This spring marked the 50th anniversary of the first of the Gulf Coast wade-ins. Back then, most Mississippi beaches were for whites only. During one of these wade-ins, Dr. Gilbert Mason led a group of African-Americans into the segregated waters of Biloxi beach. What followed was one of the bloodiest race riots in Mississippi history with 71 arrested and dozens injured.
A small boy at the time, Le’Roy Carney recalls using the railroad tracks to flee the riot. Carney also explains how the black community in Biloxi organized themselves to boycott those responsible for the violence at the beach.
Earnest Batiste, a US Army veteran and civil rights activist, remembers growing up during hard times. He describes the sacrifices made by his mother to put food on the table. Batiste reflects on the progress we’ve made and the difficulties of explaining that time period to a younger generation.
An army requires daily deliveries of food, ammunition and other supplies. Mark Whitney of Natchez recalls working as a naval supply supervisor in Vietnam. As a supply supervisor, Whitney learned that the locals were much smarter than the Americans assumed they were.
Former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Roy Noble Lee was interested in the law from an early age. Lee reflects on this and the courtroom atmosphere of 1920s Brandon, Mississippi. Justice Lee also recounts getting the opportunity to try his first criminal case, at the age of 19.
Today’s Tree farmers like Charles Barge of Noxubee County must always look to the future. Barge tells how he began investing in the future by planting new trees and why it is important to do so. He recounts how the Conservation Reserve Act has led to greater opportunities for hunting and recreation.
Tree Farmers are landowners who voluntarily manage their woodlands for the continuing growth of forest crops. Charles Barge of Noxubee County discusses how things have changed since his father began tree farming in 1941. He explains how poor forestry practices led to disease and infestations in the past like the Southern pine beetle invasion of the 1960s.
In 1935, Sam Alman Jr. moved from Arkansas to Gulfport to start his own soda bottling company. His son, Sam Alman III recounts the story and discusses the early days of his family's soda business.
Sun Herald columnist Kat Bergeron has spent decades researching the history and folk lore of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. She debunks three popular myths about the Gulf Coast.
With the end of the Vietnam War came an influx of Vietnamese refugees to the United States. Biloxi businessman Richard Gollott discusses the impact these refugees had on the Gulf Coast seafood industry. A story made even more poignant by the pending Gulf oil spill disaster.
The Civil War left many on both sides emotionally scarred. Libby Hollingsworth of Port Gibson recalls the hardships endured by her great grandfather, Kell Shaifer as a rebel soldier.
Hollingsworth recalls how a letter from a Yankee soldier after the war changed Kell Shaifer’s life. She also reflects on the healing effect an unlikely friendship had on many.
After cotton is picked, the cotton fibers, called lint, must be separated from the seeds in a process known as “ginning.” James Gray went to work for the Torrey Cotton Gin in Port Gibson as a young man. He explains the cotton ginning process and the importance of doing it correctly.
Ethel Patton D’Anjou of Alcorn recounts the story of her grandparents’ decision to leave the family farm in
In the early days of automobiles, learning to drive was an adventure. As the son of the local Ford dealer, James Allen of Port Gibson learned to drive at a young age. Allen recalls how different the Model T was from other cars. He also remembers how his father taught a local rancher to drive his first car.
By the 1960s, railroads had lost much of their freight hauling business to trucks. Ray Ward of McComb recalls how track maintenance suffered as a result. As a car man, Ward’s job was to re-track derailed cars and locomotives. He explains how he was able to do this with a crew of only two men.
As World War Two raged on, women helped keep the trains rolling back home. Bonnie Stedman of McComb remembers the work as difficult and dangerous.
The advent of Diesel-electric locomotives was a vast improvement over the steam engines they replaced. John Balser worked as a machinist at the McComb Railroad repair shop. He recalls the pride that the steam engineers took in their locomotives. Balser also details how much more efficient the new Diesel engines were than their steam predecessors.
Working on the railroad was always been hard, dangerous work. Woodrow Addison of McComb recalls the frequent derailments he experienced during his 38 years with Illinois Central.
Woodrow Addison worked for the Illinois Central Railroad shop in McComb for 38 years. He worked first as a brakeman and then, a conductor.
Growing up on a farm,
For thousands of troops during World War II, their journey began with a trip to