Neely-Dorsey named a state Goodwill Ambassador


By Jason Collum


SALTILLO » Patricia Neely-Dorsey’s efforts to promote the many positive aspects of Mississippi have caught the attention of state leaders, and could lead to one of her poems officially representing the state.

The local author has earned accolades from the Legislature and the Governor’s office so far this year.

Patricia Neely-Dorsey. Sun Photo/Barry Honan

Patricia Neely-Dorsey. Sun Photo/Barry Honan

“In January, I received a resolution from the Mississippi House of Representatives commending my writings and work in promoting positive images of Mississippi,” Neely-Dorsey said. “It was introduced to the House by Representative Randy Boyd of Mantachie, and then voted on and passed by the House. During a visit to the capitol, I read poems from my books, Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia and My Magnolia Memories and Musings before members of the House. In February the Governor named me as an official Goodwill Ambassador for the state.”

Being named a Goodwill Ambassador means a lot for the Tupelo native. What could come next, though, would be a dream come true. Neely-Dorsey’s poem, “Meet My Mississippi,” will soon be up for consideration as the official state poem.

“That would be an ultimate honor to truly be a permanent part of Mississippi history,” Neely-Dorsey said. “If selected, my poem would be an official symbol/emblem of the state, along with the state tree, state flower, state song, etc.”


 A long way from home

Neely-Dorsey spent many years away from her home state. First, she attended college in Boston, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology. Later, she worked for many years in Memphis. These years were a formative period for her in growing her desire to see the positives of Mississippi be given attention, and not just the negatives some in the nation want to focus on.

“When I was in college at Boston University, my nicknames were ‘Tupelo’ and ‘Mississippi,’ she said. “Everyone knew what most of my conversations would be about. I was constantly trying to dispel some of the many misconceptions and misunderstandings regarding our state and region.”

These experiences ultimately led to the writing of her books and poems.

“I spent almost 19 years in Memphis working in the metal health field,” she said. “I never really considered being a writer or published author at all. I wrote my very first poem February 14, 2007. I just woke up out of my sleep with a poem swirling around in my head. I got up and quickly scribbled it down. After that the poems just started to flow and flow.

In a few months, I had hundreds of poems. Most of the poems had the theme of my love for Mississippi and my love of the South.

“I published my first book Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia – A Life In Poems in February 2008 and my second book, My Magnolia Memories adn Musings – In Poems in February 2012. Interest in the books lead to speaking engagements at schools, libraries, and civic organizations all over the state and region, with me carrying my message of a positive Mississippi and a positive southern experience.”

The positive word she has been spreading helps build her credentials as an ambassador.

“I have always considered myself an unofficial Goodwill ambassador for Mississippi long before I wrote my poems or received any recognition for it,” she said.

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