Info

Mississippi Moments Podcast

Since 1971, the Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage has been preserving the memories of Mississippians from all walks of life. Our collection of over 4,000 interviews and counting has proven an invaluable resource for teachers, writers, researchers, and museums. While our collection has a recognized strength in the history of the civil rights movement and veterans' histories, the Center has collected broadly. The topics covered within the collection encompass the breadth of the state’s history.   Mississippi Moments began in early 2005 as a weekly series of radio spots broadcast statewide on Mississippi Public Broadcasting with funding provided by the Mississippi Humanities Council. Each episode features stories gleaned from hours of research, edited for time and clarity and narrated by Mississippi broadcast veteran, Bill Ellison. These stories range in topic and tone, but war stories and the struggle for civil rights receive the most attention. MSMO is not a History series. History frequently comes along for the ride, but Story drives the narrative. In 2009, the Mississippi Moments Podcast was launched as a way to make past and future episodes available online and searchable by subject. The podcast format allows us to greatly expand on the broadcast version and bonus content is a given. So give us a listen. With over 600 episodes available and new ones added each month, you are certain to find some amazing, moving stories about the diverse and colorful people who call Mississippi home.
RSS Feed
2020
January


2019
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2018
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2017
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2016
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2015
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2014
December
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2013
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2012
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2011
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
January


2010
November
August
July
May
January


2009
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March


1970
January


Categories

All Episodes
Archives
Categories
Now displaying: Page 1
Jan 20, 2020

On January 6th, 2020, a statue of slain civil rights leader Vernon Dahmer was unveiled at Hattiesburg City Hall.

In this episode, taken from her 1974 COHCH interview, Ellie J. Dahmer remembers her husband as a Christian man who helped everyone regardless of race.  As a prominent figure in the Civil Rights Movement, Vernon Dahmer received death threats, daily. Ellie Dahmer recalls the extreme measures she and her husband took to protect their family.

On the night of January 10, 1966, Vernon Dahmer attended church and then returned home to prepare for another week of hard work.  Ellie Dahmer describes waking up to gunfire and trying to rescue her children as bullets riddled their burning home.

Vernon Dahmer died January 10, 1966 from injuries sustained when his home was firebombed by the KKK. Ellie Dahmer discusses her husband’s legacy and why she thinks he would do it all again.

(note: in the podcast and broadcast, the statue dedication date was incorrectly given as January 4th, not January 6th)

Jan 13, 2020

For Gulf Coast residents, January means Mardi Gras season and in the South, no Super Bowl party is complete without a King Cake. Beyond the traditional Carnival celebrations in Mobile, Biloxi, and New Orleans, many other southern cities have established their own annual parades and festivities in recent years.

Ocean Springs native, Christa Hode grew up attending the Biloxi Mardi Gras parades with her family. In this episode, she remembers the day her father asked if she would like to be the Queen of Carnival for 1971. As Queen Ixolib for the Biloxi Mardi Gras, Hode wore an elaborate gown and long flowing train.  She describes having the gown made in New Orleans and the heavy fabrics they used back then.

Hode has many fond memories of being the Biloxi Queen. She remembers how cold it was during the night parade and how much fun she had waving to the crowds. Having spent her life participating in Mardi Gras festivities, Hode has witnessed the comradery and sense of community it provides Gulf Coast residents. She also appreciates the economic benefits and tourism Carnival brings to the area.

 

Jan 6, 2020

During WWII, a key component of the Allied strategy to defeat the Axis powers in Europe was a sustained aerial bombing campaign against key German military and civilian targets. Despite the vaunted reputation the B-17 bomber achieved, they were outnumbered by the lesser known B-24 Liberator.

Greenville native, Colonial C.R. Cadenhead trained to be an B-24 bomber pilot. In this episode, he shared some memories of his time flying missions over Germany.  Cadenhead explains how he and his crew dined on fancy French cuisine while on their way to Europe and how they helped a shell-shocked bombardier complete his tour of duty.  He also describes how, on one mission, his crew made it back to base after losing two of their four engines with some help from the Tuskegee Airmen.

