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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.; Mr. Palmer E. Foster was born in Jackson, Tennessee, and moved with his family to Ripley, Mississippi. After his high school graduation, he spent four years in the Army during World War II. Then he entered Rust College and in 1949 began teaching biology and chemistry, as well as coaching football in the Columbus City School System. In 1951 he became a full-time Boy Scout Executive, covering several counties where he has been working for thirty-six years until his retirement in 1987. Mr. Palmer has been active in the NAACP, Phi Beta Sigma, and the American Legion. He was Citizen of the Year, City of Tupelo in 1995, a deacon of Springhill M.B.C., and Trustee of the Springhill District Association.

Oral history.; Foster discusses the Mississippi Humanities Council, the teaching of African-American history in Mississippi schools, grant writing and funding, and race relations in Mississippi.

Oral history.; Interview conducted March 21, 2004. John Frazier was born in Greenville, Mississippi. As a young boy, he was aware of racial conflict and became involved in the civil rights struggle early. Frazier started a Youth Chapter of the NAACP in Greenville. This work led directly to his work with Medgar Evers in Jackson upon FrazierΓÇÖs enrollment in Campbell College and later, Tougaloo College. Frazier became the second African American to attempt to integrate the University of Southern Mississippi after the death of Clyde Kennard. Frazier describes his involvement with the various local NAACP chapters and the Mississippi State Young Democrats. He also details his imprisonment and the violence incurred upon him there. Frazier later attended seminary at both Tufts and Harvard University where he studied the Unitarian-Universalist religion and continued to participate in the civil rights movement in that capacity.

Oral history.; Interview conducted George Lewis French was born in June 1919 to Edgar Franklin French and Lila Mae Schull French in Maryville, LA. French was one of five children. FrenchΓÇÖs family moved to Mississippi when he was twelve years old. Shortly after, he started his first job at an icehouse operated by his father. French graduated from Mendenhall High School in 1937. After high school, French attended Clarks Commercial College in Jackson, MS. He returned to work at his fatherΓÇÖs ice plant. In 1938 French was given the responsibility of running the Star Theatre ΓÇô the movie theatre owned and operated by FrenchΓÇÖs father. French made frequent trips to New Orleans, LA to learn how to book films for the theater, which showed its first feature on November 9, 1938. George Lewis French married Mary Eleanor Teunisson and had three sons together, the oldest being born before French joined the US Army. He was first stationed in Camp Shelby, MS, and shortly thereafter was transferred to Fort Bragg, NC. At Fort Brag French was trained to be a battery clerk. After basic training, French was assigned to the Twenty-Eight Infantry Division, the Pennsylvania National Guard Division, and was stationed in Louisiana. French completed amphibious training in Carabelle, FL before being transferred to Camp Pickett, Va. French first saw combat while stationed in Sicily during World War II. He eventually got to mainland Italy, France, and Germany, where he took photographs of Dachau the day after liberation. FrenchΓÇÖs service in the war lasted from June 1943 to August 1945. He returned to the States in September of that year. French resumed his position as head of the Star Theatre, eventually selling it in the 1970s. FrenchΓÇÖs wife Mary Eleanor died in April 1997. In December 1999 he began his second marriage to Marjorie Elizabeth Wakeman.

Oral history.; An interview conducted on October 22, 2005 with Wendy Frost. A registered nurse from Findlay, Ohio, Ms. Frost was a volunteer with the American Red Cross in South Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina.

Oral history.; Interview conducted December 2, 2004 in Berkeley, California. Frye was born February 18, 1939 in Tuskegee, Alabama. Frye discusses growing up in the majority African American community of Tuskegee. He entered the Army and upon his discharge, he moved to California and became involved with activism there. He talks about educational opportunities he experienced and how he came to be involved in Freedom Summer.

Oral history.; Robert Fullilove was an activist in SNCC in 1964 and 1965. Born into a middle class African American family, he attended college at Colgate University where he was introduced to the Civil Rights Movement. During his time in SNCC he travelled to several areas in Mississippi including Jackson, Marshall County, and DeSoto County where he spearheaded Freedom Day events to register voters. He developed close relationships with many of the activists of the time including Stokely Carmichael and Ivanhoe Donaldson. He later became a professor of sociomedical sciences at Columbia University and worked as Associate Dean of Community and Minority Affairs.

