[Mississippi History Newsletter Online.]

A MDAH Publication  |  Volume 46 No. 2  |  February 2004

Monument Honors African Americans

On Saturday, February 14, 2004, at 10:30 a.m., a monument will be unveiled at the Vicksburg National Military Park commemorating the service of the 1st and 3d Mississippi Infantry Regiments, African Descent (re-designated the 51st and 53d U. S. Colored Troops or USCT, respectively and the participation of all Mississippians of African descent in the Vicksburg Campaign. The monument and dedication are sponsored by the Mississippi African American Monument Committee, the City of Vicksburg, and the Vicksburg National Military Park. A reception will follow the dedication.

This monument is the only monument in a national military park that honors the service of the USCT. Of the more than 200,000 USCT who served in the Civil War, ten percent were Mississippians. Descendants of the USCT will be recognized during the dedication. Descendants should confirm their ancestry and attendance by contacting the committee chair at usctmonument@yahoo.com.

The monument initiative was started in 1988 by Robert Major Walker, former mayor of Vicksburg and currently professor of history at Jackson State University and chair of the Mississippi African American Monument Committee. Dr. Kim Sessums of Brookhaven is the sculptor of the monument. The initiative received support from the African American Heritage Preservation Grant Program, administered by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History; the City of Vicksburg; and the National Park Service. For more information, contact the Vicksburg National Military Park at 601/ 636-0583.


Governor's Mansion Docent Luncheon

Front row (l-r): Sarah Flanagan, Annette Redden, Shirlee Lawson, Betty Douglass, MDAH Board member and chair of Governor's Mansion Committee Lynn Gammill, Andi McDaniel, Lynn Stuart, Mansion curator Mary Lohrenz, Ruby McLemore; second row: Sylvia Walker, Ruth Byars, Frances Kees, Sally Carmichael, Sister Simmons, Barbara Bell, Charlotte Watkins; third row: Carol Robertson, Lounette Williams, Jane Jones, Alice Carol Perry, Betty Lake, Doris McCullen; fourth row: Old Capitol Museum director Lucy Allen, Nell Jordan, Jeane Coulombe, Earline Raines, Lucy Bishop, Babs Sevier; fifth row: Lois Russell, Melanie McKinley, Buena Lee Huff, Frances VanZant, Eula Stanley, Doris Brickell, Dot Ward; back row: Charlotte Wallace, MDAH director Elbert R. Hilliard, Tom Bowen, Andrew Noland, Katie Varner. Docents not pictured: Jane Baird, Martha Ball, Melba Darras, Dot Fowler, Clytice Gardner, Sue McRoberts, Mary Louise Nosser.

February Events Around the State

Black History Month
On Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout February, from 9 to 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. to noon at the Old Capitol Museum of Mississippi History, Jackson, fourth- through ninth-grade students will tour the museum, learning about the contributions of African Americans to Mississippi history. Reservations required. For more information call 601/ 576-6920. Funding provided by BellSouth.

During February local and regional classes of first- and fourth-graders will make field trips to Historic Jefferson College, Washington, to learn about craftsman Nathan Bennett and the slave Ibrahima. For more information call 601/ 442-2901.

On Sunday, February 22, at 2:00 p.m., Alan Huffman, Bolton, will talk about his new book, Mississippi In Africa: The Saga of the Slaves of Prospect Hill Plantation and Their Legacy in Liberia Today, in the House of Representatives Chamber, Old Capitol Museum. Afterwards he will sign copies of the book, available at the Old Capitol Shop. For information call 601/ 576-6920.

Valentines
Children ages five to twelve are invited to learn about and make Victorian-style valentines on Thursday, February 12, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Manship House Museum, Jackson. Free of charge. Reservations required. For more information call 601/ 961-4724.

On Saturday, February 14, 7 to 10 p.m., at the Winterville Mounds, Greenville, Winterville historian Jan Taylor will discuss Native American Romance Rituals. Free of charge. For information call 662/ 334-4684.

