History Is Lunch

Mississippi Justice: Then and Now

At noon on Wednesday, June 10, as part of the department’s History Is Lunch series, Wilma Mosley Clopton will present “Mississippi Justice: Then and Now.” The streaming-only program will be shown live on the Mississippi Department of Archives and History’s Facebook page and uploaded to the MDAH YouTube channel afterwards.

The program will feature a screening of Clopton’s new film Mississippi Justice, which examines a 1951 murder in Pike County. “Hattie Lee Barnes was a twenty-year-old African American who shot and killed a white male from a prominent family,” said Clopton. The film draws on trial records and interviews to depict the case’s twists and turns.

In less than three weeks after the shooting Barnes was indicted, entered a not guilty plea, and was on trial for murder. Joe Pigott, PIke County’s newest and most inexperienced public defender, was appointed as Barnes’s attorney. “According to our research the courtroom was overflowing with onlookers, and the spite and anger for Ms. Barnes was obvious,” said Clopton. “That same spite and anger was equally as obvious for Mr. Pigott as he defended this black woman who killed a respected member of the white community.”

Following the screening Clopton will be joined in a panel discussion by Pauline Rogers, co-founder and president of Reaching and Educating for Community Hope, and Regina Quinn, a partner in the May Law Firm, PLLC.

Production of the film Mississippi Justice was made possible by contributions from the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Institute, Women for Progress of Mississippi, Inc., the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, One Voice, the Jackson Branch of the NAACP, and the Mississippi Humanities Council.

Wilma Mosley Clopton is a graduate of the University of Mississippi Filmmaking Workshop and the Barefoot Filmmakers Workshop. Her body of work to date includes twelve short films, four books, one play, and the Margaret Walker Alexander coloring book for children. Clopton is the recipient of the 2011 Mississippi Humanities Council Educator Award, the 2014 Mississippi Arts Commission Media Fellowship Award, the 2013 and 2015 Mississippi Film and Video Alliance’s “Emerging Filmmaker Award.” Her work has been recognized by the Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University, the Mississippi Historical Society, and Women for Progress of Mississippi, Inc.

History Is Lunch is broadcast from the Craig H. Neilsen Auditorium in the Two Mississippi Museums—the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum—in Jackson. For more information call 601-576-6998 or email cgoodwin@mdah.ms.gov.

Grand Army of the Republic in Mississippi

At noon on Wednesday, June 3, as part of the department’s History Is Lunch series, Jeff Giambrone will present “’Pledged to One Country and One Flag’: The Grand Army of the Republic in Mississippi.” The streaming-only program will be shown live on the Mississippi Department of Archives and History’s Facebook page and uploaded to the MDAH YouTube channel afterwards.

The Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) was the largest and most influential Civil War veterans organization in the United States. Membership peaked in 1890 with more than 400,000 men in 7,000 posts across the country.

“In Mississippi the organization was caught up in the tumultuous politics of the Reconstruction Era as African American veterans fought to establish their own posts,” Giambrone said. “All told there were 23 known Grand Army of the Republic camps in Mississippi, most of which were African American.”

The G.A.R. posts were active in their communities, perpetuating the memory of those who fought for the Union through parades, Memorial Day observances, and lectures. The group also used its influence to advocate with the government for pensions and soldiers homes to aid its members.

“The Grand Army of the Republic left a legacy of honorable service to the country, and many descendants of its members still live in Mississippi today,” said Giambrone.

Jeff T. Giambrone is a native of Bolton. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Mississippi State University and a master’s in history from Mississippi College. Giambrone works as a reference librarian in the state archives. He is the author of four books: Beneath Torn and Tattered Flags: A Regimental History of the 38th Mississippi Infantry, C.S.A.; An Illustrated Guide to the Vicksburg Campaign and National Military Park; Remembering Mississippi's Confederates; and Vicksburg and the War, co-authored with Gordon Cotton. His articles have appeared in North South Civil War Magazine, Military Images Magazine, Civil War Monitor, and North South Trader's Civil War Magazine.

For more information email cgoodwin@mdah.ms.gov or call 601-576-6998.

The Delta and Dockery Farms

At noon on Wednesday, June 17, as part of the department’s History Is Lunch series, William C. Lester will present “The Delta and Dockery.” The streaming-only program will be shown live on the Mississippi Department of Archives and History’s Facebook page and added to the MDAH YouTube channel afterwards.

Dockery Plantation was a 25,600-acre cotton plantation and sawmill on the Sunflower River between Ruleville and Cleveland. It is widely regarded as the place where Delta blues music was born.

“They say the Delta starts in the Peabody in Memphis and ends on Catfish Row in Vicksburg,” said Lester. “Over 100 miles long and 50 miles wide, an alluvial flood plain of the Mississippi River untold years in the making, on that flood plain swamp lived many different people and their families. And the stories of those families that tamed the swamp into one of the most productive farmlands in the world is the story of the Delta.”

Lester is executive director of the Dockery Farms Foundation, whose mission is to preserve the historic property and heritage of Dockery Farms and to develop these for educational purposes and the public interest in music, agriculture, and the history of the Mississippi Delta.

William C. Lester was born in Memphis. He earned a BA and MFA from the University of Mississippi. From 1974 to 2008 he worked in the art department of Delta State University, serving as chair from 2004 to 2008. He has been executive director of the Dockery Farms Foundation since 2004.

History Is Lunch is broadcast from the Craig H. Neilsen Auditorium in the Two Mississippi Museums—the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum—in Jackson. For more information call 601-576-6998 or email cgoodwin@mdah.ms.gov.

This Week’s Featured History is Lunch: Cat Island

This week, we are highlighting a 2018 History Is Lunch presentation by John Cuevas and photographer Jason Taylor entitled "Discovering Cat Island: Photographs and History."

A barrier island in the Mississippi Sound, Cat Island was originally owned by the Cuevas family as part of a 1781 Spanish land grant. The site’s history includes stories of pirate treasure, the Battle of New Orleans, the Trail of Tears, and Prohibition. Lieutenant governor (then secretary of state) Delbert Hosemann introduced the program.

Watch the program on YouTube
 

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