[Mississippi History Newsletter Online.]

A MDAH Publication  |  Volume 45 No. 3  |  March 2003

New Books


During the summer of 1964 SNCC (the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) sent volunteers to Mississippi to expand black voter registration, organize a "Freedom Democratic Party" to challenge the whites-only Mississippi Democratic Party, establish "freedom schools" to teach reading and math to black children, and open community centers offering legal and medical assistance. The volunteers were mostly white, with an average age of 21. Letters from Mississippi is a collection of moving, personal letters written by volunteers of that summer. Out of print for thirty years, this edition contains new introductory remarks by its editor, Elizabeth Martinez, and by Julian Bond, and is augmented with explanatory notes and never-before-published photographs.

The softcover volume is available from Zephyr Press, (800/ 283-3572) at $13.95.

Natchez Images 1880-1960

Since the Natchez Printing and Stationery Company donated over 2,000 printerís negatives to the Natchez Historical Society, Society members have been cleaning and sorting the negatives. They culled the collection for the best images to make a new volume, which is now available from the Natchez Historical Society. Jean Simonton, historian at Grand Village of the Natchez Indians for many years, with the help of her sister Dot Sojourner and other Society members, worked over 30 years on the project at Jefferson College, where the negatives were stored. Don Simonton, Jeanís son, then compiled the images and designed the book.

Of the over 2,000 images, 800 were selected to be reproduced in the book. Copies are available from the Historic Natchez Foundation office (601/442-2500) at $15 each.

New Lester Young Biography

The life of jazz giant and Woodville native Lester Young is told in Douglas Henry Danielsís intimate and richly anecdotal biography, Lester Leaps In: The Life and Times of Lester "Prez" Young, published by Beacon Press. Daniels tells of Young shining shoes and selling newspapers in his youth, his travels to New Orleans to soak up the music, and his ultimate reign as the "president of the tenor saxophone."

Publishers Weekly called it "the most thorough and penetrating book on the President of the Tenor Saxophone to date," and the Los Angles Times called it "a provocative book, presenting Lester Young in a novel, even controversial light." Copies, at $20.00 (paper) and $32.95 (cloth), are available at most bookstores.

College History Published

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College: A History, 1911-2000, at 608 pages and with 1,232 photographs, is "easily the most comprehensive treatment of a single community college in American history," according to its author, Charles L. Sullivan.

It is actually three books in one, the first part charting the evolution of the institution from an agricultural high school to Mississippiís first multi-campus junior college; part two covers all menís and womenís sports. Part three is concerned with performing arts, clubs, and student life.

Professor Sullivan has included much information related to the collegeís four-county area, including the formation of Stone County from north Harrison in 1916, the origin and growth of the Gulf and Ship Island Railroad, and the establishment of U. S. Highway 49 in south Mississippi.

Military historians will be interested in a special section detailing the collegeís Gold Star Class. The impact of the Second World War on the college and the Mississippi Gulf Coast is detailed in the chronological section of the work.

Copies may be purchased in the Old Capitol Shop for $34 or may be ordered directly from the publisher at the same price (shipping included). Send check to MGCCC Foundation, P. O. Box 99, Perkinston, MS 39573.


Many of these books are available at the Old Capitol Shop. Call 601/359-6921 to order or to obtain ordering information.


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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