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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rowan Clark of Bude was 16 years old when he got his first job in 1924. In this episode, he recalls being a water boy and delivering ice for the local icehouse. Like so many others left unemployed by the Great Depression, Clark rode the rails looking for work. He describes his journey across the country chasing rumors of job opportunities.
Clark was finally offered a job washing cars in New Orleans…at service station that was actually a front for rum runners!
For Randy Yates, the Neshoba County Fair was a family tradition. In this episode, he explains why the fair was so important to his grandparents. One of the most vivid memories for Yates was the endless variety of food the fair had to offer.
According to Yates, no one worked harder to prepare for the Neshoba County Fair than his grandfather. He remembers it being a year-long labor of love.
Jackson has always enjoyed a wide selection of choices when it comes to dining out. In this episode, Randy Yates discusses the important role Greek restaurateurs played in Jackson’s culinary history. Yates began working for Primos Northgate restaurant as a college student. He remembers the large crowds and the places the staff would go between shifts.
After Primos, Yates took a job working at Scrooge’s. He credits owner Bill Latham and Don Primos for teaching him some important job skills.
Today, Randy Yates is co-owner of the Ajax Diner, on the Square, in Oxford.
The Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi was established in 1977. Its mission was to investigate, document, interpret and teach about the American South. In this episode, Ann Abadie recalls the Center’s first public event. Abadie also discusses the Center’s most ambitious project: The Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. She explains how one section of that publication inspired them to form the Southern Foodways Alliance.
No study of Southern Culture would be complete without the Blues. Abadie remembers how Bill Ferris, the Center’s first director, brought Living Blues Magazine from Chicago to Oxford.
Jim Anderson became the director of the First Regional Library, a five-county-library system based in Hernando, back in 1972. In this episode, he discusses the history of Mississippi’s oldest regional library.
According to Anderson, the level of cooperation that exists between the state’s public, academic and special libraries is the result of programs sponsored by the Mississippi Library Commission. He looks back fondly on his thirty-six years with the First Regional Library. It’s a choice he recommends to young people searching for a fun and interesting career path.
One of the star attractions of the New Orleans World’s Fair in 1984 was the space shuttle Enterprise. In this episode, Christine Harvey, a photographer at the Stennis Space Center, recalls documenting the shuttle’s journey from Mobile Bay to the Port of New Orleans.
Harvey’s job was to ride a tugboat out to Algiers Point and photograph the arrival of the shuttle. It was an assignment that left her a little…queasy.
For Harvey, the arrival of the Enterprise was an emotional moment and one that she’ll never forget.
Growing up in Dixie Springs, Paul Ott Carruth had two great passions: the Great Outdoors and making music. So it came as a shock when in 1967, Carruth learned that hardwood trees around the Leaf River were being intentionally poisoned. At the time, Carruth was gaining recognition as a singer on a Hattiesburg TV show. He decided to combine his love of music and his love of nature to save those trees.
In this episode, Ott discusses how this decision led to a life devoted to protecting Mississippi's natural resources through songwriting. He also talks about his long association with the State Game and Fish Commission.
Paul Ott Carruth’s weekly radio and TV show Listen to the Eagle continues to celebrate and promote The Great Mississippi Outdoors.
In 1970, the Mississippi State Legislature passed the State Antiquities Act to preserve Mississippi historic sites and buildings for future generations. In this episode Elbert Hilliard, Director Emeritus of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History discusses the significance of the Antiquities Act.
Hilliard recalls their first preservation project and how in 1983, the Antiquities Act was amended to reflect the lessons learned in thirteen years of administering the law.
Hilliard points with pride to the many preservation successes made possible by the State Antiquities Act.
Lou Mallory of Natchez grew up on a small farm in the Red Hills of Georgia. In the episode, she recalls how the family barely survived raising cotton, but were happy none the less.
She explains that her father used to make syrup from sugar cane as a way to earn extra money. She remembers eating a lot of syrup when there was not much else.
Mallory learned to sew her own dresses out of necessity. She became a seamstress as an adult and her tailor shop was a Natchez fixture for 45 years until she retired in 1998.
