MDAH Board of Trustees

Nissan Foundation Donates $30,000 for Field Trips to State History, Civil Rights Museums

The Nissan Foundation has donated $30,000 to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) to underwrite field trips to the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum for the upcoming school year.    

"We are grateful to the Nissan Foundation for their support of our field trip program,” said Katie Blount, director of MDAH. “School children are the most important people we serve. The foundation’s generosity will help us reach our goal for every student in the state to visit the Two Mississippi Museums at least once.”

“For nearly 30 years, the Nissan Foundation has been committed to amplifying the efforts of nonprofit organizations doing the important work of sharing diverse cultural perspectives and experiences with communities across the country,” said Parul Bajaj, senior manager, Nissan Philanthropy. “At perhaps no other time in recent history has the work of Two Mississippi Museums been so critical. We are proud to support their efforts to inspire people to embrace the value of our differences.”

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.

Two Mississippi Museums hours are Tuesday-Saturday 9 a.m.–5 p.m. The museums are open free of charge on Sundays from 11 a.m.–5 p.m. and are located at 222 North Street in Jackson. For more information email info@mdah.ms.gov

Nissan in Mississippi

Since opening its doors in 2003, Nissan’s assembly plant in Canton, Mississippi, has donated more than $18 million and worked more than 12,000 volunteer hours to support more than 200 nonprofit organizations in the Greater Jackson area. The facility employs more than 5,500 people who build the Nissan Altima, Frontier, TITAN and TITAN XD, NV Cargo and NV Passenger vehicles.

Image cutline: Pictured are MDAH board member Helen Moss Smith, Nissan Philanthropy senior manager Parul Bajaj, MDAH board member Nancy Carpenter, MDAH director Katie Blount, MDAH board members Hilda Cope Povall, Betsey Hamilton, and Web Heidelburg, and outgoing MDAH board president Judge Reuben V. Anderson.

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Anderson to Retire from MDAH Board, Flatgard Elected Next Board President mmorris Mon, 04/19/2021 - 15:40

Reuben Anderson (left) with Spence Flatgard. At a regular meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) on Friday, April 16, Reuben Anderson announced his plans to retire in July. Spence Flatgard of Ridgeland was elected to serve as board president beginning in October.

“Mississippi has been uplifted by Justice Anderson’s leadership, character and grace,” said Flatgard. “We all stand on his shoulders and those of former board presidents Mayor Kane Ditto and Governor William Winter. We invite every Mississippian to visit our world-class museums and compelling sites throughout our state to reflect on our rich history and look ahead to our bright future together.”

Anderson joined the board in 2007 and was elected president in 2020. After becoming the first Black student to graduate from the University of Mississippi School of Law, Anderson began his career during the 1960s as a civil rights attorney with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Legal Defense Fund. In 1977, Anderson became the first African American to be appointed a county court judge in Mississippi. In 1982, he became the state’s first African American circuit court judge, and he became the first African American to serve on the Mississippi Supreme Court in 1985.

Anderson was instrumental in the creation of the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, helping to raise $20 million for its construction. Most recently, Anderson served as chair of the Commission to Redesign the Mississippi State Flag, which recommended a new design to represent the state. On November 3, 2020, Mississippians voted overwhelmingly to approve the design.

“Reuben Anderson has made history all his life, and he did no less at MDAH,” said MDAH director Katie Blount. “From the beginning, he shared Governor Winter's vision for the Two Mississippi Museums, and his strong public advocacy ensured the project's success. With strength and moral clarity, he led Mississippi in choosing a new flag that elevates our state and unites our people. I speak for all the staff as I say that we are honored by his leadership and proud of what we have accomplished together.”

Anderson said, “I am proud to be succeeded by Spence Flatgard, who will be a strong leader for MDAH, drawing on his thorough understanding of the agency’s work and his broad network of contacts both in the public and private sector. Like Kane Ditto and myself, Spence is a great admirer of Governor William Winter and shares his conviction that we cannot move forward together without a shared understanding of our history. Spence will lead this outstanding board with character and commitment, and I look forward to watching MDAH flourish in the coming years.”

Flatgard began his career as Senator Roger Wicker’s first Legislative Director and has served as State Bond Attorney for both Governors Barbour & Bryant. He is now a government affairs attorney and partner at Watkins & Eager, PLLC, located two blocks from the Two Mississippi Museums. He and his wife Lou Ann cheer for their daughter Andie’s basketball teams as their family pastime.

Blount said, “Spence brings a wide range of skills and professional experience to MDAH. He is passionate about the work we do and has built strong relationships with the staff. We look forward to continuing to expand our audience and strengthen our impact under his leadership.”

A new trustee will be elected to fill Anderson’s seat in July. Members serve six-year terms. Other members of the board of trustees of the Department of Archives and History are Hilda Cope Povall of Cleveland, vice president; Nancy Carpenter, Columbus; Betsey Hamilton, New Albany; Web Heidelberg, Hattiesburg; Edmond Hughes, Ocean Springs; Mark Keenum, Starkville; and Helen Moss Smith of Natchez.

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