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Oral History Digital Collection

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Oral history with Martha Williams

Oral history.; An interview conducted on June 22, 2007 with Martha Williams, a volunteer with the North Carolina Baptist Men. Miss Williams discusses her role with this organization dedicated to disaster relief and their efforts on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Oral history with Mr. Roberts Wilson, Jr.

Oral history.; Mr. Roberts Wilson Jr. was born July 6, 1941, in Rosedale, Mississippi. After attending both Vanderbilt University and the University of Mississippi, he went to Washington. D.C., during the mid 1960s where he worked in the office of Mississippi Senator John Stennis. Returning to Mississippi, he attended Ole Miss Law School, graduating in 1969. In 1970, Mr. Wilson married Ann Smith of Birmingham, Alabama. Both Mr. Wilson and his wife have been active in Mississippi politics, and Mr. Wilson has run for state senate, state representative and mayor of Pascagoula. At the time of this interview, Mr. Wilson was practicing as a trial attorney in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Wilson discusses his family's history; the murder of Emmett Till in Money, Mississippi; his work in the office of Mississippi Senator John Stennis in Washington, D.C.; the integration of Little Rock Central High School in 1957; the enrollment of James Meredith at the University of Mississippi; the Vietnam War and Mississippi politics.

Oral history with Mr. Monroe “Bill” Winston

Oral history.; Mr. Monroe "Bill" Winston was born September 12, 1907, in Caseyville, Lincoln County, Mississippi. His parents were sharecroppers on the Red Star plantation, the same plantation where his grandmother had been a slave. Mr. Winston attended school through the second grade, stopping to begin work in a brickyard. He worked in the brickyard until he was twenty years old. In 1929, before he turned twenty-two, Mr. Winston married. He and his wife had two sons. After his first wife passed away, Mr. Winston remarried to Gladys Winston. As an adult, Mr. Winston farmed, worked as a mechanic, worked in an oil mill, did odd jobs, and worked as a driver for several people. He continues to live in Brookhaven, in the same house he has lived in since 1926.

Oral history with Dr. Forest Kent Wyatt

Oral history.; Dr. Forest Kent Wyatt was born on May 27, 1934, in Berea, Kentucky. He graduated from Delta State College (now Delta State University) with a double degree in mathematics and health, physical education, and recreation. He then began a teaching career that included work for the University Military School in Mobile, Alabama and at his high school alma mater, Cleveland High School. Dr. Wyatt became Delta State College's first alumni secretary and he also completed his doctoral degree from the University of Mississippi. Having served Delta State University as alumni secretary for four years, Dr. Wyatt worked as the administrative assistant before becoming the fifth president of Delta State University in 1975. Dr. Wyatt served in that capacity for twenty-four years, retiring in 1999.

Oral history with Honorable George M. Yarbrough

Oral history.; Interview conducted on February 21, 1980 with the Honorable George M. Yarbrough at his home. Yarbrough was born on August 15, 1916 at Red Banks, Mississippi. Yarbrough served in the U.S. Army during World War II, achieving the rank of master sergeant. In 1958, he purchased a controlling interest in a local paper, The South Reporter, eventually assuming full control as editor and publisher. Yarbrough was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives in 1952 and in 1956 was elected to the Mississippi Senate, where he served until 1968. He gave up his seat in 1968 but was returned to the Senate in 1972 and served until 1980, when he lost his bid for re-election. Yarbrough was President Pro Tempore of the Senate, 1960-1968, and was active Lieutenant Governor from 1966 to 1968.

Oral history with Jason York

Oral history.; An interview conducted on November 20, 1998 with Jason York, marketing manager for Silver Star Resort and Casino. Born in Philadelphia, Mississippi, York describes his experience of Choctaw culture in the context of American society.

Oral history with Kenneth York

Oral history.; An interview conducted on October 21, 1998 with Kenneth York (born 1948) in Neshoba County, Mississippi. York is an educator and advocate for Choctaw cultural heritage.

Oral history with Ms. Zoya Zeman

Oral history.; Interview conducted on April 18, 1996 with Zoya Zeman (born 1943). Ms. Zeman was a civil rights activist who worked on the Mississippi Summer Project in Clarksdale, where she worked at the community center, organizing classes and doing health education and literacy work.

