Walter Wallace grew up on a dairy and cotton farm in Cleveland, Mississippi in the 1930s. In this episode, he shares his memories of helping his family with the daily chores. He recalls having to milk ten cows each morning before going to school.
According to Wallace, Cleveland was a busy town in the 1930s and 40s. He remembers the crowded streets on Saturdays and riding the train with his mother to Memphis. Prior to 1936, the Wallace home had no electricity or indoor plumbing. He describes sleeping on the porch in the summertime and the excitement of finally getting electric lights.
In 1940, Wallace’s father passed away, leaving him and his mother run to the farm. He recounts trying to bargain with the cotton buyers for the best price and attending college at Delta State.
James Lindsey grew up on his father’s cotton farm in Bolivar County in the 1940s. In this episode, he shares his memories of a life spent farming in the Mississippi Delta.
Lindsey remembers plowing the fields with mules and picking cotton by hand before the days of mechanization. Later as an adult, Lindsey began his career as a cotton farmer on four hundred acres near Cleveland, Mississippi. He recalls increasing the size of his farm to around 3,500 acres and why he later decided to downsize.
Advances in farming equipment, chemicals, and genetically-engineered seeds have led to higher yields per acre for cotton growers. Lindsey discusses the balance between increased cost and profit.
At the time of this interview in 2009, Lindsey had witnessed a drastic decline in the number of cotton farms in the Mississippi Delta. He explains why so many of his neighbors have moved away from cotton production to other crops.
PHOTO: MS State Univ. Extension
Hattiesburg native Clarence Williams was drafted into the army in the final days of WWII. In this episode, he shares some of his many experiences gained during a decades-long military career. Not many veterans can claim to have served in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, but Williams saw service in all three conflicts.
Williams recounts his brief service in Germany and returning to Mississippi afterwards to finish high school. Then while attending college at Tuskegee, he was recalled to active duty for the Korean conflict. Williams remembers how his unit would have to jump into their foxholes when the Chinese attacked.
Clarence Williams served as an Air Force Manpower Survey Officer during the war in Vietnam. He describes his duties in planning for the deployment of supplies and equipment. In a military career spanning over twenty-five years, he visited many countries. Williams expresses gratitude for the opportunities the Air Force provided him and his wife to see the world.
In 1918 New Orleans residents George Walter and Annette McConnell Anderson purchased 24 acres of land facing the Mississippi Sound in Ocean Springs. Annette wished to establish a retreat for artists. They named their new venture, Fairhaven. Their three sons, Peter, Walter and Mac, shared Annette’s love of the Arts and found inspiration there. Shearwater Pottery was founded in 1928 by Peter Anderson. In this episode, his nephew, John Anderson explains how Shearwater Pottery got it name.
As a painter, Walter Anderson, lived the life of a hermit, spending much of his time on Horn Island, painting Gulf Coast wildlife in his own unique style. His youngest son, John, recalls his father’s strained relationship with the rest of the family and shares an emotional early memory.
Even though Walter Anderson died in 1965, his work was unknown to the Art world until the 1970s. John Anderson remembers how an exhibit at a Memphis gallery helped turn his father into a cultural icon.
The Friends of Walter Anderson was established in 1974 to help catalog and preserve the late artist’s work. Anderson explains how that group led to the establishment of the Walter Anderson Museum.