History Month Programs
and fourth-grade classes from local and regional schools will travel to
Historic Jefferson College, Washington,
to learn about African American craftsman Nathan Bennett and the slave Ibrahima
on Saturday, February 1, through Friday, February 28. Sessions are free. For more
information call 601/ 442-2901.
and Thursdays, February 4 through 27, from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. to
noon, fourth- through ninth-grade students can take advantage of Black History
programs at the Old
Capitol Museum of Mississippi History, Jackson.
Reservations are required. For information,
call 601/ 359-6920.
Children ages five
to twelve are invited to learn about and make Victorian-style valentines on Monday,
February 10, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Manship House Museum, Jackson. It’s free,
but reservations are required. Call 601/ 961-4724.
Commission Files Online
files of the State Sovereignty Commission, sealed for over 20 years before being
reopened, are available for online search at the MDAH
Web site. Until now, researchers had to travel to the Archives and Library
Search Room to access the collection.
The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission was created in March 1956 by an act
of the Mississippi Legislature. For seventeen years, from 1956 to 1973, the commission
spied on civil rights workers, acted as a clearinghouse for information on civil
rights activities and legislation from around the nation, funneled money to pro-segregation
causes, and distributed right-wing propaganda.
Although the commission ceased to function
in 1973, the agency was not officially dissolved until 1977. In January 1977,
Mississippi legislators introduced bills to abolish the commission and authorized
its records be sealed at the Department of Archives and History until July 1,
2027. Legal challenges resulted in the bulk of the papers being opened to the
public on March 17, 1998. Subsequent releases on July 31, 2000, and January 18,
2001, completed the process and enabled the public to finally have access to the
commission’s files in electronic format in the Archives and Library Search Room.
Communities Join CLG Program
more communities have joined the Certified Local Government program in Mississippi,
bringing the total to 29. Lexington was certified on December 20, 2002. Before
that Columbia enrolled in the program on October 15 and Carrollton on September
The Certified Local Government
(CLG) program is a federal-state-local partnership that permits local governments
with historic preservation programs that meet both federal and state standards
to participate directly in the national historic preservation program.
The CLG program was designed to permit communities maximum flexibility in dealing
with diverse preservation needs and to reward those local governments that have
established commissions to address the preservation of their local historic treasures.
CLG communities receive special technical assistance and training from Mississippi
Department of Archives and History (MDAH) staff and may apply for grants-in-aid
to undertake historic preservation projects. MDAH annually distributes as CLG
grants at least ten percent of the funds received by the State of Mississippi
from the U.S. Department of the Interior through the national Historic Preservation
Fund. To learn more about the Certified Local Government program, contact Todd
Sanders in the Historic Preservation Division, MDAH, 601/359-6940 or visit the
80th birthday of William F. Winter will be
celebrated in events February 20 at the Old Capitol: “The
Future of Race in America” symposium at 2:30 p.m. and reception following
at 4:00 p.m. The public is cordially invited.
House on National Register
Welty House has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the nation’s
official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. In addition, the National
Register office is nominating the Eudora Welty House for designation as a National
Historic Landmark – a designation indicating exceptional historical significance.
"The Eudora Welty House is especially noteworthy
in literary history as the longtime home of Miss Welty and the place where all
her significant works were written," said Elbert R. Hilliard, director of
the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. "National Register listing
is an important recognition of Miss Welty’s legacy."
The two-story Tudor Revival-style residence was built in 1924-25 at 1119 Pinehurst
Street in Jackson, across the street from the southern border of Belhaven College.
In 1986 Welty made the decision that the Department of Archives and History should
have her house at her death, and the Department is now working, with the financial
support of the Eudora Welty Foundation, to establish the property as a living
tribute to Welty, a literary house museum that will interpret her life and work
to visitors from around the world.
National Register is administered by the National Park Service, which is part
of the U.S. Department of the Interior. For more information, visit www.cr.nps.gov/nr/.
Civil War Site Saved for Posterity
key battlefield and site in the Vicksburg Campaign of the Civil War has been transferred
to the Natchez Trace Parkway of the National Park Service. The Bailey Farm – formerly
the Dillon Plantation – a 470-acre tract in Hinds County, was signed over from
the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the Department of the Interior on January
9, 2003, in a ceremony at the historic St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Raymond.
MDAH staff documented the historical significance of the property during a routine
Section 106 Review (under the National Historic Preservation Act) of the USDA
project. USDA then decided to sign the property over to the Interior Department.
This site will be preserved and interpreted by the Natchez Trace Parkway as an
important component of the Mississippi Civil War Trails project.
Fran P. Mainella, director of the National Park Service, and Lou Gallegos, assistant
secretary of Agriculture for Administration spoke at the ceremony, presided over
by John L. Nau, III, chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.
On May 12, 1863, Generals Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman were headquartered
at the Dillon Plantation near Raymond and maneuvering Union forces to capture
Vicksburg. A sharp skirmish was fought in the area of the Dillon Plantation that
day while the Battle of Raymond raged nearby, as Confederate forces fought desperately
to stop the Union assault.
hearing of the favorable outcome of the Battle of Raymond, the two generals consulted.
Grant decided to change the route of the Union troops’ advance and elected to
move decisively against Jackson before turning on Vicksburg. This daring decision
resulted in the destruction of railroads and war materials in Jackson and forced
the retreat of a sizeable Confederate army, preventing it from joining the Vicksburg
defense—actions that assured Union success in the Vicksburg campaign and contributed
directly to the outcome of the Civil War.
MDAH Meet Its Mission
Department of Archives and History, mandated to collect materials related to the
history of Mississippi, could have a serious gap in the collection of new materials
produced during the current year—and maybe future years. Due to budget woes, the
Archives Library has had to eliminate purchases of books for the library collection.
MDAH friends are invited to consider providing memorial/honoraria gifts to help
the library staff maintain collection needs. Interested individuals can contact
collection development librarian Carolyn Woodley, who keeps a "wish list"
of titles. NEW BOOKS
Meeting Feb. 21-23
The next meeting
of the Mississippi Archaeological Association will be held in Hattiesburg February
21-23 at the Armed Forces Musem, Camp Shelby, and Baymont Inn (601/264-8380).
For a complete schedule of the meeting, please visit mdah.state.ms.us.