Oral history with Johnnie Faye Inge; 1998

Oral history.; Interview with Johnnie Faye Inge conducted on November 28, 1998. Johnnie Faye Inge was born in Laurel, Mississippi on July 14, 1948. She was one of the first African American students to integrate the previously all-white Meridian High School in 1965. She attended Meridian Community College for two years and was then hired by Citizens National Bank as their first black employee. Inge continued her education in Dallas, Texas at Bishop College (later named Paul Quinn College). After graduation, she attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas where she studied journalism and received an internship at the Dallas Morning News. Inge worked in radio and television for a number of years in Meridian. She later attended Mississippi State University where she received her teaching certificate and M.A. degree. She has served on several boards including the NAACP, the Lauderdale County Keep America Beautiful Commission, and the Lauderdale County Chapter of the American Cancer Society. She presently teaches English at Marion Park School in Meridian.

Oral history with Laura Inge-Love; 1998

Oral history; Interview with Laura Inge Love conducted on November 28, 1998. Laura May Holloway Inge Love was born in Meridian, Mississippi in 1920. She attended Meridian Public Schools and recieved a scholarship to Wiley College in Marshall, Texas. She also attended Jackson State College. For two years she taught school. She married Reverend Clinton Owen Inge in June, 1941. Inge Love taught private piano lessons for more than fifty years.

Oral history with George Jackson, Sr.; 2009

Oral history.; Interview conducted on April 7, 2009 with George Jackson Sr. George Jackson, Sr. is from Jackson, Mississippi. He became a singer at a young age and sang to pay his way through college and a master's degree in education from Jackson College (now Jackson State University). Through his marriage, he became connected to Leake County and the Harmony community. Harmony was a historic black community that had created and supported its own school. In 1961, the county closed down Harmony High School to bus the students to Warner Grove High School across town. The community protested and insisted if their school was going to be closed, then the students would go to the local white school, Carthage High School. The Leake County chapter of the NAACP was organized in the Jackson family residence. The NAACP sued for integration. The integration of Carthage High School is the first court-mandated school integration in the state of Mississippi. The Harmony community also served as a base for members of CORE during the voter registration movement in the summer of 1964. George Jackson spent his later years working in the Jackson Public School system. He served for years running a GED program designed to provide students with trade skills as well as prepare them for higher education. Recently George Jackson Sr. has been working at Lanier High School running the Algebra Project. This project is a new approach to teaching algebra to high school students based on real life applications.

Oral history with Johnnie “Jack” Jackson; 2007

Oral history.; Interview conducted April 25, 2007 with Jack Jackson at his home in West Point, Mississippi. Jackson was born in 1923. He discusses growing up under segregated conditions in West Point. He further discusses joining the military in 1941 and returning to continue his education. Describes economic exploitation of African Americans and his path to becoming involved in civil rights activism. Mentions Medgar Evers, Bob Moses, and John Buffington as important contacts.

Oral history with Vermell Jackson and Vermester Bester; 2012

Oral history.; Interview conducted with Vermell Tart Jackson and Vermester Bester on October 18, 2012 in Jackson's home. Jackson was born March 23, 1928 in Tatum Quarters, Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Jackson discusses living in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, during the Civil Rights Movement. She describes racism, the lack of opportunities, civil rights leaders, and voter registration. Vermester Jackson Bester, the eldest daughter of the Jackson family, was one of the first black students to attend William Carey College (now William Carey University) in 1965.

Oral history with Vernon Jackson; 2000

Oral history.; Mr. Vernon Jackson grew up in Biloxi, Mississippi. Until 1955 he attended Our Mother of Sorrows Catholic School; he then attended Nichols High School. He was inducted into the Army in 1965 and served for two years. After leaving the Army, he worked in the civil service at Keesler Air Force Base for several years until he transferred to the post office where he worked until his retirement in 1998.

Oral history with the Honorable Charles C. Jacobs, Jr.

