Leland native, Mary Allen joined the newly formed Women’s Army Corps in the Summer of 1943. In this episode, she recalls the public’s negative reaction to the WACs and how she gained her father’s approval. As a recruiter for the Women’s Army Corps, Mary Allen signed up young women for service during WWII. She remembers travelling around South Alabama convincing parents to allow their daughters to join.
The Caterpillar Club honors people who have jumped by parachute from a disabled airplane. Allen describes joining that group when the military plane she was riding in crashed. During the final year of WWII, Allen was assigned to a hospital providing support services for soldiers. She discusses riding the hospital trains and the pitiful condition of the returning POWs.
Reuben Anderson grew up in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1940s and 50s. In this episode, he recalls being inspired to become a civil rights attorney at a young age. When Anderson graduated from Ole’ Miss Law School, there were only a few African American attorneys in Mississippi. He remembers his first job working on school desegregation cases.
In 1985, Rueben Anderson became the first African American to serve on the Mississippi Supreme Court. He discusses his initial reluctance and the comradery he shared with his fellow justices. Justice Anderson served for two terms on the Mississippi Supreme Court. He explains why being first is not as important as the opportunities Black attorneys enjoy today.
Alyce Clarke was the first African American female elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives. In this episode, Clarke shares her memories of a groundbreaking career in state politics.
She remembers being encouraged to run for political office by her family and friends in 1984. Clarke began her first term in the Mississippi House of Representatives on March 24, 1985. She recalls the swearing-in ceremony and a misunderstanding about her first committee assignment.
As one of the Mississippi House of Representatives’ longest serving members, Clarke has authored several key pieces of legislation. She discusses two of her proudest achievements.
Since 1976, the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus has promoted the needs of their constituents. Clark discusses how they worked to change the rules regarding leadership positions.
Dr. Eddie Holloway grew up in the Mobile Street area of Hattiesburg during the 1950s and 60s. In this episode, he shares his memories of the mentors, teachers, and business leaders who helped him along the way. He recalls the Black Community as vibrant and self-sufficient with plenty of success stories.
According to Holloway, Black students in Hattiesburg had many good role models to emulate. He discusses the positive impact teachers had on every aspect of his life growing up on Mobile Street. Even though he was raised in the segregated South, Holloway never felt disadvantaged. He credits the wisdom of the community’s elders in helping him prepare for success.
PODCAST BONUS: As a lifelong educator, Holloway recognizes the importance of a tight knit and involved community. He laments the loss of decorum, respect, and commitment in many of our schools today.
“A lifelong resident of Hattiesburg, Holloway earned four degrees from USM, including a doctorate in educational administration. He is a 2004 inductee of the Southern Miss Alumni Association Hall of Fame and has served as dean of students since 1997 and assistant vice president for student affairs since 2015. Prior to filling these roles, he also served the University as a counselor and instructor/assistant professor of psychology, as assistant dean of students, and as interim dean of students.” - USM website
Dr. Holloway retired in 2019 but has returned to USM part time.
PHOTO: USM website