[Mississippi History Newsletter Online.]

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

Manning Marable: First Medgar Evers Lecture Series March 17 at Millsaps

Manning Marable, widely regarded as one of Americaís most influential historians and political interpreters of the black experience, will be the speaker for the inaugural lecture of the Medgar Evers Lecture Series March 17. Marable will speak at 7 p.m. at Millsaps College.

Marable is professor of history and political science and the director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University.

He is the author of thirteen books, most recently Black Leadership, published by Columbia University Press, 1998. He has published widely in academic journals and appears regularly on television news features. Marable is working in the Malcom X archives in preparation for writing a biography.

William F. Winter will chair the event, and Myrlie Evers-Williams will introduce Professor Marable.

Ms. Evers-Williams presented the Medgar and Myrlie Evers papers to the Department of Archives and History in 2002. The Evers collection is one of the most important collections held by the Department of Archives and History.

Myrlie Evers-Williams is now working to establish the Medgar Evers Institute, a national nonprofit entity that will celebrate the achievements of Medgar Evers and other civil rights leaders, support the development of future leaders, and promote racial reconciliation and equality.

Sponsors of the Series are the Medgar Evers Institute and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History with grant assistance provided by the Mississippi Humanities Council.


Birthday Tribute to William Winter

Almost 1,000 fans gathered at the Old Capitol February 20 to honor William Winter, president of the MDAH Board of Trustees, on his 80th birthday. Among dignitaries present were Governor Ronnie Musgrove, other state elected officials, and Winterís gubernatorial staff known as the "Boys of Spring." One of these who could not attend, Governor Ray Mabus, sent a congratulatory letter citing Winterís commitment to bettering life for all Mississippians. The University of Mississippi, birthday tribute sponsor, announced the renaming of the Institute for Racial Reconciliation to honor Governor Winter.

A symposium, "The Future of Race in America," was held in conjunction with the celebration and featured Cleveland Donald, University of Mississippiís second black graduate and professor at the University of Connecticut; John McCullouch, president of BellSouth Mississippi; Hank Klibanoff, managing editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and former Mississippi capital bureau chief for the Biloxi Herald; and Constance Slaughter-Harvey, attorney, community activist, and former Winter staff member. Susan Glisson, Institute director, moderated the discussion. After the symposium, Governor and Mrs. Winter received well-wishers before a dinner for major Institute donors at the Governorís Mansion.


Natchez Powwow: March 29-30

The 2003 Natchez Powwow will offer traditional Native American dancing, foods, and crafts Saturday, March 29, and Sunday, March 30, at the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians. "Native Americans lived here and danced here and that long history makes this all the more special," said Jim Barnett, Grand Village director.

Gourd dancing will be demonstrated at 1 and 7 p.m. on Saturday and at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Grand entry and intertribal dancing will be at 2 p.m. both days and 8 p.m. Saturday. The master of ceremonies will be Terry Adams, an Osage tribal member from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Other tribes represented include the Ponca, Comanche, Omaha, and Choctaw.

Food booths and Native American crafts booths will open at 10 a.m. on Saturday and at 11 a.m. on Sunday. Bring your lawn chairs. Tickets are $2 for adults, $1 for children ages twelve and under.

The Grand Village is located at 400 Jefferson Davis Boulevard, Natchez. For more information call 601/ 446-6502.

New Books

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Stark Young To Be Honored at Oxford Book Conference

The Tenth Oxford Conference for the Book, to be held April 10-13 at the University of Mississippi, is dedicated to Stark Young (1881-1963), a distinguished Mississippi writer and theatre critic.

Professor John Pilkington and others will speak on Youngís life and art, and there will be dramatic readings from his work, a screening of the film based on his popular novel So Red the Rose, and an exhibition at the University Library.

Writers participating in the Conference include Ace Atkins, Calvin Baker, Emily Bingham, Marshall Boswell, Percival Everett, Tom Franklin, Jere Hoar, Michael Mewshaw, Scott M. Morris, George Singleton, Robert Stone, and Shay Youngblood.

Writer Barry Hannah will moderate Friday morningís sessions for writers and readers. Shannon Ravenel from Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill will discuss the publishing business. Ted Ownby has invited authors Michael Mewshaw, Clifton Taulbert, and Lauren F. Winner to talk about memoirs. Kathryn McKee will moderate "Appalachian Voices," a session with comments and readings by George Ella Lyon, Ron Rash, and Crystal Wilkinson. Constance Curry, Paul Henrickson, Winson Hudson, and Charles Marsh will discuss their books on the civil rights movement, and Elaine H. Scott, Claiborne Barksdale, and George Ella Lyon will discuss issues affecting readers and reading.