(photo of sugar cane mill: The Florida Center for Instructional Technology, Univ. of South Florida)
Evelyn Gandy of Hattiesburg came from a politically active family. In this episode, she discusses her decision to consider a career in politics at an early age.
From 1947, when she was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives, to 1959 when she became the first woman elected to statewide office as treasurer, Gandy always tried to make whatever office she held more responsive to the people.It was a philosophy she carried from her position as Insurance Commissioner to when she was elected the first woman Lt. Governor in 1975.
Gandy credits her success in office to a desire to work with others and a respect for her predecessors.
Evelyn Gandy passed away on December 27, 2007.
After being nominated and passed over seven times for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, former NFL punter, Ray Guy, was used to waiting by the phone. In this episode, he explains how the eighth time promised to be different.
Ensconced in his New York hotel room on Super Bowl weekend, Guy found himself sitting by the phone once again, wondering if this would finally be the year he got the call.
Ray Guy was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 2nd, 2014. He continues to work for his alma mater, Southern Miss.
William Ray Guy came to Hattiesburg, MS to play football for Southern Miss in 1970. As punter for the Golden Eagles, Guy’s kicks were known for their distance and pinpoint accuracy.
In this episode, Guy discusses his decision to play for USM. He also explains why for him, strategy was just as important as power.
In the 14 seasons Guy punted for the Oakland Raiders, the term hang-time was coined to describe his high, booming kicks. He discusses why they were so high and the time he hit the Super Dome TV screen.
Ray Guy became the first punter to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August of 2014.
Chinese American, Professor John P Quon grew up living in the back of his family’s store in Moorhead, Mississippi. In this episode, he recalls slipping off and exploring the downtown area at a young age.
Every member of the Quon family was expected to help out in the store. Quon remembers learning how to make change at the age of five.
Eventually, the Quon family decided to buy a home in Moorhead. He explains how an anonymous letter led his father to purchase a cotton farm instead.
In 1964, Dr. John P. Quon was a student at Ole’ Miss when he proposed to his college sweetheart, Freida Seu. Both were from Chinese-American families living in the Delta. In this episode, Quon recalls the traditional engagement negotiations that followed.
Quon describes the logistics involved in planning a wedding with an expected attendance of 1,200 family and friends. He walks us through the day’s events including the wedding ceremony and reception, as well as the banquet and traditional tea ceremony.
King Evans was a teenager, living with his family on the Vickland Plantation in Nitta Yuma, Mississippi, during the Great Flood of 1927. In this episode, he recalls how the water continued to rise after the levee north of Greenville broke on the morning of April 21st. Evans also remembers the thousands of people displaced by the floodwaters and the desperate lengths they went to for shelter.
Racial tensions flared as mistreatment of blacks was reported in other places, but according to Evans, whites and blacks worked together in Sharkey County to insure fair distribution of food.
In 1966 the faculty at the Mercy Hospital College of Nursing in Vicksburg recognized the need for a second nursing baccalaureate program in Mississippi.
This group of Catholic nuns, led by Dr. Elizabeth Harkins, was determined to establish a College of Nursing at USM. In this episode, retired instructor Jean Haspeslagh remembers Harkins as a force to be reckoned with.
Haspeslagh explains how Harkins designed the College of Nursing’s Graduate program to be unique and cutting edge.
After her retirement in 1980, Harkins continued to serve as Dean Emeritus until her death in 1997. Haspeslagh recalls that Harkins signed her last grant for the Sister’s of Mercy the day before she passes away.
Construction began on the new USM College of Nursing building in July, 2014.
The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party was organized in 1964 as an alternative to the then-all-white Mississippi Democratic Party.
The MFDP, after holding a statewide election open to people of all colors, sent its delegates to the 1964 Democratic National Convention in an attempt to be recognized as the legitimate representatives of the State.
In this episode, Dr. Aaron Henry of Clarksdale remembers the long bus to Atlantic City, New Jersey and the crowded accommodations the delegates endured.
After impassioned speeches by Fannie Lou Hamer and Dr. Martin Luther King, President Lyndon Johnson offered to seat two of MFDP delegates with the Illinois delegation. Henry discusses they decision to decline that offer.
He also explains that even though they were not seated at the 1964 convention, their efforts lead to the reform of the Democratic Party.