FROM MDAH RELEASES — Katherine Drayne Blount has been named the seventh director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. The Board of Trustees made the decision at a special meeting on September 4. Current director H.T. Holmes will continue to serve in the position until January 31, 2015.
“Katie Blount’s twenty years of experience working with all divisions and programs of MDAH gives her a thorough understanding of the department,” said MDAH board president Kane Ditto. “I am confident that under her leadership the department will continue to build on the progress made by Hank Holmes over the last decade and embrace new opportunities to strengthen the services it offers the people of Mississippi.”
FROM MDAH RELEASES — The 2014 Eudora Welty Research Fellowship has been awarded to Jacob Agner, a doctoral candidate in English at the University of Mississippi. Agner will use the $2,000 fellowship to cover expenses incurred while working with the Eudora Welty Collection at MDAH, where he will explore the influence of film noir on Welty’s short stories, particularly “The Demonstrators.”
“I am interested in ‘rural noir,’ the crime fiction and potboilers of southern writers like Welty,” said Agner. “She seems like the least likely noirish writer, but in some of her stories there’s a strain of sudden violence and an anxiety that can’t be quite placed.”
“Jacob Agner’s distinctive research interest promises to add to the high caliber of scholarship of previous Welty Fellows,” said Julia Marks Young, director of the MDAH Archives and Record Services Division.
Established by the Eudora Welty Foundation and MDAH, the fellowship seeks to encourage and support research use of the Eudora Welty Collection by graduate students.
FROM MDAH RELEASES — In lieu of the annual Historic Preservation Boot Camp, MDAH is planning a series of training sessions this summer in Pascagoula, Starkville, Natchez, and Leland. The workshops are for elected officials, city staff, local Main Street organizers, and anyone interested in historic preservation.
These free seminars fulfill the annual training requirement for historic preservation commission members in Certified Local Government communities. Each session will focus on a different aspect of historic preservation, so participants may attend more than one as they choose. Continue reading
FROM MDAH RELEASES — In the summer of 1964 hundreds of northern college students, most of them white, joined with local African Americans in communities across Mississippi to register voters, conduct Freedom Schools, and promote civil rights. Beginning in June MDAH will mark the fiftieth anniversary of Freedom Summer with an original exhibit at the Winter Building, diverse programming at its sites, and an address at the Old Capitol by an icon of the Civil Rights Movement.
On Monday, June 2, Dr. Robert P. Moses will give the keynote address for the 2014 Medgar Wiley Evers Lecture Series. A leader in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and co-director of the Council of Federated Organizations, Moses became a principal organizer of the Freedom Summer Project. He was also instrumental in establishing the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party that would challenge Mississippi’s all-white delegation at the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in the fall of 1964. Continue reading
FROM MDAH NEWS RELEASES – Mississippi governor Phil Bryant and other state officials were joined by representatives from Entergy Corporation to announce a $1 million donation for the 2 Mississippi Museums project on Thursday, May 1. The funds will be used by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History for exhibits in the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.
“Our company’s history has been intertwined with the state’s history for 90 years and our future will be as well,” said Haley Fisackerly, Entergy Mississippi president. “We’re pleased and proud to be a part of preserving our state’s rich history and sharing it with the world. The museums will be the ultimate tourism destination for visitors interested in the many facets of the Mississippi story.”
Leo Denault, Entergy Corporation chairman of the board and chief executive officer, and Fisackerly presented the $1 million check at the construction site in downtown Jackson to Governor Bryant, former governor William Winter, and MDAH Trustee Reuben Anderson, who accepted the gift on behalf of the state and the museums. Continue reading
FROM MDAH NEW RELEASES – A $12,500 grant from the Billups-Garth Foundation and contributions from dozens of individual donors will help fund the conservation and exhibition of one of the department’s rarest and most significant artifacts. The nearly two-hundred-year-old 20-Star United States flag was transported to specialists in West Virginia in January to undergo cleaning and stabilization that could take up to eighteen months.
In this photograph from 2001, then-director of the Department of Archives and History Elbert R. Hilliard discusses the recently acquired 20-Star United States flag with former Old Capitol Museum of Mississippi History director Donna Bailey Dye.
The historic banner has been adopted as a symbol of Mississippi’s bicentennial celebration in 2017. Acquired by the department in 2001, the gauze flag’s fragile condition was evidence that it had flown aboard a ship. Its frayed edges and numerous holes throughout the blue canton and red-and-white striped field prevented its public display.
Textile Preservation Associates, experts who recently conserved the 11th Mississippi Cavalry Civil War flag for MDAH, will humidify the six-by-ten-foot banner to release dirt from the fabric and meticulously vacuum it. Finally, the flag will be flattened and mounted into a frame to protect the nearly two-century-old textile and allow it to be displayed upright. Continue reading
FROM MDAH NEWS RELEASES–Mississippi officials, civil rights leaders and school children broke ground today on the landmark Museum of Mississippi History and the first Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.
From left, Entergy Mississippi president Haley Fisackerly, former Governor Haley Barbour, Governor Phil Bryant, state NAACP president Derrick Johnson, former NAACP chair Myrlie Evers, former Governor William Winter, and former state Supreme Court Justice Reuben Anderson were part of more than fifty people who broke ground on the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in downtown Jackson on October 24.
“Mississippi has a rich history. Thanks to these two museums, generations to follow will see and hear those stories,” said Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, adding, “They will see that Mississippi is much more about the future than the past.” Continue reading
FROM MDAH NEWS RELEASES–Governor Phil Bryant and other elected officials, civil rights leader Myrlie Evers and other movement veterans, children and teachers, and volunteers from across the state will lift shovels to break ground on the 2 Mississippi Museums project—the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum—on Thursday, October 24, at 10 a.m. The public is invited to a historic day of festivities that will feature music, food, fun, and children’s activities. The groundbreaking will be held at 200 North Street in downtown Jackson. Continue reading
FROM MDAH NEWS RELEASES–MDAH has received a $274,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to digitize 100,000 pages of Mississippi newspapers published between 1836 and 1922, as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP). The department will partner with Louisiana State University Libraries Special Collections on the project. Continue reading