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Oral History Digital Collection

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Oral history.; Interview conducted on July 19, 1978 with Mr. W.S. Griffin at his home in Jackson, Mississippi. Griffin was born on October 15, 1913 near Mantee, Mississippi, in Webster County. In 1936, he accepted a position as a teacher and coach at Woodland High School in Chickasaw County. While teaching at Woodland, Griffin continued his education at the University of Mississippi and in 1940 his received his BA degree. After returning from service in World War II, he began his master's degree program at the University of Mississippi. In 1949, Griffin became superintendent of the Springhill Consolidated School District. He then went on to join the Mississippi State Department of Education as director of the state's school lunch program in 1952. In 1958, he became director of the Division of Administration and Finance at the state department of education, and in 1974 he was appointed Assistant State Superintendent of Education.

Oral history.; An interview conducted on February 21, 2008 with Mark Currier, who describes his experiences during and after Hurricane Katrina on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Oral history.; Interview conducted on July 2, 1974 with Mrs. Ellie J. Dahmer at her home in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Dahmer was born in Jasper County, Mississippi in 1925. After completing high school at Jasper County Training School she attended Alcorn A&M College, now Alcorn State University. After her sophomore year, she transferred to Tennessee A&F in Nashville, Tennessee where she finished her degree. In 1951, she began teaching in Forrest County, Mississippi. It was there that Dahmer met and married Vernon Dahmer, a civil rights' activist and two-term president of the local chapter of the NAACP. In 1966, the Dahmer's house was firebombed by the Ku Klux Klan as a result of Vernon Dahmer's work in the civil rights movement in Mississippi. Vernon Dahmer died shortly thereafter due to lung damage caused by smoke inhalation. Ellie Dahmer taught school for many years in Richton, Mississippi until her retirement in 1987.

Oral history.; An interview conducted on July 7, 2006 with George Dale (born 1940). Former Commissioner of Insurance for the State of Mississippi, Mr. Dale now serves as Public Policy Advisor for the law offices of Baker, Donelson. Dale discusses issues related to the insurance industry and Hurricane Katrina.

Oral history.; Alonzo Daniels was born in 1913, in Pearlington, Mississippi. In 1918, Daniels' family moved to Bay St. Louis. Mr. Daniels attended Valena C. Jones Public School in Bay St. Louis through tenth grade. In 1931, he graduated from St. Rose de Lima Catholic School in Bay St. Louis. He attended the Mississippi School of Business in Gulfport, Mississippi, and also North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina. He served in the Navy during World War II. For thirty-nine years, Mr. Daniels worked for Universal Life Insurance Company until his retirement.

Oral history.; Interview conducted May 23, 2002 in Claiborne County. Ethel Patton DΓÇÖAnjou was born March 6, 1939 in Alcorn, Mississippi. She attended school at St. MaryΓÇÖs Academy in New Orleans, Louisiana, and at Tolleston High School in Gary, Indiana. DΓÇÖAnjou attended both Notre Dame College in Baltimore, Maryland, and the Catholic University in Washington, D.C., before earning a B.A. and M.A. from Wayne State University. Throughout her career, DΓÇÖAnjou has worked as a reading supervisor, teacher, merchant, and drug and alcohol counselor. She is a member of the National Education Association and the Mississippi Foreign Language League, and has also been given several foreign language awards.

Oral history.; Cleo Daugherty was the first business manager at Coahoma Community College. She began working there in 1947 as secretary to the Principal at the time the college was being established.

Oral history.; Mrs. Laura Mae Davenport was born in Gholson, Mississippi, on October 22, 1908. She attended the Noxubee County Agricultural High School before moving to Shuqualak to finish high school in 1927. She began a teaching career and completed one year of course work at The University of Southern Mississippi, at that time known as State Teachers' College. Mrs. Davenport married her husband Ernest in 1932. She lived as a housewife until her children were grown and then helped Ernest open a Western Auto store. Mrs. Davenport has eight grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren.

Oral history.; Interview conducted August 27, 2005. Charles Lorenzo Davis is a native of Hattiesburg. Davis participated in civil rights era activism inspired by a visit from Medgar Evers to his church. He discusses the role of the church in the black community in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Davis touches on events related to civil rights activism, and the history of Mobile Street in Hattiesburg.

Oral history.; Born in 1943, Charles L. Davis was reared in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He has worked with the NAACP in various capacities since organizing the Forrest County NAACP Youth Group in 1958. He attempted to register to vote in Hattiesburg in 1964, as well as testing the 1964 Civil Rights Act with other civil rights activists. He also has worked with the Mississippi Democratic Party.

