MDAH News

Eudora Welty: Other Places Exhibit Open to the Public swarnock Tue, 04/16/2024 - 16:55

The Eudora Welty: Other Places photography exhibit is now open at the Eudora Welty House & Garden (EWHG) Visitor Center. The special exhibit is free to visit and will be on display for two years.

“In her memoir One Writer's Beginnings, Eudora Welty wrote, ‘Through travel I first became aware of the outside world; it was through travel that I found my own introspective way into becoming a part of it,’” said Eudora Welty House & Garden director Jessica Russell. "Eudora Welty: Other Places showcases Welty's empathetic eye for the human condition and the curiosity she experienced as a young writer traveling away from her native state and discovering the rhythm and culture of other places.”

Focusing on Welty’s photography, the exhibit explores the way travel forms connections with people from beyond their homes. It also interprets twenty photographs Welty took in New York and New Orleans throughout the 1930s. Artifacts related to Welty's photography, including three of Welty’s cameras, a selection of archived letters, and souvenirs related to her travels will also be on display.

Following the two-year showing at the EWHG, Eudora Welty: Other Places will be showcased in public spaces throughout Mississippi as a traveling exhibit.  Eudora Welty: Other Places was developed and curated through a partnership between MDAH and Eudora Welty, LLC. 

The EWHG Visitor Center is free and open to the public Tuesday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Parking can be found alongside 1109 Pinehurst Street.

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Inaugural Fellow Chosen for Religion in Mississippi History Research Fellowship swarnock Mon, 04/15/2024 - 13:44

Summer King, a graduate student at the University of Mississippi, has been selected as the inaugural fellow for the Religion in Mississippi History Research Fellowship. King will use archival holdings at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) to research the spread of Pentecostalism to interracial congregations during Jim Crow segregation.

“My research will shed light on Bishop Charles Harrison Mason and his work in starting an interracial Pentecostal movement in Mississippi during the earliest part of the twentieth century and the height of the Jim Crow legislation,” said Summer King.

Established by MDAH’s Religion Initiative and funded through Lilly Endowment Inc., the fellowship seeks to encourage research regarding the role of religion in Mississippi history.

“We are excited to announce Summer King as the inaugural Religion in Mississippi History Research Fellow," said director of MDAH Katie Blount. "King's examination of Bishop Charles Harrsion Mason's pivotal role in establishing The Church of God in Christ will provide unique insight into the long-standing influence of religion on Mississippi history.”

After receiving her bachelor’s degree in history from Tennessee Technological University, King completed her master’s in history at Mississippi State University where she is currently working toward her doctorate. She will use the $5,000 fellowship to cover travel, housing, and other expenses incurred while doing primary research.

In December 2022, Lilly Endowment awarded a $2.5 million grant through its Religion and Cultural Institutions Initiative to the Foundation for Mississippi History to help MDAH expand public understanding of religious history in Mississippi.

Archival holdings related to religion may be accessed online and at the William F. Winter Archives and History Building at 200 North Street in Jackson. For more information on the archival collection or the Religion in Mississippi History Research Fellowship, contact Laura Heller at 601-576-6889, or by email at lheller@mdah.ms.gov.

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2024 Evers Research Fellow Chosen  swarnock Mon, 04/08/2024 - 09:27

Keon Burns, a dual doctoral candidate in history and Africana studies at Pennsylvania State University, has been named the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Research Fellow for 2024. Burns will conduct research this summer in the Medgar Wiley and Myrlie Beasley Evers Papers housed at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) in Jackson.

By examining the records and correspondence of Medgar Evers during his time as Mississippi field secretary for the NAACP, among other archival collections at MDAH, Burns hopes to gain insight into the role of Black businesspeople, particularly grocery store owners, and their impact as grassroots activists during the Civil Rights Movement.

“I will use the Evers Papers and other MDAH holdings as the basis for a dissertation chapter that builds off my master’s thesis,” said Burns. “The chapter will highlight the role of Black grocers in the Civil Rights Movement. I will use Mississippi and the grocery industry as a case study for the impact of Black-owned businesses on community organizing, resistance, and uplift.”

The Medgar and Myrlie Evers Research Scholars Program is a collaboration between MDAH and the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Institute. The program seeks to nurture upper-level graduate students and faculty scholars at the beginning of their academic careers to increase their life-long interest in history, and to promote continued academic and public appreciation of Medgar and Myrlie Evers’s life and works, the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi, and the struggle for human rights.

