Mississippi Hall of Fame Nominations Sought

Nominations are being sought for the 2011 class of the Mississippi Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame honors women and men who made noteworthy contributions to the state’s history. Admission into the Hall of Fame is the most significant recognition granted by the state through the Department of Archives and History. Consideration for the Hall of Fame takes place only once every five years, and no more than five people may be admitted each time.

The most recent additions to the Mississippi Hall of Fame were elected in 2006 and included literary giants Eudora Welty and Richard Wright, internationally acclaimed potter George Ohr, and oil industry developer Emmett Vaughey.

On July 19 the exhibit And the Nominees Are … The Mississippi Hall of Fame will open at the Old Capitol Museum and run through January 15, 2012. The exhibit will feature artifacts related to Hall of Fame members Medgar Evers, James Z. George, and Eudora Welty.

“The museum’s visitors really enjoy seeing the portraits and reading about the members they know, like Welty and Faulkner, as well as learning about members they did not know,” said Clay Williams, Old Capitol Museum director. “Induction into the Mississippi Hall of Fame is a great honor, and we’re looking forward to the next round of new members.”

Any Mississippian—native or adopted—deceased at least five years may be nominated for the Hall of Fame. Nominees are voted on by the nine-member Board of Trustees of the Department of Archives and History. The deadline for nominations is October 1, and elections will be held at a special meeting in December.

Each nomination should describe the unique contributions of the nominee. Nominations should be carefully researched and documented and should not exceed three double-spaced typewritten pages. A brief biography of the nominee is helpful, and letters supporting the nomination, photographs, newspaper clippings, and other supplemental material is welcomed. Send nominations to Mississippi Hall of Fame, MDAH, P.O. Box 571, Jackson, MS 39205-0571.

The Hall of Fame was established in 1902, the department’s first year of existence. Early inductees included U.S. Supreme Court Justice L.Q.C. Lamar, U.S. Senator E.C. Walthall, and president of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis. Now the Hall of Fame contains 122 distinguished Mississippians, including Gulf Coast artist Walter Anderson, newspaperman William Hodding Carter II, civil rights hero Medgar Evers, Choctaw chief Pushmataha, early feminist Nellie Nugent Somerville, physician Felix Underwood, and federal judge Burnita Shelton Matthews.

Once a member has been elected to the Hall of Fame, private sponsors undertake the task of presenting a suitable portrait. Public unveilings occur periodically in the historic House of Representatives Chamber at the Old Capitol. These ceremonies provide an opportunity to recognize and to celebrate the contributions of the member whose Hall of Fame portrait is unveiled. More than 75 percent of the members are represented with a portrait.

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