Oral history.; Interview conducted February 23, 2010 in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Davis discusses growing up in New Orleans and Bay St. Louis and the sense of community that pervaded life for African-Americans in the segregated South.

Oral history.; Interview conducted June 12, 2010 with Myrtle Davis in Biloxi, Mississippi, at the Church of the Redeemer. Davis discusses growing up in Biloxi and her experience during the Biloxi Beach Wade-Ins.

Oral history.; Interview conducted on August 21, 1972 with the Honorable Russell C. Davis in his office in Jackson, Mississippi. He was born in Rockville, Maryland. After completing two years at the University of Maryland, Davis took employment in a U.S. Naval gun factory while awaiting a call to the military service. During World War II, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and was stationed in Jackson, Mississippi in 1944. After the war, Davis joined his father-in-law in his insurance agency until he was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives. In July of 1969, Davis took office as Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi. He entered office during a tumultuous time in the South and he tried to advocate moderation and peace in the city of Jackson. Davis explains how he tried to keep the peace in the city of Jackson after the Jackson State shootings.

Oral history.; Interview conducted on March 24, 1972 with Dr. William Penn Davis at his home in Jackson, Mississippi. Davis was born in Union County, Mississippi on August 5, 1903. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Mississippi College in 1929 and a Master of Theology degree in 1938 from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Davis was ordained to the ministry in 1923 and began serving various churches throughout the South and Maryland. In 1957, Davis became president of the Mississippi Baptist Seminary and served until his retirement in 1971. He is also a former president of both the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board and the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Baptist Seminary. He has also served as secretary and director of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board's department of work with National (Negro) Baptists.

Oral history.; Born on December 8, 1923, in Lumberton, Mississippi, Mr. John Dawson was one of the children of Mr. David and Mrs. Hattie Johnson Dawson. John Dawson moved with his family to the Soria City community in Gulfport, Mississippi at the age of six. He graduated from Thirty-third Avenue High School and then attended a welding school run by the United States government in New Orleans, Louisiana. A few weeks before finishing welding school, Mr. Dawson was drafted into the Navy where he was trained in aviation metalsmithing. After two and a half years in the Navy, Mr. Dawson returned to Gulfport and began working at the Veterans Administration Hospital in the dietetic department. He joined the NAACP and became active in civil rights activities, where he met Medgar Evers. Mr. Dawson eventually owned and operated his own business, a service station in Gulfport.

Oral history.; John Henry Dawson was born December 8, 1923 in Lumberton, Mississippi. During World War II, he was drafted into the United States Navy in 1943. He served for nearly three years until 1946. After the war, Dawson spent 9 years working at the Gulfport Veterans' Hospital. Here he met African American physician, Felix Dunn, and the two men planned to establish a business in the community. Dunn and Dawson decided to open a service station located on 19th Street and 33rd Avenue, and Dawson served as the manager for 38 years. He was also a member of the Gulfport branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and was heavily involved in the civil rights movement. Other topics discussed include interactions with Medgar Evers, the impact of Sheriff Curtis Dedeaux on the community, and Dr. Dunn providing medical assistance for various civil rights demonstrations in the 1960s.

Oral history.; An interview conducted on April 26, 2006 with Ursula Daxecker. A native of Austria, Daxecker came to New Orleans as a graduate student. After her home was flooded in Hurricane Katrina, Daxecker moved to Northern Virginia. She has since made plans to return to New Orleans with her family.

Oral history.; John D. Dean was born in 1916, in Bond, Mississippi. His family moved to Gulfport during the Depression. At the age of sixteen, Mr. Dean began working for $1 a day cutting paper wood to help support his family. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, Mr. Dean registered for the draft, and he was called up to service in 1942. He was shipped to Europe in the 953rd Quartermasters. During the war, Mr. Dean worked as a cook in the United States Army. After his discharge from the Army, Mr. Dean returned to Mississippi. Mr. Dean was hired as a janitor at Scott Field Air Base. He was promoted to a supervisory position, transferred to Keesler Air Force Base, and retired in 1981.

Oral history.; Discusses race relations in New York and Mississippi, the problems of freedom-of-choice desegregation, and the power of Joe Patterson, John Bell Williams, and James Eastland in Mississippi politics. This interview reviews the lawsuit against the Jackson television station WLBT and the White Citizens' Council and provides his opinions on the work done by FBI agents in Mississippi during the late 1960s.

