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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.
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Now displaying: Category: Aerospace History
Aug 27, 2018

Hattiesburg native Richard Burger graduated with a degree in mathematics in 1965. In this episode, he recalls returning to Mississippi to work at NASA’s test facility (later renamed the Stennis Space Center) as a computer programmer. Because he was working for General Electric under government contract, Burger’s story was rather unusual for that time, as opportunities for African-American in Mississippi were typically limited to menial or low-level positions.

As a programmer, Burger worked with NASA engineers testing Saturn rockets. He remembers his first assignment working with a “unique” engineer named Charlie Parker to develop a fuel delivery system to speed the test-firing process.

Throughout his career, Richard Burger used a wide variety of computers and programming languages. He compares the NASA main frames of the 1960s to today’s more powerful laptops.

PODCAST BONUS: After working in the private sector for over twenty years, Burger returned to NASA in the 1990s with a new mission: taking at-risk African-American youth from inner-city high schools in Los Angeles, on a six week tour of NASA laboratories and Black Colleges. It was a program dubbed “Earth to L.A.”

Jan 25, 2016
MSM 468 Heimburg & Tessman–  From Peenemunde to the Pearl River

Bernard Tessman and Karl Heimburg worked for Dr. Werhner von Braun in Nazi Germany on the V-2 rocket program. After WWII, 118 rocket scientists were brought over from Germany to work for the US Army. In this episode, Tessman and Heimburg remember those early days launching V-2 rockets in White Sands, New Mexico and the decision to locate the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.

After President Kennedy announced the goal of putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade, the decision was made to build a rocket test facility in Hancock County, Bernard Tessman led the design team. He recalls the swampy conditions of the Pearl River basin.

In a podcast extra, Heimburg explains why the decision to build the Hancock County facility was based on unrealistic expectations. Today, the isolated location of the Stennis Space Center allows for the testing of larger engines.

Jan 13, 2015
MSMo 421 Christine Harvey - NASA Photographer

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. 

Jan 13, 2014

In 1962, Mississippi College graduate Clifford Charlesworth went to work for NASA. He remembers training to become a Flight Dynamics Officer at the Johnson Space Center.

As part of the flight control team for the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space programs, Charlesworth learned the importance of teamwork. 

In the early days of the space program, it was important to maintain radio contact between the astronauts and Mission Control.  Charlesworth recalls two astronauts who didn’t have much to say.

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