Archives

The Archives and History Building Groundbreaking

On May 12, 2014, in Archives, by Dorian Randall
0

Chloe Edwards, of the Government Records Section, brings us this post in an ongoing series chronicling the construction of the Charlotte Capers Archives and History Building. Many thanks to Ms. Edwards for her research.

Charlotte Capers Archives and History Building groundbreaking, Information and Education Division, Series 1349, Box 5562. (MDAH)

The Archives and History Building groundbreaking, Information and Education Division, Series 1349, Box 5562. (MDAH)

After securing a resolution from the department’s Board of Trustees urging a $1.5 million appropriation (approximately $11 million today) for a new building, Capers worked with architect William D. Morrison, Jr. to draw up a preliminary building plan and cost estimate to present to the legislature. Morrison envisioned a five story building on the corner of North and Amite Streets with a central stack space flanked by public areas, administrative offices, and processing space. The plan also called for a foundation strong enough to add two floors if needed. The building contained forty thousand square feet of floor space and would cost approximately $1.1 million. Capers requested $1.2 million, but the appropriation bill languished through several legislative sessions before Governor Paul B. Johnson offered his support.  Consequently, House Bill 7 earmarked $1.12 million for the construction of a new home for MDAH in 1967, Mississippi’s sesquicentennial year.

After two years of planning with architectural firm Overstreet, Ware, Ware, and Lewis and consultation with other state archives, the groundbreaking ceremony was held on December 3, 1969. In attendance were former governors Paul B. Johnson, Ross Barnett, and J.P. Coleman, Lieutenant Governor Charles L. Sullivan, Secretary of State Heber Ladner, department trustee and future governor William F. Winter, Dr. R.A. McLemore (the new department director), and of course, Charlotte Capers.

Although the Board of Trustees preferred the site on the corner of North and Amite streets, where the Winter Building is now located, the Building Commission opted for the lot just south of the Old Capitol for the opportunity to create a historical complex on Capitol Green. The building would complement the War Memorial and Old Capitol Buildings without duplicating the former architecturally or overshadowing the latter. The 1891 Confederate Memorial would retain pride of place in front of the archives building.

Sources:

Mississippi Department of Archives and History in-house workshop on giving building tours, June 10, 1971 audio transcript (http://mdah.state.ms.us/arrec/digital_archives/vault/projects/OHtranscripts/AU710_104014.pdf)

Series 1258: Charlotte Capers Building Files, 1928-1992. Box 4899.

Subject file: Archives and History Building, 1966-1970

Subject file: Archives and History Building, 1971 (dedication year)

A Building Survey for a New Archives Building, for the Board of Trustees, Department of Archives and History, prepared by William D. Morrison, Jr., 1966

Tauches, Karen. “The Fate of History: The Old Archives Building is Under Review.” Burnaway, published July 22, 2011. Accessed April 3, 2014 at http://burnaway.org/the-fate-of-history-the-old-archives-building-is-under-review/

CR&HM. Accessed April 3, 2014 at http://www.dalepartners.com/civic-corporate/wfm-archives-and-history/

WFM Archives and History. Accessed April 3, 2014 at http://www.dalepartners.com/civic-corporate/crhm/

Money conversions performed at http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl

 

 

 

 

Freedom Vote: The Results

On February 28, 2014, in Archives, by Dorian Randall
0

In recognition of Black History Month, this is the last in a series of posts showcasing the Freedom Vote campaign of 1963, especially the Freedom Days of 1964. This series chronicled the campaign in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Dorian Randall and Sara Rowe Sims wrote the accompanying text.

Demonstrations associated with Freedom Day, January 22, 1964, Hattiesburg (Miss.). Bobbie Jean Evans, Palmer’s Crossing, Forrest County. Call number: PI/1994.0005, Moncrief (Winfred) Photograph Collection. (MDAH)

Demonstrations associated with Freedom Day, January 22, 1964, Hattiesburg (Miss.). Bobbie Jean Evans, Palmer’s Crossing, Forrest County. Call number: PI/1994.0005, Moncrief (Winfred) Photograph Collection. (MDAH)

Despite harassment and arrests during the voting drive, many registrants decided to vote. Ballots were cast during church services, and ballot boxes were placed in local businesses such as grocery stores, cafes, beauty parlors, and pool halls. About twenty-five thousand ballots were distributed through the mail anonymously, but there was still a battle as intimidation surrounded the mock election. COFO’s goal was to acquire two hundred thousand votes, but the campaign resulted in more than eighty three-thousand votes. Hattiesburg accounted for 3,500. Although the goal was not met, movement workers were proud of the outcome. COFO staff capitalized on the campaign’s momentum and expanded throughout Leake and Issaquena counties, as well as Meridian. The question remained of whether to devise another statewide program to affect change in Mississippi. A week after the Freedom Vote, workers met in Greenville to discuss future strategies. This meeting was the impetus for the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project.

Source: John Dittmer, Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1995), 203-207.

 

The Freedom Vote

On February 21, 2014, in Archives, by Dorian Randall
0

In recognition of Black History Month, this is the second in a series of posts showcasing the Freedom Vote campaign of 1963, especially the Freedom Days of 1964. This series will chronicle the campaign in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Dorian Randall and Sara Rowe Sims wrote the accompanying text.

