News

2022 Eudora Welty Fellow Named

Pamela J. Merryman, a doctoral student at Southern Methodist University, has been named the 2022 Eudora Welty Fellow. Merryman will use archival holdings at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) to research how Eudora Welty constructed her identity in her writing.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to conduct research in the Eudora Welty archives and am grateful to those who make the Eudora Welty Research Fellowship possible,” said the 2022 Welty Fellowship recipient. “Through my research in the Welty archives, I hope to gain a deeper and broader knowledge of the personal inspiration and creative process that went into Welty’s writing of her only children’s book, The Shoe Bird. Ultimately, I seek to note how this entertaining tale of Arturo the Parrot and the bird community—who gather from all over the world to learn about the power and value of communication, love, memory, and freedom—provides insight into Welty’s other literary works that also explore these vital aspects of the human experience."

Established by MDAH and the Eudora Welty Foundation, the fellowship seeks to encourage and support research in the Eudora Welty Collection by graduate students.

“We’re grateful to the Foundation for their continued support of the fellowship,” said David Pilcher, director of the MDAH Archives and Record Services Division. “I am certain Ms. Merryman will learn a lot and make extensive use of the Welty Collection this summer.”

After receiving her BA in secondary education from Howard Payne University, Merryman completed her MA in liberal arts at Southern Methodist University where she is currently working toward her PhD. Merryman will use the $5,000 fellowship to cover travel, housing, and other expenses incurred while doing primary research at the William F. Winter Archives and History Building in Jackson.

Beginning in 1957, and over the course of more than forty years, Welty donated materials to the department, primarily literary manuscripts and photographs. At her death her remaining papers were bequeathed to MDAH and included unpublished manuscripts and 14,000 items of correspondence with family, friends, scholars, young writers, and noted writers.

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MDAH Closures for Monday, July 4

MDAH offices, archives library, and Grand Village of the Natchez Indians will be closed Monday, July 4, in observance of Independence Day.

Visit www.mdah.ms.gov/explore-mississippi for more information about our one-of-a-kind museums, historical sites and cultural attractions throughout the state. Learn more about researching at archives here.

 

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MDAH Receives $50,000 grant from the Nissan Foundation to Support Field Trips to State History, Civil Rights Museums

The Nissan Foundation has awarded a $50,000 grant to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) to support field trips to the Two Mississippi Museums.

"We are grateful to the Nissan Foundation for their support of our field trip program,” said Katie Blount, director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. “School children are one of our most important audiences. The foundation’s generosity will help more students experience what Governor William Winter called the state’s largest classroom.” 

“We’re proud to award MDAH a grant for the unique programming it’s offering community members at a time in our history when conversations about race, ethnicity, bias, education and solutions are at the forefront,” said Chandra Vasser President of the Nissan Foundation and Nissan’s first ever Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer. 

The funds will be used to defray costs such as admission, travel, and on-site lunches for students. To reserve or learn more about field trips at the Two Mississippi Museums, contact Stephanie King, field trips coordinator, at sking@mdah.ms.gov.

Museum hours are Tuesday–Saturday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. The Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum—Two Mississippi Museums—are located at 222 North Street in Jackson. For more information visit the MDAH Facebook page or email info@mdah.ms.gov

The Nissan Foundation is awarding a total of $848,000 in grants to 33 nonprofit organizations for its 2022 grant cycle. The nonprofit recipients are located in Southern California, Tennessee, Texas, Central Mississippi, Southeast Michigan and the New York and Atlanta metro areas – all locations where Nissan has an operational presence.

As part its 30th anniversary commemoration, the Nissan Foundation has been profiling the work of many of its grantees through written and video storytelling. The anniversary year will culminate with a symposium bringing together Nissan Foundation grantees and thought leaders for dialogue around the foundation’s mission of building community by valuing cultural diversity.

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Ingalls Shipbuilding to Sponsor Free Days for Juneteenth at the Two Mississippi Museums

Ingalls Shipbuilding, the largest manufacturing employer in Mississippi, is supporting free admission to the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum on Friday, June 17, and Saturday, June 18, in observance of Juneteenth. Admission to the Two Mississippi Museums is free every Sunday. 

Signed into law on June 17, 2021, Juneteenth is a federal holiday to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States at the end of the Civil War. On June 19, 1865, Union general Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced that the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation now freed all enslaved people.

“We are grateful to Ingalls Shipbuilding for making it possible for thousands of Mississippians to visit the Two Mississippi Museums and celebrate emancipation in the United States,” said Katie Blount, director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

“We are honored to provide our shipbuilders and fellow Mississippians with the opportunity to learn more about our state’s African American history,” said Kari Wilkinson president of Ingalls Shipbuilding. “By enabling a greater understanding of the history of the state, our hope is that those in attendance will experience firsthand the stories of perseverance and gain an extraordinary deep appreciation of the sacrifice and courage of those who were pioneers in the fight for civil rights.”

Juneteenth themed tours will be held in the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 18, and Sunday, June 19.

Museum hours are Tuesday–Saturday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. The Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum—Two Mississippi Museums—are located at 222 North Street in Jackson. For more information visit the MDAH Facebook page or email info@mdah.ms.gov.  

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Mississippi Makers Fest Announces Return in 2023 at Two Mississippi Museums

Mississippi Makers Fest will be back for its second year at the Two Mississippi Museums. The Mississippi Department of Archives and History announced today that after a successful first year, the music, food, and arts festival will return to Downtown Jackson on May 13, 2023.

“We could not be happier with the turnout for the first ever Mississippi Makers Fest,” said MDAH director Katie Blount. “Our goal was to create an event that celebrated makers of all kinds in Mississippi, and this year’s festival did just that. It was exciting to see so many people celebrating our state’s creativity at the Two Mississippi Museums, and we hope to have an even bigger crowd next year.”