Oral history.; Born in 1921, in Shuqualak, Mississippi, Albert Gaston and his family moved to Gulfport under the threat of racist violence. Mr. Gaston graduated from Thirty-third Avenue High School as class valedictorian, and went on to Morehouse College, from which he graduated in 1944; he did postgraduate work at Xavier, Atlanta University, and The University of Southern Mississippi. In 1943, Mr. Gaston entered the United States Army to serve in World War II. During his active years, Mr. Gaston was engaged in teaching; he has been an accountant and an entrepreneur. He has held membership in a number of national organizations, including the NAACP, The Urban League, and Pilgrim Bound Church where he is an ordained deacon.

Oral history.; Eva Gates was born on October 4, 1948. Marriage and pregnancy at fifteen caused her to temporarily leave school although her return proved difficult because of her husband's protests and the prevailing school policies concerning women in the '60s. She was able to overcome many negative experiences and graduated. Eva Gates worked for Memorial Hospital in Gulfport from 1972 to 1986 and in 1997 enrolled in the New Horizon Program at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Gulfport. She will receive her associate of arts degree on May 9, 2001, and she will attend the University of Southern Mississippi the following fall.

Oral history.; Interview with Hattye Gatson conducted on January 16, 2000. Hattye Gatson was born in 1942 in Pickens, Mississippi and later moved to Durant. She joined the movement there for African American civil rights and began challenging segregated institutions, and working to canvass the community for voter registration. She participated in mass meetings at Second Pilgrim Rest Church, as well as boycotts of local businesses that were segregated.

Oral history.; An interview conducted on February 21, 2007 with Aimee Gautier-Dugger, who describes her experience waiting out the storm in Gautier, the city her ancestors founded, and the struggle to regroup after the storm.

Oral history.; Two interviews conducted on June 12, 2007 and February 20, 2008 with Robert Gavagnie. A descendent of some of the first settlers on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Mr. Gavagnie discusses his experiences as Chief of the Bay St. Louis Fire Department at the time of Hurricane Katrina.

Oral history.; Angela Georgian was born in Greece in 1920 and emigrated to the United States in 1937. She and her mother and sister joined her father in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where he had opened a small restaurant, Gus's Caf*. In 1947, Mrs. Georgian met and married her husband, Timothy Georgian, who was also a Greek immigrant. After living a short time in Minneapolis, Mrs. Georgian and her husband moved back to Hattiesburg. They raised a family and operated Gus's No. 2. The family continues to live in Hattiesburg and operates Gus's, which has become something of a landmark in the downtown area.

Oral history.; Interview conducted November 15, 2006 with David Gibbs. Gibbs was born in Clay County, Mississippi. In 1959 he enlisted in the United States Army, and then returned to Mississippi. From that point on, he became active in the civil rights movement as a member of the NAACP organizing demonstrations, boycotts, efforts to integrate public services, and voter registration. He went on to serve as a state legislator for House District 36.

Oral history.; An interview conducted on May 9, 2007 with Perry and Bobbye Gibson. Long-time residents of the Gulf Coast, they discuss their ties to the community of Bay St. Louis as well as their experiences during and after Hurricane Katrina.

Oral history.; Interview with Oliver D. Gilmer recorded on October 25, 1999. Reverend Oliver D. Gilmer was born in rural Kentucky on May 31, 1927. Growing up on a farm, he attended a one-teacher school from primer through eighth grade. He was drafted into the Army and he served during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. He briefly enrolled to study construction engineering. He then enlisted in the Air Force and was assigned to the Air Police. Gilmer retired with twenty-three years of military service, and in 1967, Gilmer entered the ministry.

Oral history.; Interview conducted on September 10, 1993 with Herman Cowan Glazier Jr. (born 1918). Glazier's service record in Mississippi government spans forty-five years from 1946 to 1987. This includes his serving as exectutive assistant to seven governors from 1963 to his retirement. During those years, he was instrumental in writing speeches, setting policy, and drafting legislation at the time of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Oral history.; An interview conducted on October 19, 2005 with Stacey Goldsmith. Ms. Goldsmith discusses her experience during and after Hurricane Katrina in Brandon, Mississippi.

