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

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

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.


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  


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 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.



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.


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  

MDAH Closure for Staff Development morrisey Mon, 03/28/2022 - 14:12

MDAH offices, archives library, museums, and sites will be closed on Monday, April 4, for staff development. Regular hours will resume on Tuesday, April 5. 

Visit for more information about each site. Learn more about researching at archives here


Eddie Glaude to Speak at the Two Mississippi Museums April 28

Eddie S. Glaude Jr., educator, author, political commentator, and public intellectual will deliver the Medgar Wiley Evers Lecture on Thursday, April 28, at 6 p.m. at the Two Mississippi Museums in Jackson. The event is free and open to the public. 

“I am thrilled that a Mississippi native as distinguished as Eddie Glaude is coming home to participate in our lecture series,” said MDAH director Katie Blount. “I am also excited for his first visit to the Two Mississippi Museums.”

Glaude, a native of Moss Point, is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor and chair of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University. His writings include Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul, In a Shade of Blue: Pragmatism and the Politics of Black America, and his most recent book, New York Times bestseller Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own.

He frequently appears in the media as a columnist for TIME Magazine and on television.

The Medgar Wiley Evers Lecture Series was established in 2003 to honor the legacy of civil rights leader Medgar Evers, one year after Myrlie Evers made an extraordinary gift to the people of Mississippi when she presented the Medgar and Myrlie Evers papers to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH). Previous Evers lecturers include Lonnie Bunch, Henry Louis Gates, Manning Marable, and Robert P. Moses. The series is supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

In 2014, the Kellogg Foundation awarded $2.3 million to MDAH to support programming at the Two Mississippi Museums and fund a partnership between MDAH and the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Institute. The lecture will be held at the Two Mississippi Museums, located at 222 North St. in Jackson. For more information, call 601-576-6850 or visit


Unita Blackwell Property Added to National Register of Historic Places

The Unita Blackwell Property, the property of the first African American woman in the state elected to the office of mayor, has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The United States Secretary of the Interior approved the addition upon the recommendation of the Mississippi National Register Review Board.

“I am ecstatic about this news. I am humbled that the family matriarch is being honored in this fashion,” said the son of Blackwell, Jeremiah Blackwell Jr.

The Unita Blackwell Property consists of the Freedom House, the Ranch House, and the neighbor’s shotgun house.

The Freedom House was Blackwell’s primary residence and was used to host numerous civil rights meetings between the years of 1964-1970. The Freedom House hosted many groups associated with the Civil Rights Movement as well such as the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO), and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). The Ranch House was added for its association to Blackwell’s productive life during her career as mayor of Mayersville, and its use for political work sessions and meetings during her Mayorship. Lastly, the neighbor’s shotgun house was add for its architectural significance and association to the civil rights leader.

The Lighthouse | Black Girl Projects wrote the nomination for the Unita Blackwell property and will work to operate the site as a community center in the future.

"We are thrilled to have played a role in the first steps toward institutionalizing the legacy of the Honorable Unita Blackwell, by having her former home named to the National Registry. The next steps for us is building a museum worthy of her name and her comrades," said president and founder Natalie Collier. "Such a space will not only be a gathering space in Mayersville, but will also remind the Mississippi Delta, Mississippians and beyond of the dignity, tenacity and charm of a Black woman who succeeded in “Barefootin’” her way to personal, civil and humanitarian freedom. Ms. Unita has long-since been a point of personal inspiration, so I’m grateful her son, Jeremiah, worked with us to achieve this milestone."

“Unita Blackwell was an amazing local leader and trailblazer. Her story is one that everyone should know,” said MDAH director Katie Blount. “I am so glad her property is being preserved for future generations.”

The National Register of Historic Places was established by Congress in 1966 to help identify and protect historically significant properties. National Register properties enrich our understanding of local, state, and national history by representing significant events and developments, the contributions of notable people, and important types of buildings and architectural styles. National Register listing can also help preserve these important properties through tax benefits, grant assistance, and protection from demolition or development.

National Register listing does not restrict a private owner's use of the property, unless development of the property involves federal funding, federal rehabilitation tax credits, or participation in some other federal program. There are no requirements for public accessibility, and information about sensitive sites can be restricted from the public.

By preserving Mississippi's diverse historic resources, and sharing them with people around the world, MDAH inspires discovery of stories that connect our lives and shape our future. For more information email



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