Mississippi Moments Podcast

Mississippi Moments, a weekly radio program airing on Mississippi Public Broadcasting, is a partnership between the University of Southern Mississippi Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage, the Mississippi Humanities Council, and MPB.

The Podcasts

For decades the Illinois Central Rail Road Maintenance Shop was one of the largest employers in McComb. In this episode, Ray Ward remembers signing on as a shop apprentice back in 1953. Ward recalls working in the car shop and the assembly line-like manner they used to rebuild the cars.

In order to save money and improve safety, Illionois Central offered cash rewards for employee suggestions at its McComb Maintenance Shop. Ward describes how the program worked and some suggestions he made for his job.

Podcast Bonus: When he wasn’t working, Ward loved riding horses.  He relates how one late night ride turned into a practical joke on his co-workers.


Direct download: MSM_435.mp3
Category:Mississippi History -- posted at: 1:29 PM

MPB is currently conducting their Spring funding drive during which time there will be no Mississippi Moments aired. New episodes of Ray Ward discussing his years with the McComb railroad maintenance shop will begin airing the week of April 20th and the podcast will drop that morning. Thank you!

Category:general -- posted at: 1:19 PM

Prior to the development of passenger jet planes, Americans travelled by train. 

In this episode, Sam Page remembers when the Panama Limited came through Summit, Mississippi for the first time.

Years later, as ticket agent for the Illinois Central station in McComb, MS, Sam Page recalls being a very busy man selling tickets to destinations near and far. He discusses how many Mississippians rode The City of New Orleans to visit family members in Chicago, St. Louis and other northern cities.

The streamlined passenger train known as the Green Diamond ran from Chicago to St. Louis until 1947, when it was moved to Mississippi and renamed the Miss Lou.

Sam Page reminisces about riding the Miss Lou from McComb to New Orleans.

PODCAST EXTRA: Page discusses his time with the railroad and the people who depended on the trains for transportation like legendary baseball pitcher Dizzy Dean.

 PHOTO: The Illinois Central Green Diamond later moved to Jackson, MS and renamed the Miss Lou.

Direct download: MSM_434.mp3
Category:Mississippi History -- posted at: 3:21 PM

Before there was Whole Foods, there was wild foods. As a young man, Alonzo Brandon of Port Gibson, hunted in order to help feed his family. In this episode he describes how he would outsmart the squirrels that tried to hide from him.

After working all day, Alonzo Brandon would often go coon hunting. He recalls waiting until dawn some nights for a treed coon to finally come down.  He also discusses his weapon of choice, the 22 caliber rifle. 

Brandon’s family raised hogs as an additional source of protein.  In this podcast extra, he remembers how the hogs would also hunt to supplement their diets.


Direct download: MSM_433.mp3
Category:foodways -- posted at: 3:22 PM

Dan McDaniel grew up in Bude, Mississippi. In this episode, he discusses why the town’s barbershop was central to the lives of so many. He also recalls the sawmill work whistle and the men walking home for lunch.

 Today, most of us take indoor plumbing for granted.  McDaniel remembers when plumbing was a luxury.

Because lumber was transported by train, all sawmill towns were connected by rail. McDaniel explains that back then, passenger trains were the most common way to travel.

Photo Credit: Gil Hoffman Collection

Direct download: MSM_432.mp3
Category:Mississippi History -- posted at: 4:37 PM

Family history is our personal connection to the past. In this week's episode, Ethel Patton D’Anjou of Claiborne County tells the story of her great grandfather’s escape from slavery. She also shares the tale of how her great grandmother, a native American was spared from the Trail of Tears by her birth parents and ended up in Mound Bayou.

PODCAST EXTRA: Alcorn University was founded in 1871 to educate the descendants of former slaves. Ethel Patton D’Anjou recounts her grandparent’s decision to come to Alcorn and open their own business. She hopes that her family’s history continues to provide inspiration for generations to come.


Direct download: MSM_431.mp3
Category:Mississippi History -- posted at: 3:13 PM

In 1918, F.S. Wolcott began using Port Gibson as Winter Quarters for his Rabbit Foot Minstrel Show.  In this episode, Jimmy Allen explains why Wolcott’s show was different from other Minstrels. He also describes how a typical minstrel show operated.

As a bookkeeper in his father's Port Gibson car dealership, Allen had first hand experience dealing with Wolcott. He learned that when it came to Wolcott, the squeaky wheel got the grease.Wolcott eventually formed a partnership with his competitor, F.C. Huntington.  In this podcast extra, Allen recalls how that partnership led to a warrant for Wolcott’s arrest.


Direct download: MSM_430.mp3
Category:The American South -- posted at: 2:36 PM

This month marks the ten year anniversary for Mississippi Moments and it coincides with new schedule and format changes.  Since its debute, MSMO has been 4 1/2 minutes in length and aired on MPB Think Radio each Tuesday and Thursday at 12:30 pm. Because of changes to the amount of local break time set aside by NPR at the bottom of the noon hour, MPB asked us to change to a 90 second format Monday through Friday, so shorter program aired more often.

Our solution to this new challenge had been to produce three related episodes per week, each containing one audio clip, instead of one episode containing three clips. The three episodes are played in rotation Mon-Fri and are also combined to make one podcast episode that is virtually identical to the old format.

To streamline the process, we at the Center for Oral History have taken over the final production of the episodes from MPB. The advantage being that we can now add bonus clips to the podcast.  In the past, the 4 1/2 minute format meant that some of the best material wound up "on the cutting room floor" as they say.  Listeners are now instructed by Bill Ellison at the end of each broadcast episode to visit MississippiMoments.org "to hear more."  It also allows us to post the podcast episode the same week that the broadcast episodes air - so no more having to wait for weeks to listen to the podcast of an episode that caught your attention!

We are excited about the new changes and we hope that you, our loyal listeners are excited as well.  We can promise you that the best is yet to come because we have barely scratched the surface of this amazing collection! Thank you.

Category:general -- posted at: 3:39 PM

Mardi Gras has been celebrated in Biloxi since 1883.  In this episode, Jerry O’Keefe remembers the excitement of attending the parades as a boy in the 1930s. Later, as a young father in the 1940s, O’Keefe shared his love of Mardi Gras with his children. 

After being elected Mayor of Biloxi in 1972, O’Keefe realized the city’s Mardi Gras fundraising system needed to be overhauled.  He explains how that was accomplished and why Mardi Gras remains so important to the city's identity.


Direct download: MSM_429.mp3
Category:Gulf Coast history -- posted at: 4:07 PM

During WWII, most African-American Soldiers served in support units away from the front lines. All that changed during the War in the Pacific where because of the close proxmity of the conflict, black soldiers found themselves fighting shoulder to shoulder with their white counterparts.  In this episode, Lee Spearman of Bay Springs remembers the only objective was to stay alive.  

Journalist Ernie Pyle reported from the frontlines in Europe and the Pacific during WWII.  Spearman was there when Pyle was hit by enemy fire.


Direct download: MSM_428.mp3
Category:Military History -- posted at: 5:45 PM