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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: February, 2020
Feb 24, 2020

Philip Freelon was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  In this episode, he explains how his family background in Education and the Arts inspired him to become an architect. As a young African American architect, Freelon aspired to design libraries and schools. He recalls how a focus on education and community development led him to several museum projects.

Philip Freelon is proud to have been chosen as the chief architect of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. He laments that so few women and people of color choose to enter the field of design.

According to Freelon, the decision to have two Mississippi museums was an unusual choice. He discusses the positive aspects of having two connected and centrally located facilities.

In 2016, Philip G. Freelon was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. He passed away on July 9, 2019.

 

Feb 17, 2020

Kosciusko native W.C. “Billy” Leonard got married and joined the Army in 1940.  In this episode, he recalls how his life changed after hearing news of the Japanese attack on a place called Pearl Harbor.

While serving as an artillery officer, Leonard met several people from his hometown. He remembers being pleasantly surprised by one such Kosciusko connection.

Leonard’s artillery platoon was transferred to a base in Burbank, California to await deployment. He recounts how he and his wife were able to tour Hollywood before he was shipped out.

After months of fighting in the Philippine Islands, Leonard was given a 30-day leave before the planned invasion of the Japanese mainland. He explains how dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki changed those plans.

After the war, Billy Leonard came home and eventually took over Leonard’s Department Store from his father. He ran the business until his retirement in 1985.  Leonard passed away in fall of 2005.      

Feb 10, 2020

Jerry Mitchell was working as a reporter for the Clarion Ledger when he attended a press premier for Mississippi Burning. In this episode, he explains how that event piqued his interest in civil rights-related cold cases. 

After the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission was dissolved in 1977, its records were ordered sealed for 50 years.  Mitchell recalls how he was able to get a look at those files in 1989. The ACLU filed a lawsuit to gain access to the sealed records of the State Sovereignty Commission, and the judge ruled in their favor. Mitchell recounts how having access to those files helped investigators solve several civil rights cold cases.

In his work as an investigative reporter, Jerry Mitchell gained extensive knowledge about the Civil Rights Movement.  He describes his feelings about the Two Mississippi Museums and their impact.

Jerry Mitchell was awarded a Genius Grant by the MacArthur Foundation in 2009.

PHOTO: macfound.org

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