PODCAST EXTRA: After completing his tour of duty in Europe, Cadenhead expected to be sent home.  Instead he was shipped to California to prepared for the invasion of Japan.  He remembers how the sudden end of the war in 1945 allowed him to return to college that fall and play football for Mississippi State.

This episode of Mississippi Moments was researched by Hayley Hasik and produced by Ross Walton, with narration by Bill Ellison.

PHOTO: US Air Force

Dec 30, 2019

Betty McGehee grew up on Scotland Plantation in Vidalia, Louisiana, in the 1930s and 40s. Later, she married a Natchez native and crossed the river for good. In this episode, McGehee shares some memories from her childhood. She recounts raising chickens and selling the eggs to earn extra spending money. She also discusses how they would collect rainwater to drink in an above-ground storage tank and why her father later dug a well on their farm.

The Natchez-Vidalia bridge across the Mississippi river was completed in October of 1940. McGehee recalls crossing the river by ferry and how the bridge made traveling so much easier. When the bridge was first completed, drivers on the Mississippi side had to pay a 50-cent toll. McGehee explains how her Natchez boyfriend would wait for her on his side of the bridge to save money.

Dec 9, 2019

Jackie Hancock Schulze grew up in Natchez during the 1930s and 40s, in the house built by her great-grandfather, Natchez Mayor William G. Benbrook. In this episode, taken from her 2004 interview, she shares some precious childhood memories of family and friends and her hometown.

Schulze recounts going to the movies downtown, learning to swim in the Elks Club swimming pool and having “Coca-Cola parties” with her friends. She describes these gatherings as the product of a simpler, more innocent age.

When Schulze was a child, her grandmother would take her to New Orleans each summer to shop. She remembers staying on Canal Street and the amazing things to see and do in the Big Easy.

Years after Schulze left Natchez, she moved back to the family homestead, which by then was unoccupied.  After celebrating so many holidays in the dining room, surrounded by her loving family, she found it hard to eat there alone.

Jackie Schulze passed away on September 13, 2005.

Dec 2, 2019

Billie Rossie Tonos’s family immigrated from Lebanon and opened a store in Clarksdale. In this episode, she recounts how her parents then moved to Shaw and opened their own business with help from the Lebanese community.

During the Great Depression, many small business owners struggled to keep their doors opened. Tonos recalls her parent’s resourcefulness during that difficult time.

As the daughter of Lebanese immigrants, Tonos’s mother was proud to be an American citizen. She describes her mother’s fierce patriotism when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

Being part of the Delta Lebanese community gave Billie Tonos a sense of belonging and fellowship. She remembers how there was always room at the table for family and friends, especially during the holidays.

This episode of Mississippi Moments was researched by Hayley Hasik and produced by Ross Walton, with narration by Bill Ellison.

PHOTO: Schlatter.org

Nov 18, 2019

Charlsie Mae Graham Hammond grew up in Ethel, Mississippi, just outside of Kosciusko in the 1930s and 40s. In this episode, taken from her 2001 interview, she shares some cherished childhood memories. She discusses her father’s job at the sawmill there and how he would take her and her brothers on business trips occasionally to provide them a real-world education.

Growing up in a large family, Hammond spent much of her free time outdoors. She recounts watching Westerns with her parents and playing “cowboys” with her siblings and friends. As a child, Hammond also enjoyed a close relationship with her maternal grandparents. She recalls her grandfather as a good-natured shopkeeper and her grandmother as an entrepreneur.

Hammond has many fond memories of life in Ethel. She describes how she and her best friend would ride the train to Kosciusko, listen to favorite programs on the radio, or travel to the Delta with her family to visit her paternal grandparents.

