Administration’s inauguration at 6 Friday night

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 29, 2009

Wade Grant first met Paul Winfield in 1989. It was Grant’s junior year at Warren Central High School and the first year of the consolidation of city and county school districts, meaning the Warren Central football team was taking on new teammates who just a year previous were on the rival Vicksburg High squad.

If you go

The inauguration of Paul Winfield as mayor and aldermen-elect Michael Mayfield and Sid Beauman will be Friday at 6 p.m. at the Vicksburg Convention Center, 1600 Mulberry St.

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“That was a drastic change at the time, and an awkward change for a lot of people. There were really a lot of strong emotions about it at the time — and for lack of a better word, there was a lot of fear — and we were the first class to deal with it,” remembered Grant, who was on the Warren Central team.

Of all the new players, Grant best remembers one sophomore transfer from Vicksburg High who helped ease a lot of the tensions inside and outside the locker room.

“Paul had a real positive attitude; he was very outgoing and he just gave it his all. Everyone respected that, and he helped a lot of people overcome the fear they had about the two districts coming together,” Grant said. “He was bringing people who were formerly big Vicksburg Gators fans into the team, and he became very popular really quick.” 

Grant said he hopes to be in attendance Friday as his old classmate, along with North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield and South Ward Alderman Sid Beauman, is inaugurated as the new mayor of Vicksburg at the Vicksburg Convention Center. Winfield bested two-time incumbent Mayor Laurence Leyens in the June 2 election with a commanding 61.6 percent of the vote. Mayfield and Beauman ran unopposed, and enter their second and third terms, respectively. 

The oath of office will be administered to Winfield by Judge Vicki Roach-Barnes, while Judge Isadore Patrick will give the oath to Mayfield and Judge Walterine Langford to Beauman. The mayor and aldermen will give inaugural addresses, and a reception will follow.

An interfaith prayer service for the new city administration will be at Spring Hill Missionary Baptist Church, 815 Mission 66, on inauguration morning from 8 to 9. The service is open to the public.

A Vicksburg native, Grant eventually grew tired of commuting for work and moved his family to Clinton in 2003. While he was excited to hear about his former classmate’s mayoral victory, he was not entirely surprised.

“Anybody that’s been around Paul quickly realizes he has a good, well-meaning heart and personality,” he said. “He really tries to involve a lot of people in whatever it is he’s doing and he’s not afraid to cross boundaries. That’s what Vicksburg needs.”

Grant said he and his wife, Amy, are more seriously considering bringing their family back to Vicksburg now that Winfield is taking office. The couple has two children, ages 11 and 12, and their extended families still live in the city. 

“I’m on the threshold now, but I kind of want to wait and see what happens,” Grant said. “I definitely see Paul as a change agent, and I hope he can do the same things as mayor as he did when the school districts were merging. I’m excited to see what’s going to happen, and I just hope that the people of Vicksburg will give Paul an honest chance. I really think he will be a serious voice for change, not just for the black community, but for the entire community.”


Contact Steve Sanoski  at