared the name Ida Mae) but also to symbolize the way she had motivated herself and others to reach beyond where they came from.  Endesha is a Swahili word that means "driver - she who drives herself and others forward."  This name embodies all that Holland stands for and all that her memoir From the Mississippi Delta describes.  She is a woman who drove herself through terrible odds to pursue and realize her dreams; and

     WHEREAS, in her memoir, she tells of her trials and tribulations that seemed inescapable.  She was kicked out of school in ninth grade, and was pregnant and in jail at age sixteen.  Her mother constantly reminded Holland that she could shape her own future.  Through her own determination and the drive that she had to make something of her life, Holland eventually turned things around, joined the Civil Rights Movement, moved to the Twin Cities and began college at the University of Minnesota; and

     WHEREAS, Holland graduated with her BA in African-American studies in 1979, thirteen years after she started.  She received her Masters Degree in American Studies five years later.  Two years later, Holland was awarded her Ph.D. on May 25, 1985, from the University of Minnesota.  This was the moment that she had been waiting for her entire life.  She invited everyone that she knew to come see just how far she had traveled from the Mississippi Delta; and

     WHEREAS, aside from her highly esteemed memoir, Holland also wrote seven plays.  The three that have received the most recognition are From the Mississippi Delta, Second Doctor Lady, and The Reconstruction of Dossie Ree Hemphill.  The latter two were written about Holland's mother, Ida Mae.  Second Doctor Lady is the story of her mother's struggle to become a midwife.  The Reconstruction of Dossie Ree Hemphill also tells the story of her mother but from the perspective of her peers.  From the Mississippi Delta was inspired by her memoir.  This three-woman play has been performed across the country and has received many positive reviews; and

     WHEREAS, these works have led Holland to receive many prestigious awards, including the First Annual Playwriting Award, the ACTF Student Playwriting Award of the University of Minnesota, the Second Place Lorraine Hansberry Award, and she was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.  Also, the Mayor of Greenwood, Mississippi, dedicated a day to her, calling it "Endesha Ida Mae 'Cat' Holland Day" on October 18, 1991; and

     WHEREAS, Holland is survived by her son, Cedric Holland; her sister, Jean Beasley; granddaughter; all of Buffalo, New York; and a brother, Charlie "Bud" Nellums, of Greenwood; and

     WHEREAS, it is with sadness that we note the passing of this Mississippi author and playwright who was subjected to poverty, racism and broken dreams and still worked her way to a better life:

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, That we do hereby commend and celebrate the life of noted Mississippi author, playwright and teacher Endesha Ida Mae Holland, Ph.D., of Greenwood, Mississippi, and express to her surviving family the sympathy of the Senate on her passing.

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this resolution be presented to the surviving family of Ms. Holland and be made available to the Capitol Press Corps.