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Oral History Digital Collection

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Oral history.; Aurabelle Caggins was born in 1919, in Kiln, Mississippi. Orphaned at a young age, she grew up with relatives in Gulfport's Soria City community. She attended Thirty-third Avenue High School. In addition, Mrs. Caggins worked for pay as a child, earning money that helped her attend Alcorn State University, where she earned a scholarship and graduated with her B.S. degree. She earned her M.S. degree in home economics and child development from Tuskegee University. Mrs. Caggins career as a teacher in the Gulfport, Mississippi, school systems spanned thirty-eight years. At the time of this interview, she was retired from teaching, and she was serving as an elected member of the Harrison County Election Commission. She has received numerous awards for civic leadership and service.

Oral history.; David Caldwell was born in Lavaca, Arkansas where he stayed and worked on his uncle's farm, and attended segregated schools. He dropped out of school and worked in a number of jobs, including for a furrier. Caldwell joined the military and served in Japan during and after World War II. He also served in Korea and Germany. After being discharged from the Army, he came to Holly Springs, Mississippi, where he first experienced racist intimidation. He became involved with the civil rights workers in Holly Springs during the summer of 1964.

Oral history.; An interview conducted on August 25, 1971 with Erskine Caldwell (1903-1987). Mr. Caldwell was a prominent American author whose works include Tobacco Road, (1932) and God's Little Acre (1933).

Oral History.; Interview with john E. Cameron conducted on January 26, 1999. John E. Cameron was born in 1932 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He earned a B.S. degree at Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi. He then attended the American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee from 1952 to 1956. Cameron served as pastor in Meridian, Laurel, Hattiesburg, and spent 29 years serving at Greater Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Jackson, Mississippi.

Oral history.; Interview conducted on June 8, 1976, with Will D. Campbell. Campbell, born in Amite, Mississippi, was ordained as a pastor at the age of 17. He first became aware of racism during time spent in the military, when he read a novel by Howard Fast entitled "Freedom Road". His involvement in issues of race takes a theological approach, with emphasis on alleviating crises and preventing violence.

Oral history.; Interview conducted with Ernest Camper. Ernest Camper was born in Pinola, MS in August 1911. He grew up on a farm that grew cotton and corn. Camper and his first wife had ten children and were married for thirty-seven years until her death in 1979. Camper remarried to Gussie Martin Gray and remained together for eighteen years until her death. During the 1960s Camper began driving a school bus in Mendenhall, MS.

Oral history.; Charles Wilson Capps, Jr. was born in 1925 in Merigold, Mississippi and moved to Cleveland, Mississippi where he grew up. He enlisted in the Army and served during World War II, then was elected sherriff in 1964. He then was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives where he served for 33 years.

Oral history.; Interview conducted June 12, 2010 with G.W. Carney. Carney was born in Crystal Springs, Mississippi and moved to Biloxi at the age of 2. A graduate of Nichols High School, he participated in the Biloxi Beach Wade-Ins of the early 1960s led by Dr. Gilbert Mason in an effort to desegregate the public beaches.

Oral history.; Interview conducted April 24, 2010 in Biloxi, Mississippi at Episcopal Church of the Redeemer. Carney discusses his memories of the Biloxi Beach Wade-Ins, Dr. Gilbert Mason, the NAACP, and Boy Scouts.

Oral history.; Interview conducted on March 14, 1994 with Mr. Andrew R. Carr. Carr was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi. He attended the Naval Academy during World War II, and then enlisted in the Navy. After twelve years in the Navy, Carr returned to Clarksdale to work on the family farm. In 1964, he was appointed to the biracial committee that worked on the poverty program known as Coahoma Opportunities, Inc. (COI). Carr was one of the two African Americans to fill this position. After Carr was elected as chairman of the COI, the program developed into a comprehensive system. It offered many services such as Head Start, legal aid, adult education, and retraining farm workers. Carr also was involved in the integration of the Coahoma County schools. On March 14, 1967, he testified before a Senate subcommittee poverty program.

Oral history.; Interview conducted on October 28, 1993 with Judge Michael L. Carr (born 1920). He moved to Mississippi when he received an appointment to serve as law clerk to Edwin R. Holmes, U.S. circuit judge for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Carr entered private law practice in Brookhaven, Mississippi, in 1951 and has lived there ever since. He was elected district attorney of the Fourteenth Judicial District in 1955 and served seven years. In 1962, he was elected chancellor of the Fifteenth Chancery Court District of Mississippi. He retired in 1990 when he was designated chancellor, senior status.

