Public Meetings

MDAH Board of Trustees Approves New Preservation Fund, Elects Kimberly Campbell mmorris Mon, 07/19/2021 - 12:59

On Friday, July 16, the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History elected a new board member and approved the establishment of the Mississippi Historic Site Preservation Fund. The Legislature created the program to provide funds to acquire and protect significant and endangered sites related to historic battlefields, Native American archaeology, and Civil Rights history, and to encourage tourism to these important destinations.

The Mississippi Historic Site Preservation Fund will award grants to defray the costs of land acquisition to protect historic properties. Grants will be awarded through a competitive application process and a one-to-one match is required. Colleges and universities, historical societies, state agencies, local governments, and 501c (3) nonprofit organizations are eligible to receive a grant through the program.

The deadline for applications is September 30, 2021. Access the application and learn more about the new grant program on the MDAH website at https://www.mdah.ms.gov/historic-preservation/preservation-planning-development#grants.

Reuben Anderson retired from the MDAH board after serving since 2007. Board members elected Kimberly L. Campbell of Jackson to fill the unexpired term of Anderson. Campbell, the State Director of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), is an attorney and former member of the Mississippi House of Representatives.

Members of the board serve six-year terms. At its April 16 meeting, the board selected Spence Flatgard of Ridgeland to serve as its president beginning in October.

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.

The Mississippi Department of Archives and History is the second-oldest state department of archives and history in the United States. The department collects, preserves, and provides access to the archival resources of the state, administers various museums and historic sites, and oversees statewide programs for historic preservation, state and local government records management, and publications. For more information call 601-576-6850 or email info@mdah.ms.gov.

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Anderson to Retire from MDAH Board, Flatgard Elected Next Board President

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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