Oral history.; Charles C. Jacobs Jr. was born in Greenville, Mississippi, on January 13, 1921. Mr. Jacobs attended the University of Mississippi and returned to its law school after serving as a Marine during World War II. During his career, he was admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Mississippi, the U.S. District Courts, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. He has been active in the local community and later served as a member of the Mississippi Legislature. Beginning in 1976, Mr. Jacobs served as a member of the Board of Trustees, Institutions of Higher Learning for the State of Mississippi which service was for a twelve-year term ending in 1988. He was the president of the College Board in the year 1985. Mr. Jacobs retired from his law practice in 1999 after over fifty years of service, and since his retirement, he has served as a member of the Foundation Board for Mississippi Delta Community College.

Oral history with J.Q.C. James; 2000

Oral history.; Interview conducted on November 3, 2000. Reverend J. Q. C. "Alphabet" James was a Methodist minister and civil rights leader in Ripley, Tippah County, Mississippi from 1962 to 1968. Born in Jasper County, Mississippi, Reverend James was a graduate of Rust College and pastored churches in Grenada, Ripley, Columbus, and Greenwood. As pastor of St. Paul's Church in Ripley, James was a leader in the integration of the local hospital, schools, and restaurants. He also facilitated NAACP and civil rights movement meetings in Ripley, and he was also present at the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party meeting at Antioch Baptist Church in Blue Mountain the night before it was burned.

Oral history with Kathryn Anne James

Oral history.; An interview conducted on December 6, 2007 with Kathryn Anne ""Sally"" James. A lifelong Pass Christian resident, Ms. James describes the impact of Hurricane Katrina on her family and the city of Pass Christian, Mississippi.

Oral history with Mrs. Lyle James

Oral history.; Discusses youth, racial attitudes, and teaching African American and white children as a substitute teacher. Also discusses life during the Great Depression, and rationing during World War II. Talks about the various employment she held, both before and after her husband's stroke.

Oral history with Ronny James; 2006

Oral history.; Interview conducted on June 24, 2006 with Ronny James. Ronny James is the son of a Mississippi lawyer in the Delta. His mother was a member of Women for Constitutional Government, a conservative organization which opposed the Civil Rights Movement and integration. JamesΓÇÖ family opposed integration on the grounds that it was interference on the part of the federal government into state decisions. James attended The University of Mississippi during the early 1960s when James Meredith applied for admission. His family was on good terms with Edwin Walker.

Oral history with Reverend Robert James Jamison

Oral history.; Reverend Robert James Jamison was born on May 28, 1936, and lived in both St. Louis, Missouri, and the community of Shake Rag in Tupelo, Mississippi. Reverend Jamison earned money in high school from carpentry and upon graduation, he married. He attended Mississippi Industrial College in Holly Springs, Mississippi, on an athletic scholarship. After graduating he taught school and then attended several universities to attain advanced degrees including a Master of Divinity degree from Memphis Theological Seminary in Memphis, Tennessee. When he returned to Mississippi, Reverend Jamison became a Head Start director with Lift, Incorporated, and eventually became the first African American to run for alderman of Ward Four. Additionally, he worked to establish the NAACP in Tupelo. Later, he became the assistant vice president of the regional Community Action Agency.

Oral history with Howard Jeffries; 2000

Oral history.; Interview conducted on October 29, 2000. Howard Jeffries was born in Holly Springs, Mississippi on January 16, 1943. Jeffries was active with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Initially, attending nightly meetings at the Freedom House in Holly Springs, Mr. Jeffries eventually participated in voter registration and school integration drives and other civil rights events including the March on Washington, the James Meredith March, and events that occurred during the Selma to Montgomery marches. While he was unharmed during the marches, Mr. Jeffries experienced an aggressive confrontation with a police officer in Senatobia, Mississippi. Other experiences with SNCC include work at field offices in Mississippi, and Alabama, and the print shop in Atlanta, Georgia. After SNCC disbanded, Jeffries relocated to Memphis, Tennessee.

Oral history with Don Jelinek; 2004

Oral history.; Interview conducted November 11, 2004 in Berkeley, California. Don Jelinek was born in 1934 in New York City. In 1958 he joined the Army and was stationed in Columbia, South Carolina where he first witnessed segregation. After attending law school, Jelinek traveled to Mississippi in 1965 as a part of the ACLU's efforts in the state. He also discusses other civil rights related work he conducted in northern Mississippi.

