[Mississippi History Newsletter Online.]

A MDAH Publication  |  Volume 46 No. 6  |  June 2004

WLBT and Civil Rights

A panel will discuss the case examined in a new book, Changing Channels: The Civil Rights Case that Transformed Television, by Kay Mills, at the Old Capitol Museum of Mississippi History, Jackson, on Thursday, June 10, 1 to 3 p.m.

In her book Mills explores the battle that sparked social reform throughout American broadcasting. In 1964 a group of black citizens charged WLBT-TV with failure to give fair coverage to civil rights and integration issues. "Until the WLBT case, blacks in Mississippi saw only distorted pictures of their lives on television," writes Mills.

The ensuing legal struggle lasted more than fifteen years and ended in victory for civil rights. Aaron Henry became the station's chairman of the board, and WLBT's new general manager, William Dilday, was the first black person in the South to hold such a position.

Author Mills will moderate a discussion with WLBT anchor Maggie Wade, former station manager William Dilday, former owner Charles Young, and current vice president and general manager Dan Modisett. Mills will sign copies of the book, published by University Press of Mississippi, following the program. For more information call 601/ 576-6920. The program is sponsored by the Mississippi Humanities Council, University Press of Mississippi, WLBT, and the Old Capitol Museum of Mississippi History.

MDAH Events Around the State

The Summer Film Series at the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, Natchez, offers free educational films and videos every other Tuesday during June and July, at 3 p.m. Scheduled are The Tribes of the Southeast on June 8, The Natives of the Southwest on June 22, The Nations of the Northeast on July 6, and The Tribal People of the Northwest on July 20. For more information call 601/ 446-6502.

In Manships Abroad, the Manship House Museum, Jackson, examines the Manship family's tour of parts of Europe in 1874 and what travel was like for middle-class southern families of that era. The exhibit opens Tuesday, June 8, and runs through Saturday, August 28. The exhibit is free, but reservations are required for groups of ten or more. For reservations or information, call 601/ 961-4724.

Music at the Mounds will be held Saturday, June 19, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Winterville Mounds Museum, Greenville. The popular Winterville Mounds music event is free and will feature various music groups from around the Delta. For more information call 662/ 334-4684.

During Pioneer Week, June 21 through June 25, at Historic Jefferson College, Washington, daily sessions introduce children between the ages of eight and twelve to pioneer skills and activities, including bread making, spinning and weaving, use of pioneer tools and weapons, and old-time fiddling. There is a registration fee. For more information call 601/ 442-2901.

Programs and books offered in conjunction with anniversaries of the Brown v. Board of Education decision and Freedom Summer:

A Summer Social Studies Teachers Workshop, The Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi, will be held Tuesday, June 15, 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Old Capitol Museum of Mississippi History, Jackson, in conjunction with the Unsettling Memories: Culture and Trauma in the Deep South conference in Jackson. Pre-registration is required. For more information call 601/ 576-6920.

The Some People of That Place: 1960s Holmes County, Mississippi—The Local Black People & Their Civil Rights Movement opens Tuesday, June 1, at the Old Capitol Museum of Mississippi History, Jackson. Minnesotan Sue Sojourner lived and worked as a civil rights organizer in Holmes County in the '60s. This traveling exhibit, showing through August 1, is built around Ms. Sojourner's primary documents and photographs from those years. For more information call 601/ 576-6920.

A new edition of Now Is the Time, by Lillian Smith, has been published by University Press of Mississippi. Originally published in 1955, a year after the Supreme Court's landmark Brown decision, Now Is the Time is an impassioned plea for tolerance by one of the South's leading activists.

Smith, author of Killers of the Dream and two novels, One Hour and the best-selling Strange Fruit, combines the genres of the personal essay, documentary, confession, and propaganda in Now Is the Time to create a moving defense of her vision of a more tolerant America. Copies available in paper, $20.

Civil Rights Chronicle: The African-American Struggle for Freedom, by Clayborne Carson and others, with a foreword by Myrlie Evers-Williams, is a comprehensive history of the civil rights movement, richly illustrated with over 900 photographs and graphics. The Chronicle features a detailed timeline of events and heart-rending eyewitness accounts by central figures. Sidebars to the main text describe personalities, legal landmarks, political developments, and philosophical issues. Coverage begins with the 15th-century slave trade and continues to the present day. Special attention is given to 1940-1975, the key years of the American Civil Rights Movement. Available from Legacy Publishing, $19.95 cloth.


Projectile Point Guide Available

Sykes Points, Mississippi Projectile Point Guide

A popular guide to stone arrowheads, spear points, and knives in the state is available again. Retired MDAH chief archaeologist Samuel O. McGahey's Mississippi Projectile Point Guide, the fullest examination of the subject to date, has been reprinted. First published in 2000, the guide quickly sold out of its initial print run.

Drawing on decades' worth of research through fieldwork and surveys of private collections, McGahey focuses on projectile points from the Paleoindian, Archaic, and Woodland periods. The guide describes the varying techniques and raw materials used to manufacture the points, as well as their shapes and uses.

Mississippi Projectile Point Guide is number thirty-one in the department's Archaeological Report Series. The guide features 195 illustrations in its 219 pages and also includes a glossary, state map, and list of reference works.

Copies may be purchased from the Old Capitol Shop, Jackson, for $20 each plus $1.40 tax. Orders by mail should add shipping charges of $4 for the first book, $1 for each additional book. To order this or other Archaeological Reports, call the Old Capitol Shop at 601/ 576-6921.

New at Mississippi History NOW

Stephen Cresswell, West Virginia Wesleyan College, explores the role of Mississippi in the Progressive Movement for the June issue of Mississippi History NOW. Cresswell defines Progressives as those who believed that politicians should combine human compassion with the latest scientific and medical advances in tackling tough problems. Progressivism as a political movement swept America beginning about 1900.

Mississippi was first in the nation with two Progressive reforms. In 1902, Mississippi became the first state in the nation to have primary elections, in which the citizens voted directly to decide the nominee of each political party. In 1908 Mississippi Progressives, helped by church leaders, secured passage of a law outlawing alcoholic beverages. Later the U.S. Congress passed the Eighteenth Amendment, making Prohibition a nationwide policy.

One of the most important Progressive reforms was a 1908 law making it illegal for factories to hire children under age twelve. But Mississippi was not so Progressive in civil rights areas such as women's suffrage and race relations.

Cresswell's June article will share the front page with the May feature by Connie Lester, Mississippi State University, on Governor Hugh White and his Balance Agriculture with Industry program.

Recent articles cover such topics as Vicksburg during the Civil War, the plight of white sharecroppers and tenant farmers, and Ellen Woodward and women's work relief during the Great Depression. All articles are stored on the site's Archive page.

Mississippi History NOW is funded entirely through donations from individuals, companies, and foundations, and by grants from the Mississippi Humanities Council, MDAH, and the Mississippi Historical Society.

Houston High School Project

When the 1927 Houston High School building burned in 1973, its concrete Art Deco-style columns were removed and installed in front of Houston's National Guard Armory Building. Now school alumni and the city's board of aldermen and others have restored the vintage columns, which will be the central feature of a memorial plaza in front of the Houston Elementary School, built on the site of the old high school. Carl Myatt, AIA, architect, general chairman, Houston High School Memorial Plaza project, designed the plaza and coordinated the column restoration.

The National Park Service has begun a National Historic Landmarks theme study, "Racial Discrimination in Voting Rights," as part of a congressionally authorized multi-state study of civil rights sites involving voting, public accommodations, equal employment, and housing. The project manager requests those with knowledge of such sites to send information to Susan Salvatore by email.


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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