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At noon on Wednesday, November 14, as part of the department’s History Is Lunch series, Joe Wise will present “Above the Trenches: Mississippians in the First Air War.”

“One hundred years ago this month, with news of the armistice announcing the Great War’s end, the world reeled in the aftermath of four years of constant international conflict,” said Wise. “Millions perished on battlefields from Africa and the Middle East to northwest Europe.”

Key technological innovations in the early twentieth century included developments in powered flight. During the years of the First World War, leaps in aircraft design and capability far outpaced those of the first decade following the Wright brothers’ initial flight.

“Many Mississippians were eager to participate in this new form of military engagement,” said Wise. “Some would find almost instant fame, some would meet tragic death, and the achievements and adventures of others would almost completely disappear over time.”

Wise will explore the lives and careers of several of these intrepid air war pioneers whose diverse stories are all connected to Mississippi.

Joseph W. Wise was born in New Orleans and grew up in south Mississippi near Hattiesburg. He earned his bachelor’s in history from Mississippi State University and his master’s in history from the University of Southern Mississippi. Wise retired after almost twenty-eight years with both the Mississippi Army and Air National Guard. He worked for several years as a reference librarian with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History until becoming historian with the Mississippi National Guard in October.

The program will take place in the Craig H. Neilsen Auditorium at the Two Mississippi Museums—the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum—located at 222 North Street, Jackson, MS 39201. There is no charge to attend. For more information call 601-576-6998 or email


November 21—Thanksgiving week--no program

November 28—Tony Turnbow will discuss his new book Hardened to Hickory: The Missing Chapter in Andrew Jackson’s Life. Sales and signing to follow.

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