Fannie Lou Hamer, in hat with placard, leads demonstrators as they march in front of Forrest County courthouse in afternoon, watched by police. Call number: PI/1994.0005, Moncrief (Winfred) Photograph Collection. (MDAH)

January 22, 1964. Fannie Lou Hamer, in hat with placard, leads demonstrators as they march in front of Forrest County courthouse, watched by police. Call number: PI/1994.0005, Moncrief (Winfred) Photograph Collection. (MDAH)

The first Freedom Day held in the state, the event drew national media attention. Local officials and law enforcement coordinated their activities with the Mississippi Highway Patrol, with the goal of peaceful containment. Anticipating a heavy media presence, their primary objective was to give the press nothing violent or provocative to report. Hattiesburg American articles and communication between local and state officials indicate that they were very pleased with their handling of events and the resulting appearance of “tranquility.” Describing a third day of “quiet demonstrations,” the American proudly quoted a Chicago newsman as saying “The only thing shocking about the stories I’ve filed this far is the complete absence of anything shocking.”

Forrest County Circuit Clerk Theron C. Lynd, attends to voter registration applicants in courthouse. Call number: PI/1994.0005, Moncrief (Winfred) Photograph Collection. (MDAH)

Forrest County Circuit Clerk Theron C. Lynd, attends to voter registration applicants in courthouse. Call number: PI/1994.0005, Moncrief (Winfred) Photograph Collection. (MDAH)

The event was a test of whether Forrest County Circuit Clerk Theron Lynd was in compliance with a January 6, 1964, U.S. Supreme Court ruling that barred discriminatory tactics to prevent blacks from registering to vote. This ruling was the latest stage in a 1961 Justice Department suit against Lynd. Justice Department testimony in a March 1962 injunction hearing stated that not only had Lynd not registered a single black citizen since taking office in February 1959 but prior to January 1961 none had even been allowed to apply. During this period no records could be found to indicate the exclusion of a single white voter.

Sources:

John Dittmer, Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in America (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1994), 219-221.

Hattiesburg American, January 20-22, 1964; 301 F.2d 8181, U.S. v. Lynd, (C.A.5 (Miss.) 1962).

Herbert Randall and Bobs Tusa, Faces of Freedom Summer (Tuscaloosa, Alabama: University of Alabama Press, 2001), 10-11.

Howard Zinn, SNCC and the New Abolitionists (Beacon Press: Boston, 1964), 102-122.

Danny Lyon, Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement (University of North Carolina Press: Chapel Hill & London, 1992), 130-133.

Eric Burner, And Gently He Shall Lead Them: Robert Moses and Civil Rights in Mississippi (New York University Press: New York & London, 1994), 142-143

Hattiesburg American, January 20-31, 1964.

Memos from R. L. Morgan, Chief of Patrol, Mississippi Dept. of Public Safety to Col. T. B. Birdsong, Commissioner of Public Safety and Governor Paul B. Johnson Jr., January 22-24, folder #2, Highway Patrol Papers in the Paul B. Johnson Family Papers, Box 144, McCain Library and Archives, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg

Tom Scarbrough and Virgil Downing, Supplemental Report-Forrest County-Hattiesburg, Voter Registration Demonstrations, January 31, 1964, Sovereignty Commission Online SCRID# 2-64-1-63-1-1-1 to 5-1-1 <http://www.mdah.state.ms.us/arlib/contents/er/sovcom> (August 9, 2005).

 

 

 

 

Freedom Day in Mississippi

On February 14, 2014, in Archives, by Dorian Randall
0

In recognition of Black History Month, this is the first in a series of posts showcasing the Freedom Vote campaign of 1963, especially the Freedom Days of 1964. This series will chronicle the campaign in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Dorian Randall and Sara Rowe Sims wrote the accompanying text.

 

Aaron Henry for Governor rally attendees participate in "unofficial ballot," October 29, 1963. COFO's Freedom Vote campaign event held in upper room of Masonic Temple, 522 Mobile Street, Hattiesburg (Miss.) This event was part of COFO's Freedom Vote campaign in the fall of 1963.

“Aaron Henry for Governor” rally attendees participate in “unofficial ballot,” October 29, 1963 at the Masonic Temple in Hattiesburg (Miss.). Call number: PI/1994.0005, Moncrief (Winfred) Photograph Collection. (MDAH)

The Freedom Day concept was an extension of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee’s (SNCC) 1962 voter registration campaign in McComb. The campaign suffered setbacks as white violence stymied potential black voters. Whites and black leaders criticized direct action protests, prompting organizers to shift focus to voting rights. Movement leaders also realized they needed national publicity to garner support for the cause and acquire federal intervention.

In 1963, the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) strategized ways to defeat the barriers in registering black Mississippians. They proposed a mock election to demonstrate black citizens’ desire and willingness to vote. COFO wanted to help new voters build their own political institutions and accountability and to bring the movement to new areas, such as Natchez and the Gulf Coast. With that kind of expansion, organizers needed more volunteers. Allard Lowenstein, a Yale graduate and fellow organizer, suggested COFO recruit young white students to help. COFO agreed, and approximately one hundred Yale and Stanford students descended on the state to aid in the cause. The Freedom Ballot Campaign began with a convention in October calling for racial justice, school desegregation, equal voting rights, increased minimum wage, and economic programs for farmers and factory workers. Delegates chose Aaron Henry, the longtime NAACP activist and Clarksdale native, as the gubernatorial candidate for the mock election. White activist and chaplain Edwin King was his running mate.

Source: John Dittmer, Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1995), 114, 200.

 

 

Chloe Edwards, of the Government Records Section, brings us this post in an ongoing series about Mississippi Advertising Commission posters. Many thanks to Ms. Edwards for sharing these fun artifacts.

A Mississippi Advertising Commission poster wishing all a Happy New Year. Series 552, MDAH.

A Mississippi Advertising Commission poster wishing all a Happy New Year. Series 552, MDAH.

Tagged with: