Debbie Elliott en Writer Plumbs 'Nature Of Evil' In Hometown's Violent Civil Rights Past Mississippi's past looms large in Greg Iles' best-selling thrillers. His latest book, <em>Natchez Burning,</em> is the first in a trilogy that<em> </em>takes readers back 50 years to chilling civil rights-era murders and conspiracies all set in Iles' hometown — the antebellum river city of Natchez, Miss.<p>Iles' hero, Penn Cage, is a former prosecutor and widowed single father who has returned to his childhood home. Once there, he finds himself confronting killers, corruption and dark secrets.<p>"Penn Cage I think of as annoyingly righteous sometimes," Iles says. Mon, 21 Jul 2014 09:27:00 +0000 Debbie Elliott 44111 at Writer Plumbs 'Nature Of Evil' In Hometown's Violent Civil Rights Past Corruption Convictions Spell 10 Year Sentence For Former NOLA Mayor Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>A federal judge has sentenced former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin to 10 years in prison for corruption conviction. The sentence was lighter than what prosecutors were seeking for the former two-term Democrat. NPR's Debbie Elliott covered Nagin's trial earlier this year, and she joins us now to talk about today's sentencing. Debbie, first remind us of what Ray Nagin was convicted of back in February.<p>DEBBIE ELLIOT, BYLINE: Well, a New Orleans jury found him guilty of 20 of the 21 federal corruption counts he was facing. Wed, 09 Jul 2014 20:11:00 +0000 Debbie Elliott 43450 at 'Teenie' Hodges, A Sculptor Of Al Green's Sultry Sound, Passes Away Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.<p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>And I'm Melissa Block. A key architect of Memphis soul died this week. Guitarist and songwriter Mabon "Teenie" Hodges helped create the smooth, sultry R&B sound made famous by singer Al Green.<p>(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HERE I AM BABY")<p>AL GREEN: (Singing) Here I am baby.<p>BLOCK: NPR's Debbie Elliott has this remembrance.<p>DEBBIE ELLIOTT, BYLINE: Teenie Hodges grew up playing in his father's blues band as a teenager in the 1950s. Thu, 26 Jun 2014 20:20:00 +0000 Debbie Elliott 42725 at Longtime Sen. Cochran Ekes Out A Win Against Tea Party Challenger Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.<p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>And I'm Melissa Block. Tea Party candidates were rebuffed in primaries across the country yesterday. Just ahead, we'll get some analysis of what that may mean. To begin we're going to hear about it particularly stinging defeat in Mississippi. That's where longtime Republican U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran won a hard-fought runoff with State Sen. Chris McDaniel. The race was considered a key test of Tea Party strength in the conservative Deep South. Wed, 25 Jun 2014 20:15:00 +0000 Debbie Elliott 42644 at Twisty Miss. Primary May Mean End Of Road For Longtime Senator Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel. Next week, voters in Mississippi once again go to the polls; this time in the runoff for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate. Six-term incumbent Thad Cochran remains locked in a tight race against challenger Chris McDaniel, a Tea-Party-backed State Senator. It is seen as a referendum on whether the GOP establishment can beat back Tea Party fervor. Fri, 20 Jun 2014 20:20:00 +0000 Debbie Elliott 42360 at Still Learning From The 'Pearl Harbor' Of The Civil Rights Movement This weekend marks 50 years since three young civil rights workers went missing in Philadelphia, Miss., drawing the nation's attention to the brutal resistance to equal rights in the South at the time.<p>Justice came slowly, but the murders did help spur change. Today, young people are still learning about the activists' legacy, hoping to inspire further action.<p><strong>Attack At The Church</strong><p>Freedom Summer drew hundreds of young Americans to Mississippi in 1964. Thu, 19 Jun 2014 06:59:00 +0000 Debbie Elliott 42237 at Still Learning From The 'Pearl Harbor' Of The Civil Rights Movement Mississippi Marks 50 Years Since History-Changing 'Freedom Summer' A new exhibit at the Mississippi state archives takes you back in time. The facade of a front porch, complete with screen door, invites you to imagine what it was like for some 900 activists, mostly white college students, who in 1964 came to the nation's most closed society.<p>Robert Moses was an organizer of what was at the time formally known as the Mississippi Summer Project.<p>"That's sort of what was nice about it. There was no pretension that we were going to change history," Moses says. Thu, 05 Jun 2014 20:32:00 +0000 Debbie Elliott 41493 at Mississippi Marks 50 Years Since History-Changing 'Freedom Summer' In Mississippi, A Heated Senate Primary Spills Into Runoff Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>A bitterly fought Republican Senate primary in Mississippi is heading for overtime. After yesterday's voting, longtime U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran is trailing his Tea Party backed challenger, State Sen. Chris McDaniel. The race appears headed for a runoff in three weeks. NPR's Debbie Elliott has been covering the contest and joins us now from Jackson, Mississippi. Hi, Debbie.<p>DEBBIE ELLIOTT, BYLINE: Hi, Robert.<p>SIEGEL: This Senate primary was considered the biggest stand-off between the Tea Party and the GOP establishment. Wed, 04 Jun 2014 20:08:00 +0000 Debbie Elliott 41419 at In Mississippi, A Senate Race Derailed By A Blogger's Photos Mississippi's Republican Senate primary has taken a bizarre and nasty turn as Tuesday's election draws near. The heated race is considered one of the Tea Party's best opportunities to unseat a longtime GOP incumbent, U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran.<p>His challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, is struggling to stay on message after some of his supporters <a href="">were arrested</a> in a scheme to exploit Cochran's bedridden wife. Fri, 30 May 2014 21:17:00 +0000 Debbie Elliott 41175 at In Mississippi, A Senate Race Derailed By A Blogger's Photos Too Young To Smoke, But Not To Pick Tobacco Kids under 18 can't buy cigarettes in the U.S., but they can legally work in tobacco fields when they're as young as 12.<p>One of those kids is Eddie Ramirez, 15, who works the fields in the summer.<p>"It just sticks to my hand," he says of the plant. "It's really sticky, you know, and really yellow." It's nearly impossible to wash off, he says.<p>A <a href="" target="_blank">new report from Human Rights Watch</a> says the practice of children farming tobacco is hazardous and should be stopped. Wed, 14 May 2014 07:47:00 +0000 Debbie Elliott 40146 at Too Young To Smoke, But Not To Pick Tobacco