Oral history with Arneshia Jenkins

Oral history.; An interview with Arneshia Jenkins conducted on October 31, 2006. An eighth grader in Biloxi, Mississippi when Hurricane Katrina hit, Jenkins describes her experiences during and after the storm.

Oral history with Barry Davis Jim

Oral history.; Barry Davis Jim, Sr., was born in Philadelphia Indian Hospital and grew up on the Pearl River Indian Reservation. He attended Pearl River Elementary Day School, which became Choctaw Central High School. Mr. Jim, a promising athlete, was the first Choctaw to be awarded a football scholarship at East Central Junior College (now East Central Community College) but was prevented from playing because of a knee injury. He attended Meridian Junior College and Mississippi State University, where he made the dean's list. He graduated from MSU with a degree in physical education and recreation and a minor in driver's education. He has continued his studies and, at the time of this interview, was working toward a master's degree in educational administration. For several years, Jim coached at Choctaw Central High School. He worked one year at a public school in Elton, Louisiana, then returned to the Pearl River Indian Reservation as recreation director.

Oral history with Ethelyn Patricia Connor Joachim

Oral history.; An interview conducted on June 1, 2007 with Dr. Ethelyn Patricia ""Pat"" Joachim. Associate Provost for the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast, Dr. Joachim describes the impact of Hurricane Katrina on her own home as well as the University's Gulf Coast Campus.

Oral history with Mr. Charles Johnson, Jr.

Oral history.; Interview conducted on August 26, 1975 with Mr. Charles Johnson at his home in Jackson, Mississippi. Johnson was born in 1911 in Amory, Mississippi. After receiving a degree in Science from Mississippi State University, he began his long career in education. Johnson was a science teacher until in 1951 when he accepted the position of school superintendent of the Starkville Public Schools. In 1965, he was selected to be the Executive Secretary of the Mississippi Education Association (MEA). He served this association for ten years and during that time MEA's membership increased fifteen thousand and an improved organizational structure was developed. Johnson has been the recipient of many awards and honors. They include Life Membership from the PTA, Life Membership from the MEA, Phi Delta Kappa, Governor's Citation, and a Concurrent Resolution of Commendation by the Mississippi House and Senate.

Oral history with Leroy Johnson

Oral history.; An interview conducted on February 21, 2007 with Leroy Johnson, longtime Pascagoula, MS, resident, who describes his experience there during Hurricane Katrina and the devastation it wrought on the community and his personal life.

Oral history with Mr. Erle Johnston

Oral history.; Interview conducted on August 13, 1993 with Mr. Erle Johnston at his home in Forest, Mississippi. Johnston was born on October 10, 1917 in Garyville, Louisiana. In 1941, he moved Forest, Mississippi and bought the fledgling newspaper, Scott County Times. Johnston served as publisher until the paper was sold in 1983. Between 1942 and 1959, Johnston was involved in numerous statewide political campaigns including John Stennis's senatorial campaign and Ross Barnett's campaign for governor in 1955 and 1959. In 1963, Johnston was elected to the position of director of the Sovereignty Commission, which he held until 1968. Johnston became the mayor of Forest, Mississippi in 1981 and held that position until 1985. He is the author of three books: I Rolled With Ross, Mississippi's Defiant Years, and Politics: Mississippi Style.

Oral history with Eric Jones

Oral history.; An interview conducted on October 26, 2005 with Eric Jones. Former resident of Moss Point, Mississippi, Mr. Jones recounts his experiences during Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

Oral history with Mrs. Lillie Jones, native Mississippian

Oral history.; Interview conducted on December 11, 1974 with Mrs. Lillie Jones at her home in Philadelphia, Mississippi. Jones was born in 1892 in Lauderdale County, Mississippi and soon after her family moved to Neshoba County. She attended a rural school and upon completion of the eighth grade her schooling ended. Jones was active in the civil rights movement in Mississippi and attempted to improve the conditions for African Americans in the South. She testified before a congressional committee about the conditions under which African Americans had to live in Mississippi. The roads in the African American part of town were in need of repair and Jones challenged the United States government. She told the Department of Justice that if the roads were not repaired that she would stop the African Americans in Neshoba County from paying their taxes. The streets were soon repaired.

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