News Releases

Mississippi Historical Society Meets, Awards Prizes

March 14, 2022

The Mississippi Historical Society held its annual meeting March 10-11 in Hattiesburg to honor its 2022 award winners, including the best Mississippi History Book of 2021, the lifetime achievement award, teacher of the year, and awards of merit.

Ellie J. Dahmer, widow of Vernon Dahmer, received the Lifetime Achievement Award for preserving the memory and accomplishments of Vernon Dahmer and promoting civil rights education.

Christian Pinnen, associate professor of history at Mississippi College, received the Book of the Year Award for Complexion of Empire in Natchez: Race and Slavery in the Mississippi Borderlands. According to the selection committee, “Pinnen weaves together legal history, race, and gender to show how the interplay of Native Americans, people of African descent, and European and American settlers created the changing landscape of slavery in early Mississippi.”

Stuart Levin won the Journal of Mississippi History Article of the Year Award for “Beeson Academy/Hattiesburg Prep: A History in Context,” which recounted the formation of a segregation academy in the 1960s.

The Outstanding Local Historical Society Award was presented to the Dancing Rabbit Genealogy and Historical Society for its preservation work in Carthage.

The Teacher of the Year Award was presented to Steven R. White of Pearl High School.

Awards of Merit were presented to Deborah Delgado for being the founder and director of the Historic Mobile Street Renaissance Festival, which for seventeen years has raised awareness about the historical importance of Mobile Street as a hub for civil rights activism in Hattiesburg; Glenda Funchess for leading the effort to erect four historical markers civil rights markers in Hattiesburg: Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Vernon Dahmer home, Rev. W.D. Ridgeway, and Peay v. Cox federal court case; Edwina Carpenter for modernizing the interpretation at the Mississippi’s Final Stands Interpretive Center at Brices Crossroads in Baldwyn; Russell Guerin for writing Early Hancock County, A Few of Her People and Some of Their Stories; Else N. Martin for restoration and preservation of the Granly Danish-American colony in Jackson County; Friends of Raymond for providing funding to secure almost 44 acres at Raymond to preserve land at the site of the

Battle of Raymond in 1863; Institute of Southern Jewish Life for their virtual vacation program featuring Mississippi sites; the Historical Society of Gulfport for the digitization of the Ralph Bean Architectural Collection as the Gulfport Museum of History’s initial entry in the Mississippi Digital Library; the Library of Hattiesburg, Petal and Forrest County for their excellent virtual programming featuring history during the pandemic; the African American Military History Museum for recognizing and celebrating the service and sacrifice of African Americans in the military; the Mississippi Armed Forces Museum for serving as the military history museum for the state of Mississippi; Visit Hattiesburg for creating the Freedom Summer Driving Tour; and The Admissions Project, an online project on how private academies and public schools dealt with integration through firsthand accounts of students.

Millsaps professor Stephanie Rolph completed her term as president of the Society and welcomed new president Daphne Chamberlain of Tougaloo College. Will Bowlin of Northeast Mississippi Community College was elected vice president. New board members are Roscoe Barnes, cultural heritage tourism manager at Visit Natchez; Barbara Boschert of Coahoma Community College; Keena Graham, Superintendent of the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument; Anne Marshall, executive director of the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library at Mississippi State University; Perry Sansing, special assistant to the chancellor for governmental affairs; and TJ Taylor, executive director of the Mississippi Cable Television Association (MCTA).

The Mississippi Historical Society, founded in 1858, encourages outstanding work in interpreting, teaching, and preserving Mississippi history. Membership is open to anyone; benefits include receiving the Journal of Mississippi History, the Mississippi History Newsletter, and discounts at the Mississippi Museum Store. For information on becoming a member visit


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