[Mississippi History Newsletter Online.]

A MDAH Publication  |  Volume 45 No. 6  |  June 2003

A Capitol Celebration! June 3

Centennial Gala

On Tuesday, June 3, at 11 a.m., a historical recreation of the 1903 dedication of Mississippi's "New" Capitol will kick off the centennial celebration (earlier event date of June 3-4 has been changed to June 3). Centennial Committee co-chairs Senator Hillman Frazier and Representative Mary Ann Stevens report that Lester Senter Wilson will sing the national anthem; Grammy award-winning R&B star Dorothy Moore will sing "America, the Beautiful" and "God Bless America"; noted actor John Maxwell will reenact portions of Governor A. H. Longino's 1903 speech; and retired United Methodist bishop Clay F. Lee will reenact excerpts from the address of Bishop Charles B. Galloway at the 1903 dedication. After the cutting of a giant birthday cake, special tours of the capitol will be given. Commemorative booklets, postcards, and new, full-color guides to the capitol will be distributed.

Opening the Mississippi Picnic and Concert, from 5 to 8 p.m., will be Governor Ronnie Musgrove, Lieutenant Governor Amy Tuck, and Speaker of the House Tim Ford. The Honorable Ed Perry, House clerk, will present the famous 1952 speech of Noah S. "Soggy" Sweat, Jr. Mississippians will bring specialty foods from their regions-Hills, Delta, Capitol/River, Piney Woods, and Gulf Coast-and offer samples, including catfish, gumbo, sweet potato dishes, and barbecue. Food will also be available from concession vendors, and guests are invited to bring a picnic. The Mississippi Musical Revue-Mississippi musicians Raphael Semmes, voted Jackson 2002 Musician of the Year, veteran R&B singer Jewel Bass, and legendary bluesman Jesse Robinson-will perform music made world famous by Mississippi musicians. For more information, call 601/ 359-6850.


Pride of the Fleet at Old Capitol

The stories of the four U.S. Navy ships that carried the name USS Mississippi are told in a new exhibit to open June 1 at the Old Capitol Museum of Mississippi History: Pride of the Fleet: The USS Mississippi.

The first USS Mississippi was commissioned in 1841, the last decommissioned in 1997. Pride of the Fleet will showcase naval uniforms, flags, ship memorabilia, photos, and detailed models of the four Mississippis, as well as rare film footage of the ships.

"We are proud to have developed this exhibit for the Old Capitol Museum," said director Lucy Allen. "During their service the Mississippis fought in conflicts across the globe and helped in the development of naval technologies."

Present from the beginnings of the steam navy to the firing of guided missiles in the Gulf War, these four ships and their sailors have achieved a lasting place in naval history and earned the title "Pride of the Fleet." Pride of the Fleet will be the first original exhibit by the Old Capitol Museum to feature artifacts acquired through the museum's affiliation with the Smithsonian Institution. A dispatch box, medal, and wallet originally belonging to Commodore Matthew Perry are on loan from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American history. As a Smithsonian Affiliate, the Old Capitol enjoys greater access to Smithsonian collections and resources.

After the exhibit closes November 9, 2003, some components of Pride of the Fleet will be relocated to the Senate Chamber for permanent display. Admission is free. For more information, call the museum at 601/ 359-6920.


 

Hilliard Announces Retirement Date

Elbert R. Hilliard, MDAH director since 1973, announced April 25 his plans to retire on January 1, 2004. The announcement was made to MDAH Board of Trustees and staff, according to William F. Winter, board president. "Elbert Hilliard leaves a legacy of service as director of the Department of Archives and History that is almost unprecedented in state government," Winter said, "not only for the length of that service but for the professional leadership that made him such a universally respected figure. It is going to be extremely difficult to find anyone to succeed him who combines his extensive knowledge of Mississippi history with the tireless dedication that he brought to his work. It has been a great privilege for me to have been associated with him during the period in which he served as director."

A native of Nitta Yuma in Sharkey County, Hilliard received his bachelor's degree from Delta State College and his master's degree in history from Mississippi State University. After teaching history for six years, he joined the staff of the Department of Archives and History on July 1, 1965. He became director of the Division of Historic Sites and Archaeology in 1970 and Department director in July of 1973. He has served as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Mississippi History and as the secretary-treasurer of the Mississippi Historical Society since 1973. He is the longest-serving active state historic preservation officer in the nation.


Juneteenth Celebration

A Juneteenth celebration will be held at the Central Mississippi College auditorium in Kosciusko on Thursday, June 26, at 5 p.m. The special guest performer will be jazz artist Dr. Ron Myers. For more information, call Doris Davis, 662/ 289-3725.


Obituaries

Teddy Edwards, 1925-2003

Teddy Edwards, a tenor saxophonist who helped create bebop music on the West Coast, has died at the age of 78. The Jackson native moved to Detroit as a teenager and began playing alto sax. During World War II, he settled in Los Angeles and switched to tenor sax. He is widely credited with creating the first bop solo for tenor sax on the recording Up in Dodo's Room. His Blues for Teddy's Flat, recorded for Dial Records, is a jazz standard. Teddy Edwards performed with bassist Milt Hinton in 1990 as part of programs organized by MDAH in conjunction with the Old Capitol exhibit All Shook Up: Mississippi Roots of American Popular Music.


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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