Staff Directory

The Jackson Advocate simply could not be what we are today without the tireless efforts of all of our staff.

DeAnna Tisdale Johnson,
Publisher/Creative Director

DeAnna Tisdale Johnson is the Publisher and Creative Director of the Jackson Advocate newspaper. Johnson joins a short list as one of the youngest publishers in the history of Black newspapers. Johnson oversees a small staff and is diligently working to grow the newspaper to its former glory and beyond by digitizing the medium. She has been a published writer since the age of fourteen for the publication, where her father Charles Tisdale was owner and publisher until his death. Her mother, Alice Tisdale, is now publisher emeritus.

DeAnna Tisdale attended Murrah High School and was apart of the Academic and Performing Arts Complex (APAC) program.She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music/Vocal Performance from Tougaloo College and her Master of Music (M.M.) degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Southern Mississippi, where she graduated both magna cum laude. She also graduated from the Boston Conservatory, where she received a Graduate Performance Diploma in Vocal Performance.

Dr. Ivory Phillips,
JA Contributing Editor

Ivory Phillips was born in Rosedale Mississippi in the Summer of ‘42.  He attended and graduated from what was then Rosedale Negro High School in 1960.  From there he went to Jackson State University on an academic scholarship and graduated in 1964 with a B.S. in Social Science Education.  After years of teaching and graduate studies, Phillips returned to JSU in the Fall of 1971, got married, raised a family and spent the next 44 years teaching social sciences there.  In the meantime, he served as Chairman of the Department of Social Science Education, Faculty Senate President, and Dean of the College of Education and Human Development.  While doing so, he tried to make it a practice to keep his teaching lively and truthful with true-to-life examples and personally developed material.

In addition to the work on the campus, he became involved in numerous community activities.  Among them was editorial writing for the Jackson Advocate, consulting on the Ayers higher education discrimination case, coaching youth soccer teams, two of which won state championships, working on political campaigns, and supporting Black liberation struggles, including the Republic of New Africa, the All-Peoples Revolutionary Party, Mississippi Alliance of State Employees, and the development of a Black Community Political Convention. 

In many ways these activities converge as can be detected from his writings in the Jackson Advocate.  Over the years those writings covered history, politics, economics, education, sports, religion, culture and sociology, all from the perspective of Black people in Jackson, Mississippi, America, and the world.

Obviously, these have kept him beyond busy.  Yet, in his spare time, he loved listening to Black music, playing with his grandchildren, making others laugh, and being helpful to others. 

Earnest McBride, JA Contributing Editor

Earnest McBride, currently the Contributing Editor for the Jackson Advocate, was born November 1, 1941, in Vicksburg, MS. From an early age, he worked alongside his father, Ernest Walker, Sr., who was the owner of the Model Print Shop in Vicksburg between the years 1924 and 1971.

He attended Tougaloo College for one year before moving to Los Angeles, CA to attend  Los Angeles City College and then Cal State University Los Angeles, where he graduated with a BA in Journalism in June 1968. McBride completed  his MA in Language Studies from San Francisco State University and began PhD studies in Linguistics and Higher Education at University of Southern California, 1971-1981.

He speaks fluent French and is moderately fluent in Spanish, Chinese and German. He also mastered the Amharic-Tigray (Ethiopian) writing system.

Katrina Ellis Edwards, JA Production Manager

Katrina Ellis Edwards, a native of Shubuta, MS, is the oldest daughter of William Davis and Delphine (Bobby) Gaines. She is a 1995 graduate of Quitman High School in Quitman, MS. She has received certificates from the Clarke County Vocational Center and Meridian Community College in Business and Office Technology and attended Antonelli College. She loved being a student helper in the Quitman High School library assisting the librarian Ms. McCoy.

She has been doing graphic design for the Jackson Advocate since August 2001 and ADHIAMBO School since 2009. She has previously worked as an office clerk for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, customer service clerk for Home Quarters, store manager at Subway, sorter at Goodwill, customer service clerk at Winn Dixie and assistant store manager at McDade’s. She has also assisted the Mississippi Sickle Cell Foundation, Bibleway Church and Tutor Me with graphic design. She has been attending St. Mark Church in Clinton, MS since 2007, where Pastor Willis Washington, Jr. is Pastor-Teacher, where she is an administrative assistant and graphic designer.

Her and her husband Jessie, the parents of 7 year old Jessica, will be celebrating 15 years of marriage this year. She loves listening to gospel music, doing puzzles, crocheting and quilting. Her favorite scripture is Jeremiah 32:27 “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” Her favorite quotes are “If it ain’t right, it’s wrong!” by George Duke; “The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step,” by Lao Tzu; “You don’t drown by falling in water, you drown if you stay there,” author unknown; and “If you’re going to do something, make it great. Develop a reputation for being amazing. Just sit back and look at the job you’re doing and tell the truth… Ask yourself, is this amazing? If not, then step your game up… The bible says…’ A good name is worth more than silver and gold!’,” author unknown.

Brinda Fuller Willis, Ph.D., JA Contributing Writer

Dr. Brinda Fuller Willis was raised on a large farm in Attala County, just outside of Kosciusko, Mississippi. She is what some would call a “Double Identical” twin amongst a family of  sixteen siblings. She is a life-long member of the Palestine Missionary Baptist Church where she recited a many long and protracted Easter speeches because her speeches had to match her height; she has been 5’9” inches tall since grammar school.

Brinda graduated from McAdams High School and went on to Holmes Jr. College in Goodman, Mississippi graduating with a Social Science degree. Afterwards she graduated from Mississippi State University with degrees in Social Work and Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling. In 2007, she received a (Ph.D.) in Theology from New Foundations Seminary in Terry, Mississippi.

Once she made the move from Chicago, Milwaukee and Atlanta then back to Mississippi she began writing the “Ask the Twins” advice column with her twin sister, Linda that appeared inside the historic Jackson Advocate Newspaper for several years garnering numerous faithful readers who sought to get answers for questions regarding love, faith, career, disability and education. Her audience ranged from young adults to sage seniors. Eventually, she took a break from the advice column to pursue other interests and obligations with the onset of becoming a grandparent, managing a blues singer and world traveler.

Presently, she is a freelance writer for the Jackson Advocate Newspaper (2001-Present) and the Jackson Free Press (2012-2019). She is a member of the Speakers Bureau with the Mississippi Humanities Council and is the recipient of the Council’s 2019 Educator’s Award. Additionally, she has written for BOOM Jackson Magazine, Our Mississippi Magazine and Big City Rhythm & Blues Magazine.

Previously, she was married to Chick Willis, an internationally renowned blues singer with whom she had one daughter, Savannah. Dr. Willis is huge blues music fan and will travel anywhere to hear blues music at festivals, honky tonks and hole-in-the-wall jook joints. She and her twin sister are the owners of Twice As Nice Entertainment, LLC and are the managing agents for Keith Johnson “Prince of the Delta Blues” who is the great nephew of Muddy Waters.

Presently, she lives in Richland, Mississippi and is the proud grandmother of 5-year old, Charlotte Lucille Gray and 18-month old Liam Moberg.

Dr. Anne T. Sulton, Esq., Sr. International Correspondent

Since receiving her law degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1985, Anne has focused her law practice on litigating civil rights cases in federal courts. In recognition of her outstanding achievements as a civil rights attorney, she received the coveted “William Robert Ming Advocacy Award” from the NAACP at its July 2007 National Convention in Detroit.

Anne also holds a Ph.D. in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Maryland-College Park. She has served as a faculty member at several colleges and universities, including Spelman College in Atlanta, Howard University in Washington, DC, and New Jersey City University. As a criminologist, Anne has conducted empirical research, and published articles and books on criminal justice topics. Anne frequently gives keynote speeches on civil rights, crime prevention, and urban education. She also serves as an expert witness.

Anne has given dozens of keynote speeches. Among her major addresses are a Wingspread Briefing on Crime Prevention and the Wilmington, Delaware NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet. She has appeared on scores of television and radio programs, including the McNeil Lehrer Newshour and CNN.

She currently serves as our Senior International Correspondent, covering stories in Japan, Thailand, India, Zimbabwe, Brazil, Dubai, France, Austria, Australia, Egypt, Turkey, and Canada. She currently is authoring our weekly column on climate change.

In 1977, Anne became the first African American female in Atlanta to earn a private pilot’s license. Since then, she has developed aviation education programs for youth. In 2005, she organized African American female pilots’ visit to Chicago and Rue, France to honor Bessie Coleman and the men making it possible for her to become the world’s first licensed African American pilot in 1921. Her name is among those included on the Wall of Honor at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

*Attorney Sulton provides her articles and other services pro bono.

Mary Jackson,
Distribution Personnel

Diana Spann,
Distribution Personnel