Black Codes to Brown v. Board at Old Capitol
Using the tumultuous history of the building as a starting point, the Old Capitol Museum will present The Black Codes to Brown vs. Board of Education on Thursday, February 20, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Authors Jere Nash and Michael Williams will discuss the struggle for civil and voting rights from 1865 to 1955 in the House Chamber where legislators enacted the 1865 Black Codes to limit the rights of the newly freed slaves, where those same newly freed slaves served in the Legislature during Reconstruction, and where the 1890 Constitution was adopted to disfranchise black Mississippians.
“One can’t fully understand the modern civil rights movement without a firm grasp of the issues and events that occurred right after the Civil War to the 1950s,” said Clay Williams, director, Old Capitol Museum. “I hope this will become an annual event where we can examine key issues like the Black Codes, Constitution of 1890, and Jim Crow that led to the need for the Civil Rights Movement.”
Jere Nash is a political consultant and has served as director of Common Cause in Mississippi, executive director of Mississippi First, deputy state auditor, and director of policy and chief of staff for former Gov. Ray Mabus.
Michael Williams is the dean of social sciences at Tougaloo College and an adjunct professor of history and African American studies at Mississippi State University. He is also the author of the biography Medgar Evers: Mississippi Martyr. For more information about the program, call 601-576-6920.
Natchez Powwow March 29-30 at Grand Village
Traditional Native American dancing, singing, and fun come to the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians for the twenty-sixth annual Natchez Powwow on March 29 and 30. Last year more than 3,500 people attended the event.
“The Grand Village offers a truly unique setting for a powwow,” said Jim Barnett, director of the Grand Village. “We are proud to play a role in honoring the state’s Native American heritage.”
There will be gourd dancing, grand entry, and intertribal dancing both days. Tribes represented include the Choctaw, Commanche, Natchez, Osage, and Tonka. Dance groups include Gulf Coast Tiapiah (Texas), White Star (Indiana), and Wounded Warrior (Louisiana).
Steve Kinder of Gladstone, Missouri, will serve as master of ceremonies, and Darsh DeSilva of Round Rock, Texas, will be arena director. Head Singer Kevin Dawes from Baxter Springs, Kansas, will handle the Southern Drum. Pete Littlecook of Ponca City Oklahoma will be Head Gourd Dancer, and Tara Bryant from Goode, Virginia will be Head Lady Dancer.
Craft and food booths will open at 10 a.m. on March 29 and 11 a.m. on March 30. Bring your lawn chairs. Powwow participants are allowed to camp on the grounds. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for ages twelve and under. The Grand Village is located at 400 Jefferson Davis Boulevard, Natchez. For more information call 601-446-6502, or contact Powwow committee chairman Chuck Borum at 601-442-0200 or email@example.com.
History of Old Capitol Subject of Program
At noon on Wednesday, March 12, as part of the History Is Lunch Series, Mike Stoll and Clay Williams will examine the history of the Old Capitol, Jackson’s oldest building, with “The Old Capitol: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.”
Williams and Stoll will cover well-known events such as the secession convention and constitutional conventions as well as lesser-known but significant legislation and statesmen, and the building’s later uses as a state office building and history museum. The pair will touch on many of the odd stories involving ghosts, strange speeches, or building catastrophes.
Clay Williams has been director of the Old Capitol Museum since 2008 and an employee with MDAH since 1999. Mike Stoll has been education historian at the Old Capitol Museum since October 2010. He previously worked at the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History.
This program will be held in the Old Capitol Museum.
Unless otherwise noted, History Is Lunch programs are held on the first floor of the William F. Winter Archives and History Building. Throughout March the series will move to the Old Capitol Museum and presentations will focus on that site in honor of its 175th anniversary.
March 19: Millsaps College assistant professor of history Stephanie Rolph will discuss civil and voting rights with “A Century of Voting in Mississippi.” This program will be held in the Old Capitol Museum.
March 26: MDAH Museum Division director Lucy Allen will discuss the museum history of the Old Capitol with “From Mummies to Modern Day: The State History Museum.” This program will be held in the Old Capitol Museum.
April 2: MDAH Historic Resources Specialist Caroline Gray-Primer will present “The Life and Sacrifice of PFC Milton L. Olive III.”
April 9: musician Stephen Wade will explore through live music, historical images, and narrative the stories behind his new book The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience, will talk about the banjo tradition in Mississippi and the South. This program will be held in the Old Capitol Museum.
