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
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.
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
by the Mississippi Department of Archives
and History Elbert R. Hilliard, director Chrissy Wilson, editor