Skip to content

On Wednesday, July 26, as part of the department's History Is Lunch series, Robert W. Hamblin will discuss his new book, Living in Mississippi: The Life and Times of Evans Harrington.

With his new biography of Harrington, Robert W. Hamblin elevates the scholar, author, and advocate for racial advancement, as well as his achievements and writings, introducing his legacy to a new generation. Evans Harrington (1925-1997) continually found himself in conflict with the conservative, and often reactionary, institutions of his society--be they educational, political, or religious. Yet unlike many Mississippi liberals and moderates of his day--white as well as black--Harrington did not leave the state for a freer environment or opportunities elsewhere. Except for his military service, he stayed in Mississippi his entire life.

In 1962, Harrington openly supported the enrollment of James Meredith, the first African American student to attend Ole Miss. In 1965, he invited African American students from Tougaloo College to attend the Southern Literary Festival hosted by Ole Miss--the first meeting of that organization to be integrated. In 1972, as faculty sponsor of Images, the Ole Miss literary journal, he joined his student writers in a successful suit against the university’s attempt to suppress an issue of the magazine that contained controversial content. In 1996, Harrington united with other ACLU members to support the cause of Lisa Herdahl, who had brought suit against the North Pontotoc, Mississippi, School Board for allowing sectarian prayers and devotionals in public school classrooms. Hamblin presents these and other examples, showing Harrington both as an exception to and as a representative figure of his time and place.

This biography also explores Harrington and his writings, which include "Living in Mississippi," a personal essay about being a white liberal in segregated Mississippi; several short stories; and his novel, The Prisoners. Harrington also coedited, with Ann J. Abadie, four volumes of papers presented at the annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference, which he co-founded.

Robert W. Hamblin is professor emeritus of English and founding director of the Center for Faulkner Studies at Southeast Missouri State University. A native of Mississippi, he is the author or editor of thirty books, including eighteen scholarly volumes, six books of poems, four biographies, and two family memoirs. His most recent books are Myself and the World: A Biography of William Faulkner, published by University Press of Mississippi; Faulkner and Warren; and Dogwood Winter and Other Seasons.

The program will take place in the William F. Winter Building, 200 North Street, Jackson, MS 39201. There is no charge to attend. Sales and signing to follow. For more information call 601-576-6998 or email info@mdah.ms.gov.

UPCOMING PROGRAMS

August 2—Stennis Center for Public Service director Rex Buffington, “John C. Stennis: Mississippi’s Longest Serving U.S. Senator.” WFW

August 9—Former Speaker Pro Tem Robert Clark will be the guest of honor as Judge Fred Banks, Rep. Alyce Clarke, and other officials participate in a program commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the election of Clark to the Mississippi Legislature. Reception to follow. OCM

August 16—Debbie Z. Harwell, Wednesdays in Mississippi: Proper Ladies Working for Radical Change, Freedom Summer 1964. Sales and signing to follow WFW

August 23—NancyKay Sullivan Wessman, “Katrina: Looking Back, Planning Ahead.” WFW

August 30—Charles Eagles, Civil Rights, Culture Wars: The Fight over a Mississippi Textbook WFW

History Is Lunch programs take place in the William F. Winter Archives and History Building (WFW), 200 North Street, Jackson, MS 39201, or the Old Capitol Museum (OCM), 100 South State Street, Jackson, MS 39201.

View All News Releases