[Mississippi History Newsletter Online.]

A MDAH Publication  |  Volume 45 No. 5  |  May 2003

A Capitol Celebration! June 3-4

Centennial of Mississippi's State Capitol

On Tuesday, June 3, at 11:00 a.m., a historical recreation of the 1903 dedication of Mississippi's "New" Capitol will kick off a two-day celebration of the centennial of this grand building, according to centennial committee co-chairs Senator Hillman Frazier and Representative Mary Ann Stevens. After the ceremony, a giant cake will be cut, and special tours of the building will be offered. Commemorative centennial booklets, postcards, and copies of a new, full-color guide to the Capitol building will be distributed to all attending.

The next day, Wednesday, June 4, the celebration continues with a Mississippi Picnic and Concert on the Capitol grounds from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., starring Mississippi music and Mississippi food! Samples of regional specialties from all over the state-catfish, gumbo, barbecue, and more-will be offered. Bring a picnic and sample the delicacies-while listening to the Mississippi Musical Revue, featuring Mississippi musicians Raphael Semmes, Jewel Bass, and Jesse Robinson. Darienne Wilson, Tourism director, Mississippi Development Authority, has invited the King of the Blues, B. B. King, to be the final entertainer of the evening.

Statewide Arts Conference May 9-11

"At the Crossroads: Exploring Mississippi's Cultural Traditions in the Birthplace of the Blues"-the Fourth Annual Statewide Folk and Traditional Arts Conference, will be held May 9-11 in Clarksdale. Among highlights are a how-to session on festivals by Louisiana Folklife Festival director Mike Luser, a tour of the Delta Blues Museum, juke joint adventures with Junior Doughty, and gospel music at Bell Grove Missionary Baptist Church. Registration is $55. For more information, call Larry Morrisey at the Mississippi Arts Commission (cosponsor with the Mississippi Folklife Association).


Centennial Program

Tuesday, June 3

Presiding: Elbert R. Hilliard, director, MDAH
Color Guard: Mississippi National Guard
National anthem: Lee Farrar Bailey
Reenacting Governor A. H. Longino: John Maxwell, actor
Reenacting Bishop Charles Galloway: Clay F. Lee, Bishop Retired, United Methodist Church, Jackson
"1903 and 2003: An Overview": David G. Sansing, professor of history emeritus, University of Mississippi
Patriotic music: Dorothy Moore

Wednesday, June 4

Presiding: The Honorable Robert G. Clark, Speaker Pro Tem, Mississippi House of Representatives
Color Guard: Mississippi National Guard
—The Honorable Ronnie Musgrove, Governor, State of Mississippi
—The Honorable Amy Tuck, Lieutenant Governor, State of Mississippi
—The Honorable Tim Ford, Speaker, Mississippi House of Representatives
Reenactment of famed 1952 speech before House of Representatives by Noah S. "Soggy" Sweat, Corinth: the Honorable Ed Perry, clerk, Mississippi House of Representatives
Mississippi Music Revue

All events are free. For more information, call Chrissy Wilson, 601/ 359-6850.

Deadline for Grants: May 20

For FY 2003 Congress approved $30 million for Save America's Treasures (SAT) through the National Historic Preservation Fund. Of this amount, fifty percent will be awarded on a competitive basis. SAT provides funding for nationally significant historic resources and objects at risk. The deadline for applications is May 20, 2003. For more information and a copy of the application, visit SAT at saveamericastreasures.org

Reddix Portrait Dedication May 9

The portrait of Jacob Lorenzo Reddix, fifth president of Jackson State University (1940- 1967), will be dedicated to the Mississippi Hall of Fame in ceremonies at the Old Capitol May 9 at 2:00 p.m. The public is invited.

Born in Vancleave in 1897, the youngest of nine sons born to former slaves, Reddix served in the army during World War I (1917-1919) and attained the rank of corporal. After earning a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Lewis Institute, Illinois Institute of Technology, he did graduate work at the University of Chicago as a Rosenwald Fellow. He taught in the public schools for fifteen years. During this time his interest and expertise in the cooperative movement grew, and he was recruited to serve as a specialist in cooperatives for the United States Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C.

In 1940 Reddix assumed the presidency of Jackson College, as it was then known, and during his twenty-seven-year tenure guided the school through the turbulent era of segregation and racial discrimination in Mississippi. Reddix built a new academic program for the college and added a graduate program of studies. Jackson State became the primary institution for the preparation of African American teachers and administrators in the state. Under his guidance the school saw the addition of talented faculty such as noted writer Margaret Walker Alexander and the construction of twenty-seven academic buildings and two faculty housing units.

Reddix was instrumental in the founding of two financial institutions: the Hinds County Educational Federal Credit Union and the State Mutual Savings and Loan Association, the latter of which was the forerunner of the First American Bank of Jackson, the only African American-operated commercial bank in Mississippi until its recent merger with Liberty Bank. In 1948, as a consultant to the Phelps Stokes Fund, he traveled to the Republic of Liberia to study the feasibility of a teacher education program there.

He wrote two books on the cooperative movement and a volume of memoirs. Jacob Reddix died on May 9, 1973, and was buried in Garden Memorial Park, Jackson.


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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