Charlsie Mae Hammond enjoyed a long career as a public school teacher. She taught in the Port Gibson Public Schools, the Ethel Public Schools, and the Kosciusko Public Schools. She was a member of Kosciusko First Baptist Church, serving in various departments of the church. She was also active as a volunteer in organizations of her town and community. She passed away on June 3, 2017.

Nov 11, 2019

Dr. Kent Wyatt became the President of Delta State University in 1975. In this episode, Wyatt shares some of the accomplishments and challenges of his tenure. He also explains the importance of having an emphasis on academic excellence and an “open door” policy for faculty and students.

When Wyatt took over as President of Delta State in 1975, inflation made it difficult to control operating costs. He recalls how that early experience foreshadowed future shortfalls brought on by statewide budget cuts. Throughout Wyatt’s tenure as the President of Delta State, he insisted on developing programs that met the academic needs of the Mississippi Delta. He discusses some of those programs.

The Bologna Performing Arts Center at Delta State University was built in 1994 through state funding from the Mississippi legislature. Dr. Kent Wyatt explains the importance of having such a Center in the Delta.

This episode of Mississippi Moments was researched by Hayley Hasik and produced by Ross Walton, with narration by Bill Ellison.

PHOTO: http://inauguration.deltastate.edu/past-presidents/

 

Nov 4, 2019

As a young man, Fred Clark of Jackson traveled to Midway, Georgia, to attend a series of meetings with Dr. Martin Luther King. In this episode, he recalls fearing for his safety as the group planned protests across the Jim Crow South.

The Freedom Riders were protesters who rode interstate buses to challenge southern segregation laws. Clark describes being arrested in Jackson in June of 1961 for trying to buy a ticket from the whites-only window. So many Freedom Riders were arrested in Jackson, many were taken to Parchman to handle the overflow. Clark remembers how their nonstop singing led to severe reprisals by prison officials.

PODCAST BONUS: In order to break the spirit of the protesters, prison guards resorted to putting them in windowless iron holding cells known as hotboxes.  Unable to breath in the sweltering heat, Clark describes feelings of panic and being ridiculed by the guards.

PHOTO: MS Dept. of Archives and History

Oct 28, 2019

Fred Clark, Sr. grew up in Jackson, Mississippi, during the 1950s and 60s. In this episode, the first of two parts, he recalls the death of Emmett Till and how fear dominated the black community at that time. As events unfolded around him, Clark was determined to overcome his fear and work to make things better.

During the Civil Rights Movement, local organizers would hold events called Mass Meetings. Clark explains how these gatherings satisfied a variety of needs within the community. After the meetings, he would often catch a ride with civil rights leader Medgar Evers. He describes the sense of dread he felt riding with Evers, even as he marveled at the man’s bravery.

The culture of fear used to maintain social order in the Jim Crow South was deeply ingrained in everyone. Clark explains how being part of a greater movement inspired everyone to do their part.

Oct 14, 2019

In the late 1920s, Donald Hemphill’s father took a job with the Homochitto Lumber Company and the family moved to Bude, Mississippi. In this episode, he shares his memories of growing up in the thriving sawmill town.   At that time, many sawmills provide free company housing for their employees. Hemphill recalls the move to Bude and the primitive conditions in which they lived.

For Hemphill, growing up in Bude was a pleasant and carefree life. He recounts walking home from school to eat lunch and working at the local service station. He also discusses Bude’s prosperous times, and the important role passenger trains played in the people’s lives.

While the Homochitto Lumber Company was in business, life in Bude revolved around the mill’s work whistle.  Hemphill describes the sawmill’s last day and how they tied the whistle down after the last board was cut.

PHOTO: MS Dept. of Archives and History

Sep 30, 2019

Jewish immigrant, Jacob Kern, migrated from Germany to America in the late 1800s. His daughter, Lourachael Kern Ginsberg recounts how her father paid for twelve of his family members to join them in Bastrop, Louisiana, in 1938. Growing up Jewish in Bastrop, Ginsberg remembers their family was accepted as part of the community. She remembers raising chickens and ducks for food and driving to Monroe to go to Temple.