Mississippi Makers Fest was held in early May at the Two Mississippi Museums. This year’s musical performers included North Mississippi Allstars, Mr. Sipp, Chapel Hart, Framing the Red, and several others. MDAH has not yet announced next year’s musical lineup. More than 50 art and food makers participated in 2022, and MDAH says they plan to have at least that many in 2023. Southern Beverage Company has signed on as the title sponsor for the 2023 Mississippi Makers Fest, after sponsoring this year’s event.

“It means a lot to us to be able to sponsor an event in Jackson that is dedicated to celebrating Mississippi’s creativity and innovation,” said Theo P. Costas, President and CEO of Southern Beverage Co., Inc. “Southern Beverage Company started in Jackson in 1939. This is our home, and we love seeing so much talent and creativity here. We were proud to sponsor the first ever Mississippi Makers Fest this year, and are excited to continue our partnership with MDAH into 2023.”

To learn more about MDAH or Mississippi Makers Fest, visit mdah.ms.gov.

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MDAH Celebrates the Life and Legacy of William and Elise Winter, Announces a $5 Million Museum Endowment in Their Honor

Left to right: former Governor Haley Barbour, former President Bill Clinton, and former MS Supreme Court Justice Reuben AndersonOn May 3, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) celebrated the lives of Governor William Winter and First Lady Elise Winter at the Two Mississippi Museums. During the ceremony, Spence Flatgard, MDAH board president, announced the completion of the initial funding goal of the William and Elise Winter Education Endowment, a $5 million fund created to underwrite field trips for Mississippi’s schoolchildren.

“The purpose of this endowment is to ensure that all Mississippi students have the opportunity to experience the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum,” said MDAH director Katie Blount. “We are grateful to the many supporters who gave to this effort, which was spearheaded by Governor and Mrs. Winter. We are especially grateful to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which stepped up first with a generous gift. We are committed to continuing to build the William and Elise Winter Education Endowment, which will make a tremendous impact on future generations to come.”

The William and Elise Winter Education Endowment was created through the Foundation for Mississippi History to memorialize Mississippi’s former governor and first lady and their commitment to education and preservation.

Former President Bill Clinton, former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, and former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Reuben Anderson celebrated the lives of William and Elise Winter at the Two Mississippi Museums. “The minute I met Bill Winter,” said Clinton, “I never had a scintilla of doubt that whatever happened in our friendship, whatever happened in his life, I was with one of the most authentic people I would ever know.”

Before the ceremony, museums director Pamela D.C. Junior led President Clinton on a tour through the Civil Rights Museum.

The Mississippi Symphony Orchestra provided music and the Clinton High School Arrow Singers, Pearl High School Pearl Singers, and Warren Central High School Viking Singers performed together during the ceremony.

To view the video of the ceremony click here.

 

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MDAH Announces the Opening of The Welty Family Papers

In honor of Eudora Welty’s 113th birthday on April 13, a previously restricted series of Welty’s family papers is now open to the public.

“The letters in this series begin with the courtship letters of my grandparents,” said Welty’s niece Mary Alice White. “Also included are personal papers of the family, Eudora's correspondence with family members, and papers and letters from my father, uncles, and other family members. Because these letters were not technically the property of Eudora—they belong to the letter writer—I think Eudora wanted them sealed to respect the privacy of those still living.”

The Eudora Welty Collection, Series 45: Welty Family Papers was restricted to the public, in accordance with Welty’s will, for twenty years after her death.

“This rich gathering of family correspondence swells what was already a most remarkable resource,” said Welty scholar and affiliate professor at the College of Charleston Harriet Pollack. “In these new materials, we grow close to Welty’s parents; her siblings and their families; her grandmother and great grandmother and their children. Through their intimate and everyday interactions with one another, we also come to know so much more about the woman and the writer, Eudora Welty. Astonishingly, a very private woman has unpredictably made generations of personal history available to those touched by her art, inviting us to better understand and to more fully engage the elusive woman behind it.”

The Eudora Welty Collection was established in 1957, when the internationally acclaimed author donated a portion of her papers—manuscripts, photographs, and correspondence—to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. The entire Welty Collection consists of  drafts, revised copies, and printer's versions of Welty's works, including stories, books, essays, reviews, lectures, speeches, and drama. The collection also contains incoming and outgoing correspondence of Welty, negatives and photographs taken by Welty and her father, and memorabilia. The Welty Collection, now one of the largest literary collections in the country, is used by scholars from around the world.

To view a description of this collection click here. For help on how to research in the archives click here.

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Joseph Ewoodzie Jr., Carla Shedd to Discuss Getting Something to Eat in Jackson: Race, Class, and Food in the American South

On Friday, April 15 at 2 p.m., Joseph Ewoodzie Jr. and Carla Shedd will discuss Ewoodzie’s new book Getting Something to Eat in Jackson: Race, Class, and Food in the American South in the Craig H. Neilsen Auditorium at the Two Mississippi Museums.  

 Ewoodzie will speak about the ways in which food availability, choice, and consumption vary between classes of Black Jacksonians, and how this reflects and shapes their different experiences of a shared racial identity. Then he will lead a discussion with the Jacksonians portrayed in his book. Carla Shedd, a sociologist at City University of New York (CUNY) and Jacksonian, will discuss the importance of doing this type of sociological work and writing about the South.  

 Chef Enrika Williams will provide light appetizers for the event. 

 A book sale and signing will follow.    

 The Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum—Two Mississippi Museums—are located at 222 North Street in Jackson. Hours are Tuesday–Saturday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. For more information visit the MDAH Facebook page email info@mdah.ms.gov.  

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