Awards Ceremony
The Governor's Awards for Excellence in the Arts ceremonies will be held Friday, February 13, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Old Capitol Museum of Mississippi History, Jackson. Established in 1988, these awards recognize significant contributions to artistic life in Mississippi and are coordinated each year by the Mississippi Arts Commission. For more information call the Mississippi Arts Commission at 601/ 359-6090.

Docents Honored

Three retiring Governor's Mansion docents-Jeane Coulombe, Melba Darras, and Katie Varner-were recognized at the December 8 docent luncheon for their faithful service. Jeane Coulombe and Katie Varner, both of Jackson, served as Mansion docents for twenty years. Mrs. Darras, Grenada, served as Mansion hostess and her husband, Tommie, as Mansion chef during the administrations of Governors Winter and Allain and part of Governor Fordice's term. She then became a Mansion docent in the spring of 2000.


Lynching Photographs at JSU

Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America will be shown at Jackson State University January 30-July 4. John Allen and John Littlefield of Atlanta collected the 100 images in the exhibit, more than half of which are printed on postcards. Curator Turry Flucker said the exhibit also includes mementoes from the anti-lynching crusade, featuring information on Ida B. Wells, the Holly Springs native who campaigned internationally against lynchings. For information, call JSU at 601/979-2272.

 

Mississippi History NOW

For advance reading on the topic for the Mississippi Historical Society 2004 annual meeting—the Great Depression and the New Deal in Mississippi—visit Mississippi History NOW and read Martha Swain's article, "Women's Work Relief in the Great Depression," the feature article for February. Also of special interest as Mississippi inaugurates new governor Haley Barbour is the January feature, "Mississippi's Governors from 1817 to 2004," by David G. Sansing.


Historic Preservation Conference

Plan to attend the April 22-23, 2004, "Experience Mississippi" Historic Preservation Conference in Hattiesburg for educational sessions on historic Mississippi downtowns and a mobile workshop in historic downtown Hattiesburg. Professional preservationists will lead sessions and tours. The conference is sponsored by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and the Mississippi Heritage Trust.


Textiles Workshop

The "Nuts and Bolts of Caring for Your Textiles" workshop, sponsored by the Mississippi Museums Association, will be held Monday, April 19, at Historic Jefferson College, Washington, Mississippi. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m., and sessions at Jefferson College are from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. At 3:00 the group moves to the historic Natchez house, Rosalie, for a textile tour led by workshop leader Jessica Hack.

The workshop will focus on basic care, storage, and exhibition of textiles for private owners, historic houses, and museums. Cleaning, storage, and packing will be demonstrated as well as mounting flat textiles for exhibition and preparing mannequins.

The cost of the workshop, lunch included, is $45 to Mississippi Museums Association members who pre-register and pay by April 14, $60 on the day of the workshop. Nonmembers should add $15 to these fees.

Jessica Hack has been a textile conservator since 1979 and is recognized nationally for her work on Civil War flags and uniforms. The workshop is made possible in part by the Dan Silosky Award of the Southeastern Registrars Association. For information call 601/442-2901.


Historic Natchez Conference: February 11-14 in Natchez. Call 601/ 442-2500.

Natchez Literary/ Cinema Celebration: February 25-29 in Natchez. Call 866/ 296-6522.

Mississippi Historical Society: March 4-6 in Tupelo. Call 601/ 576-68549.


Thomas Lawrence Spengler,
1921-2004

Tom Spengler, Jackson advertising executive, actor, local historian and bon vivant, died January 15. He was a fifth-generation Jacksonian, and history was one of his many enthusiasms. He made a videotape, "The View from Here: Tom Spengler's History of Jackson 1820-1900," to benefit the Jackson Friends of Library. Copies are still available for purchase. Spengler was a regular in New Stage Theatre plays, and in the 1950s he performed the role of Uncle Daniel Ponder in Eudora Welty's play The Ponder Heart. Spengler cultivated a wide circle of friends, and counted Welty among them.


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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