Ginsberg was attending Tulane University, when she met her future husband Herbie Ginsberg. She recalls knowing immediately that he was ‘the one’, and her mother’s reaction to the news. After the couple married, they moved to his home in Hattiesburg. She describes stopping off at the bootleggers to pick up a bottle for his law partner and future Governor, Paul B. Johnson, Jr.

Sep 23, 2019

Funding for two Mississippi museums was approved by the state legislature in 2011. In this episode, Lucy Allen recalls the planning process for the Civil Rights Museum and the message contained in its design. When Mississippi announced plans to build a civil rights museum, some doubted it would tell the whole story.  Allen explains how the state’s willingness to ‘go there,’ resulted in a powerful learning experience.

With a mandate that the two museums be opened by the State’s Centennial celebration in 2017, Allen’s team was hard pressed to deliver on time.  She recounts the process of selecting the design firms and the endless meetings they sat through.

As the opening day approached for the Two Mississippi Museums, there were countless small details to be addressed.  Allen remembers the pre-opening tours and feeling proud of a job well done.

Sep 16, 2019

Lucy Allen moved from North Carolina to Mississippi and spent the next seven years teaching school. In this episode, she explains how her interest in photography led to a career with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. 

In 1961, the first State Historical Museum for Mississippi opened in the Old Capitol building. Allen discusses conditions that highlighted the need for a new museum and archives and how MDAH began planning for a new state museum in 1998. She recalls how Hurricane Katrina devastated the old museum in 2005 and altered all their plans.

PODCAST EXTRA: As MDAH developed plans for a new state history museum, the State Legislature’s Black Caucus continued their years-long push for a separate civil rights museum to be located on the campus of Tougaloo College. Allen recounts how Governor Haley Barbour, former Governor William Winter, and Judge Reuben Anderson worked with others to combine the two museums together into one state-funded project.

Don’t miss next week’s episode as Allen discusses the challenges they faced in making the Two Mississippi Museums a reality!

PHOTO: Two Mississippi Museums architectural drawing

Sep 2, 2019

Jimmie Person grew up in Port Gibson, Mississippi during the 1930s.  In this episode, he recalls summers on his father’s plantation and the warm, nurturing environment small-town life provided the children.  Back when Person was a child, the closest hospital to Port Gibson was in Vicksburg. He remembers how doctors would make houses calls, and the childhood diseases of that time.

When Person reached high school, he attended Chamberlain-Hunt Military Academy in Port Gibson. He reflects on life at the all-male school and how they hosted off-campus dances in an old ballroom.

PODCAST BONUS: Person was in his freshman year at Mississippi State when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.  He shares those vivid memories and discusses how he ended up as a Military Policeman at a base in England.

PHOTO: MS Dept. of Archives and History

Aug 26, 2019

As Hurricane Katrina churned across the Gulf in August of 2005, Ruth Christian left her Pascagoula home to wait out the storm with her son’s mother-in-law, a few miles inland. In this episode, taken from an interview conducted in 2007, she shares her memories of the days following the storm as people struggled to feed themselves. She recalls trying to feed 16 people with anything they could find.

A couple of days after the hurricane, Christian found out her home had been destroyed.  She remembers coming to terms with the loss of everything she owned at the age of 77.

According to Christian, everyone was in a state of shock. She describes the despair she felt combing through the wreckage, and the joy of finding family keepsakes.

PODCAST BONUS: Because Hurricane Georges damaged her home in 1998, Christian decided not to rebuild a second time after Hurricane Katrina. She discusses her decision to move into an apartment, but remain on the Gulf Coast.

Aug 19, 2019

For many young people, participation in the Civil Rights Movement began with a membership in the NAACP. In this episode, Franzetta Sanders of Moss Point recalls joining the group and the work they did to promote Equality for all. During the 1960s, members of the NAACP would test local businesses for compliance with new Civil Rights laws.  Franzetta Sanders describes their work in Moss Point and how the community reacted.