April 16: William Heath will discuss his book on Freedom Summer, The Children Bob Moses Led.
April 23: Writer Ellen Ann Fentress will present “Reporting on the Reporter: The Bill Minor Project.”
April 30: MDAH historians Amanda Lyons and Will Morgan present the third installment in their series on the Dutch Fliers. This program will be held in the Old Capitol Museum.
May 7: MDAH historian Jeff Giambrone will present “To Die by the Flag Rather than Disgrace It: Black Mississippians Who Served in the Union Army During the Civil War.” This program will be held in the Old Capitol Museum.
May 14: Sade Turnipseed, Delta Renaissance, will present “The Legacy of the Cotton Pickers of the South.”
May 21: MDAH volunteer staff coordinator Elizabeth Coleman will report on the varied roles of volunteers at MDAH sites.
For more information about any of these programs, contact the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.
Mounds Trail To Highlight Indian Heritage
A driving route due to be completed by year’s end will link more than forty American Indian sites in the Delta and give motorists a glimpse into ancient cultures. The Mississippi Mounds Trail will run through fifteen counties and highlight the engineering genius and artistic vision of the people who created these earthworks hundreds of years before Columbus first came ashore in the Caribbean.
The first sites on the trail are in DeSoto County in the northernmost part of the state. The Mississippi Delta is home to more than one thousand mound sites—far more than could be included in any single tour. The trail closes in Wilkinson County, on the Louisiana state line.
The mounds at the Grand Village in Natchez, at Pocahontas between Jackson and Yazoo City, and at Winterville Mounds near Greenville will be directly accessible to the public. All the other sites will have interpretive signage at a nearby pull-off, but not all mounds will be visible from the road at all times of the year, and no other mounds will be open for the public to walk or climb on.
“Most of these mounds are privately owned,” said Pam Lieb, MDAH chief archaeologist. “This driving trail gives people the opportunity to experience this rich aspect of the region’s history in a systematic way that has not been possible up to now. They have been a secret treasure hiding in plain sight, in the case of each of these just a few yards from a public road.”
The highway department has situated each pull-off to balance visibility of the mounds with absolute safety for the motorists. A driving tour brochure and smart phone application will provide a map and additional information about the history of each site.
“This project has given the state the opportunity to conduct new research to help us better understand life in the area during the times these mounds were built,” said Lieb. “Just as important, the mounds trail has the additional benefit of helping the landowners preserve the earthworks as archaeologists have provided technical services.”
Construction of the first pull-offs has begun, and the first signage is expected to be installed in the coming months. The Mississippi Mounds Trail is a joint project of MDAH, Mississippi Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Mississippi Lower Delta Partnership, and local American Indian tribes.
Mystery Theater at Old Capitol January 23
The Old Capitol is many things to many people: Mississippi’s most historic space, an architectural gem, and one of the state’s premier history museums. But after hours on January 23, 2014, the building will transform into a crime scene—complete with an outrageous heist, red herrings, and screwball fun—with Mystery Happened Here: An Evening of Intrigue at the Old Capitol.
The event will feature wine and heavy hors d’oeuvres, the opportunity to view one-night-only “artifacts,” and a program by our dinner theater performers, The Detectives.
“Mystery Happened Here will be unlike any other program we’ve had at the Old Capitol,” said Old Capitol director Clay Williams. “We think it will appeal to regular museum-goers as well as people who’ve never visited the site.”
Doors will open for the event at 5:30 p.m., which will end at 8 p.m. Tickets are $40 apiece at 601-576-6920 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MDAH Holiday Calendar of Events
Enjoy the holiday events at the sites of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History—from model trains to Christmas trees to stories for little ones.
Through December 20 at the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion, Jackson. Christmas at the Governor’s Mansion. The historic section of the Governor’s Mansion features traditional holiday decorations using seasonal greenery. Free guided tours are offered Tuesday through Friday, 9:30 to 11 a.m. on the half-hour. (Closed weekends and Mondays.) Reservations must be made in advance for groups of ten or more. The Governor’s Mansion will be closed for tours from Tuesday, December 24, through Friday, January 3, 2014. The Mansion may be closed at other times during the month for official state functions. To confirm the availability of the Mansion for tours or for information, call 601-359-6421.