Oral history.; An interview conducted on March 14, 2006 with Penny Dean, Hancock County Board of Supervisors board secretary. Dean discusses her experiences during Hurricane Katrina as well as recovery efforts.

Oral history.; Interview conducted on June 9, 1977 with the Honorable Herman B. DeCell in his office in Yazoo City, Mississippi. DeCell enrolled at the University of Mississippi but with the start of World War II, he was called to service. After the war, DeCell returned to the University of Mississippi to finish his pre-law studies. He went on to Harvard University Law School where he obtained his law degree. Upon his return to Mississippi, DeCell began to practice law. In 1959, DeCell campaigned successfully for election to the Mississippi Senate, and subsequently was reelected to four additional terms. In addition to his law practice and service in the Senate, DeCell's time has been filled with participation in many projects in Yazoo City on behalf of his church and local civic clubs, as well as in personal improvements projects such as the Great Books program.

Oral history.; Annis Guess Dickerson was born and raised in the Possumneck community of Attala County. She speaks about her family heritage, property, and the settling of Possumneck. The early part of the interview focuses on her Grandfather, Joseph Allan Weeks. Described as an educated and self-taught man, he built houses, surveyed land, and wrote poetry. The transcript of the speech given by him at his ninetieth birthday in 1956 is included. Dickerson also discusses the self-sufficient nature of life on the family farm. She helped raise animals, silk corn and churn butter. Dickerson had a successful career showing horses and competing in equestrian events.

Oral history.; Interview conducted on April 24, 2010 with Eric Dickey. Eric Eugene Dickey was born May 7, 1966, in Biloxi, Mississippi, where his grandparents and Head Start exerted positive influences in his early life. In elementary school band, Mr. Dickey began playing trumpet, and later expanded to piano and organ, becoming the professional musician he is today. In May of 1989, Mr. Dickey graduated from William Carey College, and then began working in Biloxi's Department of Community Development in the Planning Division. Several years later he was elected as councilman of Ward Two and has served in that capacity since then.

Oral history.; Interview conducted April 24, 2010 with Ruby Lee Dickey. Dickey discusses her family of origin, hard-working parents who valued education. She describes her husband Marvin Dickey's experiences in participating in the Biloxi Beach Wade-ins and the violence that followed. Describes gains in equality since the 1960s as well as the persistence of racism.

Oral history.; An interview conducted on June 16, 2008 with Rod Dickson-Rishel, pastor of the Mississippi City United Methodist Church. Reverend Dickson-Rishel discusses his experiences during and after Hurricane Katrina.

Oral history.; Interview conducted September 20, 2003 with Ivanhoe Donaldson in Holly Springs, Mississippi. Discusses growing up in New York City as part of an extended family with roots in the West Indies. Donaldson discusses his education in New York schools, awareness of racial inequalities, political awakening and early activism. He also describes the organizational challenges and successes of the SNCC and activities associated with Freedom Summer.

Oral history.; An interview conducted on June 28, 2007 with Elizabeth Marks Doolittle, Public Services Librarian at the University of Southern Mississippi, Gulf Park Campus. Ms. Doolittle discusses her experiences during Hurricane Katrina.

Oral history.; Interview conducted May 21, 2002 at the Dotson home in Port Gibson, Mississippi. Essie Lee Dotson was born February 1, 1933 in Grand Gulf, Mississippi. She completed her education at the Allen School and at Claiborne County Training Academy. Dotson held a variety of jobs throughout her career, including work as a waitress in several cafés on Fair Street, owning and operating the Grand Gulf Store, making dishes for National Plastic, and working as a janitor and gardener for the Grand Gulf Nuclear Plant. She was also a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Oral history.; Gwin E. Douglas was born on November 9, 1923, in State Line, Mississippi. Douglas graduated from Leakesville High School in 1942 and worked briefly with his father in the naval store and the timber businesses until he was drafted into the Army. When the war was over, he returned home from Japan and worked at various jobs in Leakesville. In 1956 he took a job with the International Paper Company as a construction superintendent in forest land management. He retired from International Paper in 1979 and was elected to the Greene County Board of Supervisors. Also present in the interview is his wife, Mrs. Alma McLeod Douglas.

Oral history.; An interview conducted on October 27, 2005 with Glynna Dozier. Mrs. Dozier discusses her experiences during and after Hurricane Katrina.

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