In the Jim Crow South, there were separate public restrooms marked for “Whites Only” and “Blacks Only.” Sanders recounts how a stopover at the Hattiesburg bus station resulted in their bus being surrounded by police.

Most Mississippi public schools did not begin to fully integrate until 1970. As the mother of six children, Sanders worked to make sure they had the best educational opportunities possible. She remembers those difficult early days and how things eventually got better.

During the Civil Rights Movement, Sanders worked diligently to break down racial barriers. She expresses frustration at the apathy of young people who are reluctant to join the NAACP.

This episode of Mississippi Moments was researched by Lucas Somers, and produced by Ross Walton, with narration by Bill Ellison.

PHOTO: USM Digital Collections – Herbert Randall

Aug 12, 2019

Fifty years ago this week, Hurricane Camille left a wide path of destruction across the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  Dr. Henry Maggio was working at a Bay Saint Louis hospital on August 17, 1969 when Camille slammed into the Gulf Coast.  In this episode, he remembers feelings of dread as the storm came ashore.

As Hurricane Camille made landfall, it brought devastating winds and flooding to coastal communities. Maggio describes being stranded in the hospital during the storm. He discusses trying to reach the injured afterwards and his decision to evacuate the hospital.

After the storm was over, the long recovery and rebuilding process began.  Maggio shares his memories from that time, like being reunited with his family, the loss of their new home, and all the people who brought needed supplies to aid in the recovery effort.

PHOTO: Fred Hutchings – Pass Christian, MS after Hurricane Camille      

Aug 5, 2019

During WWII, young men from cities and towns across the nation, answered the call to serve.  So too, did young men from isolated areas of the country—boys who had never been away from the farms where they were raised—but were still compelled to go to the battlefields of countries they had only read about in textbooks. For many, that rural lifestyle held advantages in wartime.  For example, those who grew up hunting with their fathers found the experience of targeting game with hunting rifles and shotguns useful in the army.

In this episode, Thurman Clark of Laurel remembers training for combat and winning a prize for his marksmanship.

American soldiers deployed to the battlefields of Europe, crossed the Atlantic Ocean by the thousands on troops ships. Clark recalls the misery of being seasick for his entire seventeen-day voyage. As a member of the 66th Infantry Division, Clark was assigned to harass German installations in the occupied city of Lorient, France. He describes dodging artillery fire and the stress of keeping watch for enemy attacks at night.

For many Mississippi farm boys, WWII was their first time traveling far from home. Clark reflects on the culture shock of his time in France and the myriad of memories he brought back.

 PHOTO: wikimedia commons

Jul 22, 2019

Bill Booth’s grandfather, Tom Booth, came to Tupelo, Mississippi, in 1912. There, he opened a hardware store on Main Street. “Pappy” Booth soon sold the business to his son, George H. Booth who changed the name to Tupelo Hardware. Owned and operated by the Booth family since 1926, it remains for many, the go-to place for hard-to-find tools. Famously, Gladys Presley bought her son Elvis, his first guitar there.

In this interview, conducted in 1991, Bill Booth shares with us some memories of his grandfather and of life growing up in Tupelo. During the early days of automobile travel, most Mississippi roads were primitive, unpaved wagon trails. Booth recalls how his grandfather once stopped to help a friend who was stuck in a stream.

As a lifelong citizen of Tupelo, Booth witnessed a lot of important changes over the years. He discusses the city’s first traffic light and one cantankerous driver’s reaction to it. For many Mississippians, their first time behind the wheel of a car was on a secluded country road. Booth recounts learning to drive his grandfather’s 1925 Buick on a trip to Shreveport.

PODCAST BONUS: President Franklin D. Roosevelt came to Tupelo in 1934 to deliver a speech on the Tennessee Valley Authority. Booth remembers how his boy scout troop lined the path to the President’s car, and being patted on the head by FDR, afterwards.

PHOTO: MDAH - FDR in Tupelo 1934.