Through December 31 at the William F. Winter Archives and History Building, Jackson. Winter Holidays. Enjoy the model trains of Possum Ridge and period toys and Christmas trees. Exhibit open Mondays, noon–4:30; Tuesday–Friday, 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. and Saturdays, 9 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Reservations required for groups of ten or more. Closed December 24-25. For more information or to make a reservation, call 601-576-6800.
Through December 31 at the Old Capitol Museum, Jackson. Years of Yuletide: Christmas in Jackson. From the 1950 Jackson Christmas Parade to ornaments and toys, this exhibit offer a glimpse of how Jackson has celebrated, and still celebrates, one of its most beloved holidays. Included are photos from the 1940s to the present and artifacts including a camera given as a gift in 1917. For more information call 601-576-6920.
December 5, 12, and 19, 10 a.m. at the Old Capitol Museum, Jackson. Telling Tales. Join us for story time with the Cat in the Hat on December 5; Stephanie Maxwell of WAPT on December 12, and First Lady Deborah Bryant on December 19. For more information call 601-576-6920 or email email@example.com.
December 13 and 14, noon at the Old Capitol Museum, Jackson. Sounds of the Season. Enjoy local choirs in the Old Capitol Museum’s rotunda. On December 13 the Jim Hill High School Choir will perform. On December 14 Covenant Presbyterian Handbell Choir and Baker Elementary School Choir will perform. For more information call 601-576-6920 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Through December 31 at Historic Jefferson College, Washington. Celebration of Christmas Trees. Local school groups and home educators adopt Christmas trees and decorate them for class projects. For more information call 601-442-2901 or email email@example.com.
December 14, 2 p.m. at Winterville Mounds, Greenville. Holiday Open House. There will be singing, food, punch, good cheer, and Christmas presents for the children. The public is encouraged to donate Christmas lights and/or outdoor extension cords, which can be dropped off at any time. Free. For more information call 662-334-4684 or email firstname.lastname@example.org..
Nearly $3 Million in Preservation Grants Awarded
At a special meeting on December 6 the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History awarded grants totaling $2,980,194 to twenty-six preservation and restoration projects from across the state. The Community Heritage Preservation grant program, authorized and funded through the Mississippi Legislature, helps preserve and restore historic courthouses and schools and, in Certified Local Government communities, other historic properties. Over the life of the program the department has awarded more than $27 million in Community Heritage Preservation grants to 170 projects.
“We are grateful to the Legislature for again providing funds for the preservation of historic structures,” said Jim Woodrick, MDAH Historic Preservation director. “Although there are always more requests than funds available, we have been able to give much-needed assistance to communities across the state.”
The grant awards are as follows:
Auburn Kitchen Dependency, Natchez, Adams County—$157,688. For roof repair and interior restoration.
Natchez Institute, Natchez, Adams County—$134,000. For installation of a fire suppression system.
Amite County Courthouse, Liberty, Amite County—$181,736. For restoration of original courtroom and exterior.
Bolivar County Courthouse, Cleveland, Bolivar County—$164,000. For roof repair of original courthouse and jail
Port Gibson City Hall, Port Gibson, Claiborne County—$166,280. For repair of roof and interior plaster.
Clarke County Courthouse, Quitman, Clarke County—$72,160. For replacement of the courthouse roof.
Millsaps Hotel, Hazlehurst, Copiah County—$176,160. For replacement of roof and restoration of porch and windows.
Old Cockrum School House, Hernando, Desoto County—$80,000. For the stabilization of roof and floor.
Grenada Masonic Temple, Grenada, Grenada County—$69,152. For restoration of thirty-four windows.
Fortenberry-Parkman Farmstead, Jackson, Hinds County—$140,276. For restoration of the main house and five log outbuildings.
James Observatory, Hinds County—$167,860. For the restoration of the observatory and telescope.
Durant Depot North Building, Durant, Holmes County—$69,600. For roof repair and architect drawings.
Gautier Colored School, Gautier, Jackson County—$80,000. For stabilization of the building.
LaPointe Krebs House, Pascagoula, Jackson County—$266,140. For stabilization and restoration of the building envelope.
Old Carthage Elementary School, Carthage, Leake County—$80,000. For installation of electrical and HVAC systems.
Spain House, Tupelo, Lee County—$120,000. For replacement of roof and reconstruction of footings and portico.
Old Greenwood-Leflore Library, Greenwood, Leflore County—$136,242. For restoration of the 1914 building interior.
