Happy New Year from the Mississippi Advertising Commission

On December 30, 2013, in Uncategorized, by Dorian Randall
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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.

 

Season’s Greetings from the Mississippi Advertising Commission

On December 23, 2013, in Uncategorized, by Dorian Randall
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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 wonderful holiday season. Series 552, MDAH.

A Mississippi Advertising Commission poster wishing all a wonderful holiday season. Series 552, MDAH.

 

Unearthing the Advertising Commission Posters

On December 18, 2013, in Uncategorized, by Dorian Randall
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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. Series 552, MDAH.

A Mississippi Advertising Commission poster. Series 552, MDAH.

Government records staff at MDAH were aware that Series 552 of the Mississippi Advertising Commission Records contained many oversized items. Because the series had been minimally processed, it remained unexamined until the processing backlog had shrunk. It was then that they found this set of posters, in excellent condition despite being over seventy-five years old.

Series 552 also contains a set of feature stories produced by the Advertising Commission on different aspects of the state, including forestry, cotton, show horses, the Natchez pilgrimage, and winter legumes, which ran every other week from July 1938 to September 1939; an industrial promotion kit intended for use by local civic clubs or chambers of commerce promoting bond issues to finance industrial development in their town, which includes a set of posters plus cartoons and a feature story to be run in the local newspaper; and a set of copper printing plates used to produce the Commission’s “Historical Mississippi” brochure, although the brochure cover plate depicts a different design than that depicted on the brochure in this series.

 

 

Medgar Evers: The NAACP and School Desegregation

On May 29, 2013, in Uncategorized, by Dorian Randall
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The life of Medgar Evers is synonymous with the civil rights struggle and his strong leadership in the movement. This series, written by Dorian Randall, will explore his life, work, and legacy using related collections at MDAH.


Description: This WLBT newsfilm clip depicts Evers seated at a desk possibly discussing a school integration attempt in Jackson Public Schools, circa 1962.

In the 1960s, segregation was deeply imbedded in the consciousness of the average Mississippian. Although Plessy v. Ferguson sanctioned the separate-but-equal doctrine, inequality between blacks and whites still remained, even in education. Medgar Evers knew that first hand from his hometown:

Decatur maintained a high school for whites but none for African Americans. White students traveled to school aboard well-equipped school buses while African American students walked to schools that were often ill equipped and in disrepair.1

That experience impacted his quest for equality in education. Evers' cherished goal was to become a lawyer, and with NAACP support he applied to the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1954.2 Although he was denied admission, Evers resolved to fight the deplorable conditions of black schools and work for school desegregation.

In 1953 Evers and two fellow NAACP members met with Walter Sillers, Speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives, about improvements for black schools. During the meeting Sillers, a Dixiecrat and segregationist, kept his back to them and made promises of new buildings, but only a few simple block buildings were built.3 A sign of hope came a year later, but disappointment soon followed.

In 1954 Brown v. Board of Education outlawed school segregation, but the responsibility of expedient integration was left to the discretion of the federal district judges because of their proximity to the local issues.4 The segregationist establishment maintained the status quo. In June 1954 Mississippi governor Hugh White met with a group of black and white leaders to implement his "equalization within segregation program," which endorsed voluntary segregation. However Brown supporters and black leaders such as T.R.M. Howard still called for integration. Evers rejected the program and continued to canvass black neighborhoods to obtain signatures for school desegregation petitions.5 He even added his own children's names to a desegregation petition to the Jackson Separate School Board of Trustees in 1962.6 The threat of retaliation was high; white segregationists used brute force against blacks to deter support of integration. But Medgar Evers kept fighting.

A letterregrading school integration petitions in five Mississippi cities dated July 11, 1954.

A letter to regrading school integration petitions in five Mississippi cities dated July 11, 1954. Accession number: Z.2231.000.002, box 2, folder 7 (Medgar Wiley and Myrlie Beasely Papers)

In 1959 Evers assisted his friend Clyde Kennard, an NAACP member, who was denied admission to Mississippi Southern College (now the University of Southern Mississippi). Kennard had made several previous attempts to enroll at the university, and was arrested on false charges of reckless driving and possession of liquor after his last attempt. Kennard sought help from the NAACP, and the charges were dropped. In 1960 Kennard was arrested again and sentenced to seven years in prison for conspiring to steal several bags of chicken feed. 7 Upon hearing the verdict, an outraged Evers was held in contempt for publicly denouncing the court's decision. Both of Kennard's arrests were later revealed as a determined plot on the part of the college administration to prevent his enrollment. In 1962 Kennard was diagnosed with cancer, and his health rapidly deteriorated. Evers, distressed by his friend's condition and treatment by the authorities, barely contained his grief when giving an update about Kennard at an NAACP banquet.8 Kennard died in 1963, just one year after James Meredith's admission to the University of Mississippi, the university that Evers had once tried to integrate.

A letter from NAACP general counsel Robert Carter concerning Clyde Kennard dated October 9, 1959. Accession number: Z.2331.000.001

A letter from NAACP general counsel Robert Carter concerning Clyde Kennard dated October 9, 1959. Accession number: Z.2331.000.001, box 2, folder 10 (Medgar Wiley and Myrlie Beasley Papers)


1 Michael V. Williams, Medgar Evers: Mississippi Martyr (Fayetteville: The University of Arkansas Press, 2011), 19.
2 John Dittmer, Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1995), 49.
3 Adam Nossiter, Of Long Memory: Mississippi and the Murder of Medgar Evers (Cambridge: De Capo Press, 2002), 41.
4 Dittmer, Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi, 50.
5 Charles C. Bolton, The Hardest Deal of All: The Battle Over School Integration in Mississippi, 1870-1980 (Jackson, University Press of Mississippi, 2005), 79.
6 Williams, Medgar Evers: Mississippi Martyr, 229.
7 Dittmer, Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi, 80.
8 Myrlie Evers and William Peters For Us the Living (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1996), 224.

 

The BAWI and Conflict

On January 22, 2013, in Uncategorized, by Dorian Randall
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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 depicting the state's industries. Series 552, MDAH.

A Mississippi Advertising Commission poster depicting the state’s industries. Series 552, MDAH.

The unspoken assumption of the program was that white Mississippians would get new industrial jobs, while the African-American population remained the backbone of the state’s agricultural system. Mississippi’s new industrial workers were not offered legal protection in the form of minimum wages, unions, or worker’s compensation laws. In fact, the cheapness and compliance of the Mississippi workforce was touted as an advantage for companies seeking to escape heavily unionized Northern states. Some companies abused the training programs. Most notably was the Vertex Hosiery Company in Ellisville, where groups of students were rotated through unpaid “training programs” at the plant and then told they could not be hired, while the items they manufactured were sold.