Jul 15, 2019

Edmond Boudreaux’s family came to Biloxi in 1914 to work in the seafood factories. In this episode, he shares his family’s long history in the seafood industry and how his father would work in the factory as child before and after attending school each day.

Growing up on “The Point” in East Biloxi, Boudreaux never thought of his family as poor. He recalls how he and his brothers would play and fish in the nearby marshes and bayous. According to Boudreaux, all people living on the Mississippi Sound develop a connection to the water. He explains how those ties remain constant, even as changes in technology have resulted in fewer people actually working in the seafood industry.

Over the years, the Gulf Coast fishery has weathered challenges from hurricanes, floods, and pollution. Boudreaux discusses those challenges and how recent events have affected the livelihoods of Mississippi fishermen.

Jul 1, 2019

In 1973, Gayle Greene-Aguirre, a professor at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, was studying History at the University of Connecticut. In this episode, she recalls her decision to enlist in the Women’s Army Corps, College Junior Program. Green-Aguirre chose a career in the US Army based more on economic incentives than a sense of duty.  She explains how that experience, and exposure to top secret information, made her a pragmatic patriot.

Green-Aguirre joined the US Army as the war in Vietnam was beginning to wind down. As a historian and officer, she gives her perspective on why that war was unwinnable.

When soldiers returned home from Vietnam, they faced a hostile American public, who viewed them as complicit in the atrocities committed against the Vietnamese people.  Green-Aguirre discusses the burden shared by those returning veterans and how their legacy has evolved over time.

Jun 24, 2019

Kiln, Mississippi native Christine Harvey has spent much of her life defying expectations. In this episode, she discusses how stereotypes about her race, gender, and home state, have little to do with reality. In 1971, Harvey was one of two black players on the Hancock North Central Girls basketball team. She recalls being attacked by the opposing team and how her fellow students responded.

While attending college during late 70s, Harvey was offered a summer job at the Stennis Space Center. She explains how choosing a position that defied expectations, led to a career in photography. In 1997, after nearly two decades of helping preserve the history of the Stennis Space Center as a photographer, Harvey sat down with us to share her thoughts on identity and the importance of diversity.

Jun 17, 2019

Dr. Dollye Robinson grew up in a musical family, two blocks from what is now Jackson State University. In this episode, she recalls how being surrounded by music inspired her to become a band director. While attending Lanier High School, Robinson would often rehearse with the Jackson College band. She remembers how that experience landed her a music scholarship after graduation.

As a music major at Jackson College in the 1940s, Robinson joined the Duke Otis Orchestra. She describes the challenges of being a female, first-trumpet player in an all-male dance band.

After Robinson graduated from Jackson College, she became an assistant band director at a high school in Brookhaven. She explains how being teased by alumni from other colleges, over the meager size of the Jackson College band, led her to return to her alma mater to help recruit new members.

In 1952, Robinson became the Assistant Band Director and Instructor of Music at JSU. She left long enough to earn two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. from Northwestern University and has served JSU as the head of the Department of Music, Chair of the Division of Fine Arts, Associate Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

Mississippi Moments is written and produced by Ross Walton, with narration by Bill Ellison.

PHOTO: jacksonstate.wordpress.com

Jun 10, 2019

Senator Thad Cochran was born in Pontotoc, Mississippi, on December 7th, 1937. In this episode, he discusses his family’s long history in Mississippi and his parents’ careers in Education. As the son of public school teachers, Cochran was expected to excel in academics, sports and music. He explains how their emphasis on education and hard work made theirs an achievement-oriented family.

Even though Cochran’s parents worked hard to provide for their family, money was always scarce. He remembers how they scrimped and took on extra jobs to make sure he and his brother could attend college.

Cochran got his first experience in politics when his parents campaigned for various candidates and got him involved, as well. He also recalls his poker-playing grandmother’s run for county supervisor.

Mississippi Moments is written and produced by Ross Walton, with narration by Bill Ellison.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next » 21