Stephen D. Lee House, Columbus, Lowndes County—$40,000. For a ramp that meets Americans with Disabilities Act standards.
Historic Canton High School, Canton, Madison County—$100,000. For restoration of masonry.
Columbia Waterworks, Columbia, Marion County—$161,280. For replacement of roof.
Chalmers Institute, Holly Springs, Marshall County—$80,000. For replacement of roof and rehabilitation of interior.
Carnegie Auditorium, Holly Springs, Marshall County—$400,000. For stabilization of building for future restoration.
Philadelphia Police Station, Philadelphia, Neshoba County—$129,520. For roof replacement and correction of drainage issues.
Noxubee County Jails, Macon, Noxubee County—$62,400. For restoration of jails for use as library and offices.
Tippah County Confederate Monument, Ripley, Tippah County—$15,700. For repair, restoration and preservation of monument.
Washington County Courthouse, Greenville, Washington County—$100,000. For restoration of window fanlights.
The Board of Trustees of the Department of Archives and History determined the grant recipients at a special meeting on December 6. Grant awards are paid on a reimbursable basis upon the successful completion of the entire project or at the time of the completion of pre-established phases of the project. Prior to application all buildings must have been designated Mississippi Landmarks. Only county or municipal governments, school districts, and nonprofit organizations granted Section 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service may submit applications. In reviewing and evaluating the grants, the Board of Trustees of MDAH attempted to balance the geographical distribution of grant awards.
To become a Certified Local Government, a community must adopt a preservation ordinance establishing a preservation commission in accordance with federal and state guidelines. Once the commission has been established, application for CLG status may be made to the National Park Service through the Department of Archives and History. MDAH works closely with local government officials and citizens to help them create and manage a workable local historic preservation program. To learn more about the CLG program, contact Aileen de la Torre in the Historic Preservation Division of MDAH, 601-576-6937.
Bicentennial Announcement at Statehood Day
On Thursday, December 10, Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves, Speaker of the House Philip Gunn, and other officials will unveil the official plan to commemorate Mississippi’s bicentennial in 2017 at the fifth annual Statehood Day program at the Old Capitol.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to honor the people and places that represent the heart of our state and to reflect on our rich heritage, unparalleled history, and numerous accomplishments,” said Reeves. “Mississippi has much to be proud of since the first statehood convention was held at Jefferson College two hundred years ago. What better way to showcase our state’s diverse population and unique culture than with this historic celebration of the birth of our great state.”
The Mississippi Bicentennial Celebration Commission will oversee the state’s activities and continue to develop the plans to commemorate the event as the year approaches. “The Bicentennial celebration for Mississippi in 2017 should be on everyone’s calendars,” said Gunn. “Various events held throughout the state during 2017 will provide Mississippians of all ages with multiple opportunities to learn more about the many histories that comprise our state, the people, the food, the music, the art.”
“This is a great day as we move forward in celebrating our statehood and reflect on all that makes Mississippi a truly special place,” said Mississippi governor Phil Bryant. “This celebration will allow us to remember those who have gone before us and paved a way to a better Mississippi and nation.”
The Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum will be the centerpiece of the state’s celebration and the most significant bricks-and-mortar project of the bicentennial “Opening in 2017, the museums will bring Mississippians together to celebrate our rich culture, explore our shared past, and meet the opportunities and challenges of our future,” said MDAH director H.T. Holmes. “I can think of no better way for us to launch our next century of statehood.”
Statehood Day will begin at noon in the historic House of Representatives chamber. The public is invited. For more information about the Mississippi Bicentennial Celebration Commission, contact MDAH at 601-576-6545 or email@example.com.
Christmas by Candlelight Tour Dec. 6
Traditional holiday decorations will be on display at the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion, Old Capitol Museum, Mississippi State Capitol, Eudora Welty House and Garden, and William F. Winter Archives and History Building on Friday, December 6 for the eighteenth annual Old Jackson Christmas by Candlelight Tour. Free transportation will take visitors from site to site, with parking available at the Old Capitol, state capitol, and Winter Building. The tour begins at 4:30 and runs until 8:30.
This year a Christmas tree returns to the Old Capitol, Jackson’s oldest building, along with many of the ornaments visitors may remember from years past. Garlands will hang around the rotunda railing on the second floor and the stairwells, and wreaths will decorate the exterior of the building. Enjoy cookies and punch while listening to musical groups from across the city. Old Capitol holiday ornaments and gift bags will be for sale at the new Candlelight Marketplace.