The conference will celebrate American Poetry Month with readings by poets Beth Ann Fennelly, Blair Hobbs, Shara McCallum, and Ron Rash.

The conference is open to the public without charge, but to assure seating space, those interested in attending should preregister.

Reservations and advanced payment are required for three optional events. For more information, contact the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, telephone 800/468-4001, email cssc@olemiss.edu.

 

Mississippi Historical Society Awards Prizes, Elects Officers

At its annual meeting, held in Jackson February 27-March 1, the Mississippi Historical Society honored distinguished friends of Mississippi history and elected new officers for 2003-2004.

Greg OíBrien, University of Southern Mississippi, was awarded the McLemore Prize for his book Choctaws in a Revolutionary Age, 1750-1830, published by the University of Nebraska Press. The McLemore Prize goes to the best book on a subject related to Mississippi history published during the previous year and carries a $700 cash award.

Sam McGahey, MDAH chief archaeologist 1974-2002, won the Dunbar Rowland Award for his lifelong contributions to the study of the prehistory of Mississippi. He oversaw the MDAH archaeology program, participated in important excavations, and produced numerous archaeological publications, including the recent and popular Mississippi Projectile Point Guide.

The B.L.C. Wailes Award for national distinction in the field of history went to Thomas G. McCraw for outstanding contributions to the study of economic history, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Prophets of Regulation (1984). McCraw was not able to attend the meeting; Jacksonian Louis Lyell accepted the award for him.

Kelli Bowles, who teaches at Oak Grove High School, Hattiesburg, won the John K. Bettersworth Award ($100), presented annually to an outstanding high school or middle school history teacher.

The Marion County Historical Society received the Frank E. Everett, Jr., Award for its exemplary contribution to the preservation and interpretation of the history of Marion County.

Mary Jo Festle, Elon University, won the Willie D. Halsell Prize ($200) for the best article published in the Journal of Mississippi History for her article "First Try at a Second Chance: The Pioneering Lung Transpant."

Awards of Merit went to Andrew "Lucky" Osborne, Clinton, for his work with "Possum Ridge" and other exhibits at the Old Capitol Museum; Carl Butler, Columbus, for his outstanding achievements in historic preservation in the Columbus area, longstand-ing service to the Society, and dedicated teaching at the School of Math and Science; and Brenda Eagles, Oxford, for her years as dedicated bibliographical editor of the Journal of Mississippi History.

The Glover Moore Prize ($300) for best masterís thesis on a Mississippi history topic went to Fred C. Smith, Hattiesburg, for his thesis "Agrarian Experimentation and Failure in Depression Mississippi: New Deal and Socialism, the Tupelo Homesteads and the Delta and Providence Cooperative Farms."

Newly elected officers of the Mississippi Historical Society are Kenneth McCarty, University of Southern Mississippi, president; Donna Dye, Ridge-land, vice president; and Elbert R. Hilliard, director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, secretary-treasurer.

New members of the Societyís Board of Directors for 2002-2005 are Robert J. Bailey, Bay St. Louis; Alma Carpenter, Natchez; Milburn Crowe, Mound Bayou; Connie Lester, Mississippi State University; Princella Nowell, Greenville; and Albert M. Spann, Jr., Jackson. New members of the Societyís Board of Publications are Mary Carol Miller, Tupelo; and Fred Smith, Jackson.

PICTURE GALLERY


First Annual Spring Flea Market

Historic Jefferson College Saturday and Sunday, April 5-6


Otha Turner, 1909-2003

Otha Turner, one of the last surviving links to the fife-and-drum tradition of the Mississippi hill country, died February 26 in Como, Mississippi, at 94.

Turnerís band, the Rising Star Fife and Drum Band, was a fixture as the opening act of the Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival in Clarksdale. He also performed at the Chicago Blues Festival and regional festivals including the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, Arkansas. Turnerís own annual Labor Day picnic at his Gravel Springs, Mississippi, home had also become popularóboth for Turnerís music and for the barbecued goat.

Turner performed his music, a mixture of early American colonial drums and West African flute dating back to the 1800s, in relative obscurity for years, but he was "discovered" in recent years. He recorded his first album, Everybody Holleriní Goat, in 1998, and this year his music can be heard during the opening scenes of the Oscar-nominated film, Gangs of New York.

Turner was presented the National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Award, the Smithsonian Lifetime Achievement Award, the Charley Patton Lifetime Achievement Award from the Mississippi Delta Blues and Heritage Festival, and the Heritage Award, Mississippi Governorís Awards for Excellence in the Arts. Turner will be featured in the PBS series The Blues, which will appear later this year.


Mark your calendars

April 24: 10 Most Endangered Historic Places Unveiling

April 25: Mississippi Historic Preservation Conference

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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