[Mississippi History Newsletter Online.]

A MDAH Publication  |  Volume 44 No. 3  |  March 2002

Exhibit on Choctaws at Old Capitol March 3

Mississippi Choctaws: Traditional Life in a Modern World, an exhibit depicting the traditional crafts and culture of the Choctaw in modern-day Mississippi, opens Sunday, March 3, at the Old Capitol Museum. Despite their successes in economic and technological ventures, Mississippi’s Choctaw Indians retain strong ancient tribal components in their everyday life. Today,

  • 95 percent of Mississippi Choctaw tribal members speak Choctaw as a first language

  • many women choose to wear colorful native Choctaw dresses

  • their swamp cane baskets feature ancient Choctaw patterns

  • traditional dance groups and chanters are found in all reservation communities, and

  • spirited stickball rivalries remain a part of Choctaw life.

In Mississippi Choctaws, 18 black and white photographs by Julie Kelsey capture these traditional aspects of modern Choctaw life and are illustrated by artifacts including baskets, stickball uniforms, and jewelry. The photographs are on loan from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. The exhibit hangs through June 30. For more information, call the Old Capitol Museum, 601/359-6920.


Piney Woods Theme of MHS Annual Meeting

The annual meeting of the Mississippi Historical Society will be held Thursday, February 28, through Saturday, March 2, in Hattiesburg with headquarters in the Holiday Inn. The theme is The Piney Woods of Mississippi, and scholars and artists will address the economic development, music, and places and people of that region. Program chair Marjorie Spruill, University of Southern Mississippi, has scheduled prominent scholars including Arvarh Strickland, professor emeritus, University of Missouri-Columbia; James E. Fickle, University of Memphis; Victoria Bynum, Southwest Texas University; and Noel Polk and Bradley G. Bond, USM.

Planned are a luncheon, banquet, and awards luncheon, where prestigious MHS prizes, including the McLemore Prize for best book of 2001, the Bettersworth Award for best history teacher of 2001, and more will be presented. Also scheduled are a reception honoring society president Neil McMillen and a tour of the Camp Shelby Armed Forces Museum. A seminar on curriculum suggestions for elementary- and secondary-school Mississippi Studies teachers is scheduled for Friday at 2:45. Deanne Nuwer from USM will coordinate the event. The Federation of Mississippi Historical Societies will sponsor a workshop, Using Community History, at the Hattiesburg Cultural Center (Old Public Library) on Friday, March 1 from 9:15 to 11:15 a.m.

At 8 p.m. Friday there will be a dramatic presentation, Voices of Freedom Summer, at the Saenger Theatre. The event is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the Mississippi Humanities Council. Francis Kuhn, the chair of the USM Department of Theater and Dance, wrote and will direct the work.

Registration at the door will be $15 for individuals, $17 for couples. All meal tickets must be purchased by February 28. For reservations at the Holiday Inn, call (601) 268-2850. For information about the meeting, call Betty Kearney at the Department of Archives and History, (601) 359-6850. Click here for the complete online schedule.

Duncan Morgan Honored

Jackson State University presented Duncan Morgan of Natchez with the 2002 “For My People” Award January 15. Morgan, a top masonry restoration contractor, was honored for his work in preserving historic buildings throughout Natchez. Morgan, a member of the MDAH Board of Trustees, is also a member of the Historic Natchez Foundation and is a former Natchez Citizen of the Year.


Grand Village Powwow
March 23-24

Gourd and intertribal dancing Saturday at 1 and 7 pm, Sunday at 1 pm, with crafts and food booths open both days. Bring lawn chairs. Admission is $1 per person. For information, call 601/446-6502.


Express yourself Victorian-style

All ages are invited to learn a Victorian form of self-expression: in the language of flowers. Come to the Manship House Museum Monday, March 25, 3:30-4:30 p.m. and take home a tussie-mussie! Free, but reservations are required. Call 601/ 961-4724 for information or to reserve a space.


Jefferson Military College Foundation Reunion
March 8-9

Call 601/ 442-2901 for more information.


New Books

Oh for Dixie! The Civil War Record and Diary of Capt. William V. Davis, edited by Joe and Lavon Ashley, tells the compelling story of Captain Davis and the 30th Mississippi Infantry, C.S.A., of Attala County and reveals the stark daily life of the Civil War soldier. From Standing Pine Press, $19.95. MORE >>


Obituaries

James Blackwood, 1920-2002
James Blackwood, the last surviving member of the Blackwood Brothers Quartet and a giant of southern gospel music, died February 3. The Blackwood Brothers Quartet was formed in 1934 in Ackerman by three brothers: Roy, Doyle, and James, all sons of a sharecropper and his wife. The fourth member was Roy’s son, R. W. The group began broadcasting on radio in Jackson in 1937 and became one of the most influential singing groups in America, defining the quartet style that became the backbone of southern gospel music. James Blackwood (pictured below, left) appeared with Allen Dennis as part of a program on southern music at the 2000 Mississippi Historical Society annual meeting.

Boogaloo Ames, 1919-2002
Blues and jazz pianist Abie “Boogaloo” Ames of Greenville died February 4. A native of Cruger, Ames moved to Detroit as a young man and started a band, touring Europe and working for some years at Motown Studios. In 1980 he moved to Greenville, where he performed at local clubs and festivals. He taught piano to Greenville native Eden Brent, and the two performed together in New York, Chicago, and, in 2000, at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Ames was named the 2001 Artist’s Achievement Award winner of the Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts in Mississippi.

A. K. Johnson, 1917-2002
Almer Kendall Johnson, Jr., of Atlanta, died January 2. An Arkansas native, A. K. Johnson served as project director for NAGARA’s Local Government Records Publication Series, treasurer for the Society of American Archivists, regional vice president of the American Records Management Association, and executive director of the Georgia Commission for the National Bicentennial Celebration. Johnson guided MDAH in the drafting and passage of the Mississippi Archives and Records Management Law and received many awards, including Fellow of the Society of American Archivists. The late Charlotte Capers, former MDAH director, especially enjoyed working with Johnson, who was a close match for her dry and playful wit.

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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