Merrit "Pic" Firmin
Merrit “Pic” Firmin had a 30-year career in newspapers before retiring in 1991 to return to college so he could teach history. He was managing edirot of the Delta Democrat Times in Greenville from 1966 to 1975, the height of the civil rights movement in Mississippi. (When the secret Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission report was released in 1997, it included a description of Firmin as ‘a very active leftist.”) In 1975, he became editor of The Sun in Biloxi and when it merged a few years later with The Daily Herald, he became executive editor of The Sun Herald until his retirement. While he was editor, The Sun Herald was named by the American Society of Newspaper Editors as one of the nation’s 10 outstanding small dailies. Among his journalism awards are the J. Oliver Emmerich Award for Editorial Excellence given by the Mississippi Press Association and Mississippi University for Women’s Inky Award. He was editor-in-residence at LSU and MUW. He was a journalism fellow at Standford University and aat Millsaps College’s Mississippi Institute of Politics. Earlier in his newspaper career, he was a reporter and his own photographer for several newspapers in Louisiana and Mississippi, including the Jackson Daily News and the Alexandria Town Talk. Firmin enlisted in the Air Force immediately after high school, then attended LSU for two years. He completed his bachelor’s degree in 1992 at William Carey College and earned a master’s in history from the University of Southern Mississippi. He taught history as an adjunct professor at William Carey on the Coast and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Firmin was inducted into the MCJ Hall of Fame in 2010.