[Mississippi History Newsletter Online.]

A MDAH Publication  |  Volume 46 No. 8  |  August 2004

Catch Up with New Books

Mississippi Women: Their Histories, Their Lives presents seventeen fascinating life stories, ranging from Felicité Girodeau of old Natchez—both a person of color and a slaveholder—to Vera Mae Pigee, who "mothered" the civil rights movement in Mississippi. Some are well known, others prominent in their time but faded since into obscurity; some have never received the attention they deserve. Among the seventeen are Eudora Welty, Kate Freeman Clark, Margaret Walker Alexander, and Fannie Lou Hamer. Editors of the book are Martha H. Swain, Elizabeth Anne Payne, and Marjorie Julian Spruill, with Susan Ditto as associate editor. It is the first of two volumes documenting the Mississippi Women's History Project, presenting recent scholarship on the achievements and experiences of women in Mississippi over the last four centuries: this volume is biographical, focusing on the lives of individuals. The second volume will be topical. From the University of Georgia Press, cloth $44.95, paper $22.95.

Now available in paper for the first time, Triumph & Defeat: The Vicksburg Campaign encapsulates the complex and decisive campaign to capture the city of Vicksburg and sever the Confederacy. Author Terrence Winschel, chief historian, Vicks-burg National Military Park, weaves a professional lifetime of personal experience and study. His chapters cover every major aspect of what many consider to have been the decisive military achievement of the war—the capture of "The Gibraltar of the Confederacy." Many maps and photographs are included. From Savas Batie, $16.95.

An important but little-known aspect of the civil rights movement is explored in Radio and the Struggle for Civil Rights in the South by Brian Ward. "The great achievement of this book," writes University of Mississippi history professor Ted Ownby, "is to detail, place by place, what radio meant to southerners, especially black southerners, in the civil rights years. It excels at showing the potential of radio to unify people, to get out information, to dramatize and uphold cultural ideals, to entertain…." From University Press of Florida, cloth, $39.95.


August Events

Freedom Summer Revisited
On the 40th anniversary of Freedom Summer, civil rights activists are retracing the freedom riders' bus route throughout the South. On Thursday, August 19, the Freedom Summer Bus will be at the Old Capitol Museum 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and will set up special exhibits on the Old Capitol Green. Elected officials and civil rights leaders will speak in the House chamber for the program Voices of Civil Rights from 10 a.m. to noon. Sponsored by the AARP and the Old Capitol Museum. For more information call 601/576-6920.

Flood of 1927 Remembered
Greenville historian Princella Nowell will present Dear Diary: The Story of the Great Flood of 1927, using firsthand accounts of the disastrous flood, at the Old Capitol Museum on August 29 at 2:30 p.m. The program is in conjunction with the Old Capitol Museum exhibit Two Rivers Unleashed. For more information call 601/576-6920.

Native American Arts
Chickasaw Indians from Ada, Oklahoma, will demonstrate traditional songs and dances and stickball and tell stories on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, August 14- 15, at Winterville Mounds, Greenville, as a part of the Highway One Heritage Festival. It's free. For more information, call 662/ 378-5559.


Major Exhibit July-Oct. at Delta Blues Museum

Sweet Home Chicago: Big City Blues 1946-1966, a major exhibition developed by the Experience Music Project in Seattle, Washington, is coming home to Clarksdale, where it all began. Showing at the Delta Blues Museum, the exhibit includes over 200 artifacts, including Howlin' Wolf's 1950 stage jacket and harmonica, and guitars used by Tampa Red, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and Eric Clapton. Special features of Sweet Home Chicago are radio clips—over fifty—of rare recordings of and oral history interviews with blues musicians and producers and films containing rare footage of blues performers at home and abroad.

The exhibit is just one of the ways the Delta Blues Museum is celebrating its 25th anniversary, said director Shelley Ritter.

Sweet Home Chicago: Big City Blues 1946-1966 shows July 16 - October 15, 2004. The Delta Blues Museum is open to the public 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday - Saturday. Admission is $7 for adults. An audio guide is available for an additional charge of $3. Special rates are available for groups of twenty or more, and discounts are offered for seniors and college students. For more information contact the Delta Blues Museum at 662/ 627-6820.

New Books (continued)

In a moving and personal memoir, Displaced Person: A Girl's Life in Russia, Germany and America, Ella E. Schneider Hilton tells of her arduous life in Europe and her shock to find that in America—Holly Springs, Mississippi—her family's suffering continued, as they picked cotton and lived in poverty. It was not until she arrived at Belhaven College in Jackson that she began to thrive for the first time. From Louisiana State University Press, cloth, $34.95.

Teachers, students, and civil war buffs will be interested in John C. Waugh's 20 Good Reasons to Study the Civil War. Essays back up each reason, which include "It was a watershed in American history," "It revolutionized war on the water," " It was a war of political oddities," "It produced men of fabulous fortunes," and " It was unique." The foreword is by Jim Lehrer of PBS. From McWhiney Foundation Press, paper, $12.95.

A Bachelor's Life in Antebellum Mississippi: The Diary of Dr. Elijah Millington Walker, 1849-1852, edited by Lynette Boney Wrenn, reveals the personal and professional life of an ambitious young physician living in Oxford during his medical apprenticeship. Walker's style of writing is engaging, and his observations about women, politics, medicine, slavery, and the passing scene provide valuable insights. From the University of Tennessee Press, cloth, $34.

Between Midnight & Day: The Last Unpublished Blues Archive features Dick Waterman's remarkable photographs of some of the greatest blues and rock artists, including Mississippi John Hurt, Muddy Waters, B. B. King, Lightning Hopkins, Chuck Berry, Otha Turner, Taj Mahal, Janis Joplin, and others. From Thunder's Mouth Press, paper, $29.95.

Paul V. Canonici examines the pursuit by Italian immigrants of "the better life" in Mississippi—and their struggles against mosquitoes, floods, prejudice, and more—in The Delta Italians. More than 250 photographs are included. From Calo Creative Designs, cloth, $49.95. Send payment along with $3.50 tax (Miss. Residents only) and $5 shipping to P. O. Box 2207, Madison, MS 39120.

Slavery and the American South, edited by Winthrop D. Jordan, collects essays by outstanding scholars who offer new examinations of the culture of southern slavery. From University Press of Mississippi, cloth, $45.

Slavery and Frontier Mississippi, 1720-1835, by David J. Libby, reveals the hard reality of slavery as compared with that of popular myth. Draconian responses to the 1835 slave conspiracy in Madison County are examined. This is the first comprehensive history of slavery in the state since Charles Sydnor's Slavery in Mississippi (1933). From University of Mississippi Press, cloth, $40.

William Wells Brown (1814-1884), a former slave and abolitionist leader, wrote the first military history of African Americans, The Negro in the American Rebellion, which assailed the hatred and ignorance that kept blacks oppressed after Appomattox. A critical edition has been published by Ohio University Press in which John David Smith, graduate alumni distinguished professor of history at North Carolina State University, frames the book within recent scholarship on slavery, emancipation, and African American participation in the U.S. Army. Paper, $24.95.


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Published by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History • Elbert R. Hilliard, director • Chrissy Wilson, editor
Please send correspondence to: MHN, P.O. Box 571, Jackson, MS 39205 or email to pubinfo@mdah.state.ms.us