The University of Southern Mississippi was still the Mississippi State Teachers College when Bernard Reed Green graduated in May of 1934. In this episode, he recalls his decision to come back that fall as the Freshman Football Coach. According to Green, his coaching style differed from that of Coach Pooley Hubert, the man who hired him, and how that difference had a positive impact on the team’s performance. He explains his philosophy and why he made a practice of recruiting new players from local junior colleges.
In 1942, as the United States prepared for war, Mississippi Southern College as the school was known by then, suspended all intercollegiate sports activities. Green remembers how he found jobs for his football players so they could remain in school. With so many students serving in the military during the war, Mississippi Southern faced the possibility of having to permanently close its doors. Green recounts how he and others lobbied the Pentagon for an officer training school to be located on campus. He explains that hosting the OTS and allowing the officer trainees to live in the empty men’s athletic dorm known as The Rock, enabled the institution to remain solvent during those lean war years.
PHOTO: Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame (Wikipedia)
Helen Rayne grew up living in her grandfather’s antebellum home in Natchez during the Great Depression. In this episode, she remembers the genteel lifestyle and how they entertained themselves without a lot of money. She also describes the dedication of her teachers and how much they were respected by everyone in the community.
During her lifetime, Rayne witnessed many changes, both in her hometown and the world in general. She recalls taking walks with friends, stargazing with her grandfather, and the lessons he tried to teach her. And Rayne reflects on how the depression affected the way people socialized as they looked for ways to hang on to beloved traditions in the once prosperous river town.
Podcast Extra: The Historic Natchez Tableaux was started in 1932 as a way to attract tourist dollars and celebrate the city’s cultural heritage. It features a tour of the city’s antebellum homes, plays and musical performances, and the crowning of a king and queen. Rayne reflects on the humble, early days of the tableaux.
PHOTO: Landowne, Natchez, 1938, by Johnston, Frances Benjamin, 1864-1952, Library of Congress. Wikipedia.
Leatha Jackson learned how to cook ribs and steaks by working in her aunt’s restaurant in Bogalusa. In this episode, she looks back with pride on her fifty-year career as a professional short-order cook. For years, Jackson dreamed of opening a restaurant in her home near Columbia, Mississippi. She discusses the humble beginnings of Leatha’s Barbeque and why looks can be deceiving.
By the time Leatha’s Barbeque moved to Hattiesburg, it had become a destination spot for barbeque lovers around the world. She credits her love of people and the power of word-of-mouth advertising.
Podcast Extra: The menu at Leatha’s Barbeque Inn does not offer many choices: only five entrées and two sides. Jackson explains why the selection is limited and discusses the most popular menu items.
Although Leatha Jackson passed away in September of 2013, Leatha’s BBQ is still in business and keeping her legacy alive.
PHOTO: Leatha’s BBQ Inn Facebook page.
Lemuel A. Wilson Junior’s parents were the owners of a weekly newspaper in Richton, Mississippi. In this episode, he shares his memories of working at the Richton Dispatch after school in the 1920s and how the paper served their community. He also recalls how their family’s newspaper survived the Great Depression by running foreclosure notices and accepting food as payment for subscriptions.
After serving in the Air Force during WWII, Wilson worked for the Washington Post and the Star newspapers in Washington, DC. In this 1973 interview he discusses the pressures of working for a large metropolitan paper and his decision to come home to Richton and take over the family business. As publisher of the Richton Dispatch, Wilson pondered the difference between daily and weekly newspapers. While both are important, he felt the weekly format better suited to rural communities.
PHOTO: Richton Dispatch Facebook page