Oral history.; An interview conducted on October 27, 2005 with Louis Gomez. A registered nurse with American Medical Response, Mr. Gomez describes his responsibility for managing a special-needs shelter in Biloxi, Mississippi during Hurricane Katrina.

Oral history.; Ms. Vera Penney Gong was born on May 19, 1950, in San Francisco, California after her family had emigrated from China. Ms. Gong grew up in Clarksdale, Mississippi where her family owned a grocery store. As she was growing up, Ms. Gong was part of a large Chinese population in Clarksdale; she attended a Chinese church as well as Chinese school in the summer to learn Chinese language and culture. During her childhood, Ms. Gong suffered some personal experiences of being the target of racism. Ms. Gong earned her degree from Delta State University and began working in a clerical position in the registrar's and admissions office for the university. Gong discusses the Chinese community in Clarksdale and her impressions of Delta State University and the city of Cleveland.

Oral history.; Interview conducted on March 15, 1994 with Bennie Gooden. As one of the founding members of the Southern Education Recreation Association (SERA), Mr. Gooden wrote the grant proposal to fund Coahoma County's first Head Start program in 1964. He then served as project director for Head Start. Later, he expanded his efforts to aid adults by helping establish Coahoma Opportunities, Inc., the county's first community action agency.

Oral history.; Interview conducted February 16, 2001 at the home of Anthony Gordon. Anthony Golrdon was born September 7, 1916 in Conway, Arkansas. He attended elementary school at Archers School and he attended Claiborne County Training School through the tenth grade. Gordon later attended both the Southern Christian Institute in Edwards, Mississippi, and the Lexington Theological Institute in Kentucky. Gordon worked as a farmer, logger and school bus driver, but his primary vocation was ministry. He served as minister for First Christian Church of Hermanville, Big Zion in Willows, Little Zion in Blue Hill, and Rose Hill in Lorman. He was also affiliated with the Disciples of Christ and was a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Oral history.; An interview conducted on February 19, 2009 with Dwight Gordon. A firefighter in Pass Christian, Mississippi, Mr. Gordon discusses his experiences during and after Hurricane Katrina.

Oral history.; An interview conducted on June 19, 2006 with artist Lori K. Gordon. Ms. Gordon discusses her community, Clermont Harbor, Mississippi, before Hurricane Katrina, as well as her experiences afterward. Pieces from Ms. Gordon's work, The Katrina Collection, have been exhibited widely.

Oral history.; Interview conducted on July 19, 2008 with Lounett Gore at a private residence. Gore was born March 11, 1909 in Jones County, Mississippi. Gore describes growing up and living in a segregated society, the place of faith and gospel music in her life, and rearing her family during the Depression. She provides her thoughts on race relations.

Oral history.; An interview conducted on July 16, 2007 with Angelia Gray, a food and beverage director at a Hattiesburg hotel. She describes her experiences during and after Hurricane Katrina at home and at work in Hattiesburg, MS.

Oral history.; Interview conducted on June 5, 1999 with Victoria Gray Adams at the McCain Archives at the University of Southern Mississippi. Victoria Gray Adams was a prominent civil rights activist from Palmer's Crossing, Mississippi. She became known for her work in Hattiesburg and in constructing the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. Raised on a farm in the self-contained African American community of Palmer's Crossing, she strove to be self-sufficient. Through her work with the Citizenship Education Program, Gray Adams began to work with the Civil Rights Movement proper and was a pillar of the African American community in and around Hattiesburg.

Oral history.; Duncan Montgomery Gray Jr. attended high school in Greenwood and Jackson, Mississippi, and graduated from Central High, Jackson, in 1944. He earned an electrical engineering degree at Tulane University, in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1948 and received a commission in the U.S. Navy that same year. He worked for two years for the Westinghouse Corporation before entering seminary at the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee, where he earned his M.Div. degree in 1953. In 1972, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Divinity degree by the University of the South. After being ordained deacon in April, 1953, and priest in October, 1953, by his father, Bishop Duncan M. Gray of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi, he served in numerous leadership positions in the Episcopal Church. Bishop Gray has also been active in many civic and community affairs, both locally and statewide.

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