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At noon on Wednesday, July 24, as part of the department’s History Is Lunch series, James P. Pate will present “Pickett’s History of Mississippi.”

Pate edited and annotated a new, expanded edition of Albert James Pickett’s landmark 1851 two-volume History of Alabama, and Incidentally Georgia and Mississippi from the Earliest Period—a survey of the Old Southwest that drew on Spanish, French, and Native sources to tell the diverse and contested story of the region. An emeritus professor of history at the University of West Alabama, Pate spent more than twenty years researching the sources and methods in Pickett’s History.

“Before becoming separate states, Alabama and Mississippi were united in the Mississippi Territory,” said Pate. “You cannot tell the story of one without the other, and Pickett covers some of the earliest elements of Mississippi history, including the De Soto expedition; the Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Natchez people; the French forts on the Mississippi and Tombigbee rivers; and the Territorial capital of Natchez. Much of his first volume was concerned with life in what is now Mississippi.”

“In his History of Alabama, Albert James Pickett showed an unusual interest for his time in the intersections between colonists and the American Indians who inhabited what would become the state of Alabama,” wrote University of Mississippi professor of anthropology Robbie Ethridge. “Pickett’s narrative is a crucial source for nineteenth-century understandings of those relations. Historian James P. Pate offers a detailed introduction and careful, much-needed annotations that clarify, correct, contextualize, and amplify Pickett’s text”

James Pate earned his undergraduate degree from Delta State University and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Mississippi State University. He is the former chair of the history department and dean of general studies at the University of West Alabama; dean of Arts and Letters at Southeastern Oklahoma State University; vice-president for academic affairs at Northeastern State University, and campus dean at the University of Mississippi–Tupelo until his retirement in 2014. Some of Pate’s other published works include The Reminiscences of George Strother Gaines: Pioneer and Statesman of Early Alabama and Mississippi, 1805-1843 and Cherokee Newspapers, 1828-1906: Tribal Voice of a People in Transition.

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


July 31—Tom Howorth will present "Frederick A.P. Barnard: the Man and the Observatory.”

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