Burns will use the $5,000 fellowship to cover travel, housing, and other expenses incurred while doing primary research at the archives.

The Medgar Wiley and Myrlie Beasley Evers Papers may be accessed at the William F. Winter Archives and History Building, 200 North Street, in Jackson. For more information on the fellowship or about the collection, contact Laura Heller at 601-576-6850 or by email at lheller@mdah.ms.gov.

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Eudora Welty House & Garden to Celebrate Welty Birthday with Free Weekend of Activities swarnock Wed, 04/03/2024 - 08:34

The Eudora Welty House & Garden (EWH&G) will hold a free, celebratory weekend honoring the late author and photographer Eudora Welty’s 115th birthday with free tours and activities on Friday, April 12, and Saturday, April 13. 

On Friday, the party begins at 9 a.m. with free birthday cupcakes and lemonade available to guests on the side porch of Welty’s 1925 Tudor Revival house. Visitors are invited to create complimentary, wearable button-pins using historic photographs of Welty and other scrapbook materials. From 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., local DJ Tyler Tadlock will play records with music from Welty's era on the side porch. Free tours of the Welty house will be given at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. Reservations are recommended. 

On Saturday, the birthday celebration continues at 10 a.m. with a garden volunteering opportunity led by EWH&G garden assistant, Jess Stein, where visitors can honor Welty by tending to her garden. Registration is encouraged for garden volunteering, but not required. Free tours of Welty’s house will be available at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.  

Eudora Welty was born on April 13, 1909, in Jackson. For 76 years, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author lived, entertained, and wrote her stories in her Jackson home at 1109 Pinehurst Street. A National Historic Landmark since 2004, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History interprets the site to 1986, when Welty was still actively writing and traveling.  

Space is limited for tours. Reservations are recommended. Email info@eudoraweltyhouse.com to book a reservation or call 601-353-7762 for more information. 

The EWH&G Visitor Center is free and open to the public Tuesday–Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Parking can be found alongside 1109 Pinehurst Street.  

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Foundation for Mississippi History Changes Leadership swarnock Wed, 03/27/2024 - 15:13

At its March meeting, the Foundation for Mississippi History board elected Jonathan Lee as chair and Pat Biglane as vice-chair.  

Jonathan Lee is a senior vice president and senior principal of member performance at Vizient, Incorporated. His current civic engagements include the Fondren Renaissance Foundation, the Mississippi Center for Justice, the Mississippi Symphony Foundation, and the One Percent Commission that oversees the expenditure of funds generated by a local option sales tax for infrastructure improvements for the city of Jackson. He had previously served as vice-chair of the Foundation. 

Pat Biglane is President & CEO at Concordia Bank & Trust Co. He has served on boards for the Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce, Boys & Girls Clubs of both Mississippi and Louisiana, Natchez Inc. Economic Development Authority, Historic Natchez Foundation, Natchez Colored Troops Monument Committee, and other organizations. 

Lee replaced Ryan Beckett, a partner at Butler Snow, who completed his term as president. 

Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) director Katie Blount said, “We are grateful to Ryan Beckett for his sound leadership of the Foundation board, and we are excited to move forward with Jonathan Lee and Pat Biglane as we raise funds for significant projects in Natchez and Jackson.”  

The FMH supports and promotes the activities, programs, and projects of MDAH. The FMH board meets at least twice a year to review financial reports and to consult with staff on strategic plans for the department. It advises MDAH on the direction of the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.     

Other FMH board members are Beverly Hogan, Donna Barksdale, Phil Bryant, Nathan Wells, Pamela D.C. Junior, Mike Walker, Haley Fisackerly, Kane Ditto, Jack Garner, Reuben Anderson, Ebony Lumumba, John Horhn, Nora Frances McRae, and George Flaggs.  

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Two Mississippi Museums Summer Camp Registration Now Open swarnock Wed, 03/20/2024 - 14:27

Registration is open for the summer 2024 History Exploration and Freedom School camps held at the Two Mississippi Museums. Enroll your child now for educational summer fun!

Thanks to a grant from the Geneviève McMillan-Reba Stewart Foundation, the camp sessions have affordable registration fees at $75 per student for one-week camps and $150 per student for the two-week camp, both providing lunch and two snacks per day. The grant also assists the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) with covering costs for transporting students to historic sites and additional teaching staff.