Musical entertainment at the Old Capitol:
4:40—East Rankin Choir
7:10—Madison-Ridgeland Young Singers
The Hinds Community College Brass Ensemble will perform at 8 p.m. and between choir sets.
At the Winter Building, the 1950s and 60s aluminum Christmas tree will be on display along with Antebellum, Victorian, and Depression-era trees. The ever-popular model town of Possum Ridge and its trains will be on display on the first floor of the Winter Building. Characters from A Special Visitor Comes to Possum Ridge will read from the children’s book inspired by the train exhibit.
Musical entertainment at the Winter Building:
4:45—First Presbyterian Day School Fifth-Grade Choir
5:30—Baker Elementary School Fourth and Fifth Grade Choir
6:15—Tim Avalon and Friends
The grand Mississippi State Capitol will be decorated with Mississippi-grown Leyland Cypress Christmas trees, garlands, and poinsettias, and the offices of the governor, lieutenant governor, and Speaker of the House will be open to visitors. Musical entertainment will be the Christmas Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Bob Davidson, director of Senate Legislative Services, and refreshments will be served.
The circa-1841 Mississippi Governor’s Mansion will be decorated with seasonal greenery. The East Garden will be open, and a very special guest from the North Pole will greet visitors in the garden’s gazebo. Light refreshments will be served.
The Eudora Welty House and Garden will feature original holiday greeting cards and decorations, as well as enlarged photos of the Welty family during the holiday season. This year’s collection of holiday cards includes a unique long, hand painted greeting by artist Agnes Simms, whose modernist painting Rome hangs above the living room mantel. Cards from President and Mrs. Clinton, author Kathryn Anne Porter, poet laureate William Jay Smith, and others will be on display.
Visitors may tour the first floor of the House and stop by the Visitor Center for hot cider and homemade white fruitcake baked by volunteers using Miss Welty’s recipe, while listening to classical, jazz, and Brazilian music performed by guitarist Leonnardo Moreira and cellist Marcelo Vieira.
For more information about the Old Jackson Christmas by Candlelight Tour call 601-576-6800.
$500K Grant Awarded for Webster Courthouse
At its regular quarterly meeting in Jackson on October 25, the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History awarded a grant of $500,000 for the Webster County Courthouse. The board also approved three new Mississippi Landmark designations and eight new State Historical Markers.
Built in 1915 the Webster County Courthouse was one of architect N.W. Overstreet’s first designs in Mississippi. On January 17, 2013, an early morning fire severely damaged the Neo-Classical structure. A $500,000 Community Heritage Preservation Grant will fund the stabilization of the building’s walls and reconstruction of the roof.
Mississippi Landmark designation was approved for First Christian Church, Monroe County; Antioch Colored School, Tippah County; and the Leland Main Street Bridge in Washington County. Mississippi Landmark designation is the highest form of recognition given to properties by the state and offers the fullest protection against changes that might alter a site’s historic character.
State Historical Markers were approved for Shubuta United Methodist Church, Clarke County; Kamper Park Pavilion, Forrest County; Bishop Charles H. Mason, Holmes County; Dr. Arenia C. Mallory, Holmes County; Camp Jefferson Davis, Jackson County; Laurel City Hall, Jones County; New Sight Consolidated School, Lincoln County; and Mississippi Normal Institute, Pontotoc County. The state historical marker program identifies and interprets important historic sites across the state.
Members of the board of trustees are Kane Ditto, president; E. Jackson Garner, vice presdient; Reuben V. Anderson, Jackson; Nancy Carpenter, Columbus; Valencia Hall, Natchez; Betsey Hamilton, New Albany; Web Heidelberg, Hattiesburg; Hilda Cope Povall, Cleveland; and Roland Weeks, Biloxi.
The Mississippi Department of Archives and History is the second-oldest state department of archives and history in the United States. The department collects, preserves, and provides access to the archival resources of the state, administers museums and historic sites, and oversees statewide programs for historic preservation, state and local government records management, and publications. The department is headquartered in the state-of-the-art William F. Winter Archives and History Building, located on the corner of North and Amite Streets in downtown Jackson. For more information call 601-576-6850 or see the MDAH Web site, www.mdah.state.ms.us.