Hattiesburg resident Samuel Lahasky has lived in cities with both large and small Jewish populations. In this episode, he observes how Jewish communities in the South tend to be more closely knit than those in the North. Lahasky shares his memories of growing up in Abbeville, Louisiana, and later moving to Atlanta at the age of six. He compares and contrasts those experiences as well as the differences between the Jewish communities at Tulane versus LSU and Hattiesburg.
Henry S. Jacobs Camp in Utica, Mississippi provides summertime recreational and cultural activities for Jewish youth. Lahasky recalls attending the camp as a child and the lifelong friends he met there. Since 1946, Temple B’nai Israel has served the Hattiesburg Jewish community. Lahasky explains how being a member of a smaller synagogue requires a greater level of commitment.
There have always been negative stereotypes associated with Jewish people. Lahasky discusses how he uses humor to gently disabuse his non-Jewish friends and coworkers of these mistaken beliefs.
PHOTO: Temple B’nai Israel, Hattiesburg – WDAM.com
Dr. John Quon’s father immigrated from China in 1924 and settled in Moorhead, Mississippi. In this episode, he discusses how immigration laws prohibited Chinese nationals from owning property until 1943. Quon’s family lived in the back of their Moorhead grocery store until it became too crowded. He recalls how threatening letters led his father to purchase a cotton farm and build a home away from town.
Quon began working in his family’s grocery store at the age of five. He remembers working long hours during growing season and how their lives centered around the business.
After years as a successful merchant and cotton farmer, Quon’s father became well-respected as a businessman and patriarch. He recounts how his father sponsored other Chinese families and describes how their home became a meeting place for the Delta Chinese-American community.