History Exploration Camp is for students heading into fourth and fifth grades. Campers will explore themes such as archaeology, architecture, transportation, civil rights, and music. In addition to exhibits at the Two Mississippi Museums, students will enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of the collections, special guest speakers, and visits to other historic sites in Jackson. History Exploration Camp sessions are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with Session 1 happening June 10-14 and Session 2 happening June 24-28. 

Freedom School Camp is for students heading into sixth, seventh, and eighth grades, where campers will deepen their understanding of the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi and its impact on the world through stories of local heroes in their communities. Students will visit historic sites in Jackson and take a trip to the Mississippi Delta. Freedom School Camp is held for two consecutive weeks, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., July 15 through July 26 on week days. 

Learn more or register by visiting https://2mm.mdah.ms.gov/learn/families-communities

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Elbert R. Hilliard, 87, Former Director of MDAH, Dies swarnock Mon, 03/18/2024 - 11:08

Former director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH), Elbert R. Hilliard, died on March 17.  He became the fifth director of MDAH in 1973, after starting with the agency in 1965. He retired in 2004 after thirty-nine years of public service. Hilliard was named director emeritus of MDAH and continued to support the work of the department. MDAH director Katie Blount said, “Under his leadership, MDAH grew to be a multifaceted historical agency with a national reputation for excellence. His work had a profound impact on the effort to preserve, interpret, and promote Mississippi history.” 

Hilliard worked with the Mississippi Legislature to make the State Antiquities Law one of the strongest preservation laws in the country. An avid historian and preservationist, he initiated a grant program to benefit historic properties around the state, including courthouses, schools, museums, and other sites. Under his leadership, MDAH established a records management program for state government records, and he personally traveled the state to promote a records management program for cities and counties. Hilliard oversaw the funding efforts for the construction of the state-of-the-art William F. Winter Archives and History Building that was dedicated in 2003.  

He served as the secretary-treasurer of the Mississippi Historical Society for forty-four years, from 1973 to 2017. He also served as editor-in-chief for the Journal of Mississippi History throughout his thirty-one years as department director. Brother Rogers, secretary-treasurer for the Society, said “Mr. Hilliard’s long record of public service is an example for every public official in the state. He dedicated his career to promoting the preservation and understanding of Mississippi history. He will be remembered not only for his achievements, but also for his personal rectitude, humility, and generosity.”

 

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Two Mississippi Museums to Host Passover Freedom Seder April 11 swarnock Mon, 03/11/2024 - 10:05

The Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) and the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life (ISJL) will hold the Mississippi Freedom Seder on Thursday, April 11, at 6 p.m. in the Craig H. Neilsen Auditorium of the Two Mississippi Museums.

Inspired by the 1969 Freedom Seder in Washington DC, where hundreds of people of all backgrounds gathered to explore and celebrate freedom in the context of the Civil Rights Movement, this event invites participants to the Passover table for an evening of commemoration, stories, and community.  

“We are pleased to co-host the third Mississippi Freedom Seder with our community partners,” said Katie Blount, MDAH director.  “This year marks the 60th anniversary of Freedom Summer, so we remember the courage of visiting Freedom Summer volunteers in 1964, many of whom were Jewish, who joined with Mississippians to fight for racial equality.”   

“Our Mississippi Freedom Seder in 2023 brought our communities together for conversation and reflection,” said Michele Schipper, CEO of the ISJL. “We are excited to co-host this event again and tell these Mississippi stories.”

This participatory program will include a Passover meal. All are welcome and invited to join us in honoring this historic tradition.  

Rabbi Matt Dreffin from T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights will lead the program, which also includes music from Jayla Lomax and stories from Freedom Summer.

Passover is an eight-day Jewish holiday, referred to as the “festival of freedom.” Passover celebrates the liberation of the Hebrew people from slavery in Egypt. The traditional meal, where the story of Passover is shared along with rituals, readings, songs, and food, is called a Seder. Seders celebrate freedom from bondage and freedom from oppression, providing a shared communal celebration of freedom and friendship for all.   

At the first Freedom Seder, held on April 4, 1969, more than 800 people gathered in a church in Washington, DC, to commemorate the first anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s death. Using the words of the traditional Passover Seder, calling for justice, peace, and liberation, the 1969 Freedom Seder strengthened Black and Jewish community relations and established a touchstone for contemporary Seders.  

The Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum are in downtown Jackson at 222 North Street. Free parking can be found alongside North Street or in the Two Mississippi Museum’s visitors’ garage on Jefferson Street.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students, and are available for purchase here.  For more information, call 601-576-6800, email info@twomississippimuseums.com, or visit 2mm.mdah.ms.gov.

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Eddie S. Glaude Jr. Book Signing and Discussion at Two Mississippi Museums on April 4

March 08, 2024

On Thursday, April 4, at 6 p.m., bestselling author and Princeton University professor Eddie S. Glaude Jr. will discuss his latest book, We Are the Leaders We Have Been Looking For, at the Two Mississippi Museums in Jackson. This event is free, open to the public, with no registration or reservation required.  

In partnership with the Mississippi Book Festival, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) will host Glaude with Pamela D.C. Junior, former director of the Two Mississippi Museums and member of the Foundation for Mississippi History Board of Directors, as event moderator.  

“We look forward to celebrating Mississippian Eddie Glaude’s latest work with the community,” said Ellen Daniels, executive director of the Mississippi Book Festival. “Glaude is a testament to Mississippi and a critical voice in relaying the urgency and importance of individual agency in the efforts to sustain American democracy.” 

Copies of We Are the Leaders We Have Been Looking For will be available for purchase in the Mississippi Museum Store, and a book signing will be held at 5 p.m. in the lobby of the museums. A Q&A will immediately follow the 6 p.m. book discussion. 

“We are excited to welcome home distinguished author and professor Eddie Glaude to share his latest work with Mississippians during his book tour,” said Michael Morris, director of the Two Mississippi Museums. A Moss Point native, Glaude is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University.  

Glaude is the author of several books, including Democracy in Black and The New York Times bestseller Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own, winner of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Book Prize. He frequently appears in the media as an MSNBC contributor on programs like Morning Joe and Deadline: White House and as a columnist for TIME Magazine

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Mississippi Makers Fest Returns to Two Mississippi Museums May 11

Mississippi blues and Grammy award-winning artist Christone “Kingfish” Ingram will headline the free 2024 Mississippi Makers Fest—a music, food, and arts festival sponsored by Nissan—at the Two Mississippi Museums from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 11. Additional musical performers include Hud & The Hurricane and American Blonde. 

The free event will kick off the 2024 summer season with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History’s third annual Mississippi Makers Fest. More than 40 vendors and food trucks will gather to celebrate Mississippi’s creativity in its finest form. Visitors can look forward to handcrafted pottery, paintings, charcuterie boards, jewelry, and more from local vendors. Mini Makers also returns, full of make-and-take crafts and activities for children, including face painting. Mississippi Animal Rescue League will have furry friends ready to be adopted from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m and will be accepting donations 

“Nissan is a proud supporter of Mississippi Makers Fest, bringing friends and neighbors together to celebrate the immense creativity of the Magnolia state,” said Chandra Vassar, chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion officer for Nissan Americas and president of the Nissan Foundation. “Supporting artists and creators helps foster community, bolster innovation and encourage empathy, creating a world where everyone feels they belong. In collaboration with a partner that shares our values of courage, equity and inclusivity like the Two Mississippi Museums, we’re honored to give back to Mississippians who have given us so much over the 20 years we’ve been manufacturing in the state.” 

Other sponsors include Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi, Nancy and Ray Neilsen, StateStreet Group, Visit Mississippi, Capital City Beverages, the Foundation for Mississippi History, Cathead Distillery, Lucid Ink, Mississippi Tent and Party Rental, Visit Jackson, and radio stations Y101, 102.1 The Box, Blues 93.1, Your Hometown Country US96, Mix 98.7, and 93.5 The Legend. 

“The Two Mississippi Museums are grateful to have Nissan as the title sponsor of the 2024 Mississippi Makers Fest—making it possible to have such an inspirational and talented musical lineup for this year's event,” said Michael Morris, director of the Two Mississippi Museums. “We'll also offer free admission that day, creating a wonderful opportunity for visitors, especially young people, to explore the state's rich history in the museums.”

Blankets and one collapsible lawn chair per person are allowed. Only clear bags will be allowed through security—including purses, fanny packs, diaper bags, and all other bags.  

The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and the Museum of Mississippi History are in downtown Jackson at 222 North Street.  

For more information on Mississippi Makers Fest, join the event at @MSMakersFest, visit msmakersfest.mdah.ms.gov, or email info@mississippimakersfest.com.  

 

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