Oral history.; Interview conducted on August 17, 1977 with Mrs. Betty Carter at her home in Greenville, Mississippi. Carter was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. She attended Newcomb College where she met her husband, Hodding Carter. Together they established two newspapers and purchased the third. In their first newspaper, The Courier, established in Hammond, Louisiana, the Carters were known for opposing Huey P. Long. Opposing Long led to the downfall of the Carters' first newspaper and their move out of Louisiana. Betty Carter served as the first advertising manager of their second newspaper, The Delta Star. The Carters eventually bought out the other local paper in Greenville, Mississippi to create the Delta Democrat Times. During the civil rights movement in the South, their paper became a voice of moderation in the South. This policy forced Carter and her husband to live under threats and in a state of tension for years.

Oral history.; Eddie Carthan taught school at Durant Attendance Center and at Saints College in Lexington, Mississippi, and has owned and operated several businesses in Tchula, Mississippi. He also worked for the United States Department of Commerce in the Office of Minority Business Enterprise as a business developer. He was elected to the Holmes County School Board in 1972. In 1979, he was elected mayor of Tchula and served two terms. He was the first African American elected to the position.

Oral history.; An interview conducted on May 12, 2008 with Julia Caruso, a retired teacher who lives in Waveland, MS. She discusses Hurricane Katrina's devastation on the area as well as its impact on her family and close friends.

Oral history.; Ron Carver was born in 1946 in Boston and was in high school when he became aware of the struggle for civil rights going on in Mississippi. After graduation, he decided to get involved and he volunteered as an assistant to Julian Bond in the SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) office in Atlanta, Georgia. At the end of the summer, he decided to go to Mississippi. Carver canvassed from door to door in black communities, working primarily in North Mississippi, assisting black citizens in registering to vote, organizing mass meetings, identifying issues deemed important by local people, recruiting for the Freedom Democratic Party, taking part in Freedom Days, and other civil rights activities. Carver left Mississippi to matriculate as a freshman at Columbia University.

Oral history.; Interview conducted on March 15, 1994 with Troy Catchings, Jr. (born 1942). In 1966, he began working with Coahoma Opportunities, Inc. (COI), an antipoverty agency that serves the African-American and poor white communities of Clarksdale and Coahoma County. In his more than thirty years with COI, Catchings has served as technical assistant and worked with the adult education program. At the time of this interview, he was director of COI.

Oral history.; Jean Chamberlain is an African-American who grew up in rural North Mississippi in the 1950s and 1960s. She experienced school consolidation in the public schools, and then she attended Tougaloo, a predominantly black college. In this interview she recalls her family, her childhood, and the evolution of her awareness of the civil rights movement. She assesses the progress and lack thereof that we have made in granting equal civil rights to all U.S. citizens regardless of race.

Oral history.; Interview conducted April 17, 2001 in Claiborne County. O'Neal Chambers was born July 30, 1910 in Lorman, Mississippi. He completed his education at Rosenwald School and Watson Chapel. Throughout his career, Chambers worked as a farmer, as a deck hand for the box factory, and in the logging industry. He also served as a medic in the US Army from 1941 to 1945, reaching the rank of corporal.

Oral history.; Discusses the curricula, teachers and administrators, and recreational activities, including school sports at the African American schools. Compares the schools of the 1990s to those of the past, and describes the African American community in Hattiesburg, Mississippi during the 1920s and 1930s.

Oral history.; Interview conducted October 8, 2009 with Hollee Cheek. Cheek was born February 3, 1984 in Jackson, Mississippi. After attending Kosciusko Public Schools, she earned a degree in Marketing Communications from the University of Mississippi in 2006.

Oral history.; Interview conducted October 8, 2009 with Hollis Randolph Cheek. Cheek was born February 9, 1983 in Jackson, Mississippi. He attended the Kosciusko District Schools and graduated from East Holmes Academy. He went on to earn a degree in Risk Management and Insurance from Mississippi State University in 2006.

Oral history.; An interview conducted on March 14, 2007 with Richard Chenoweth, Jr., owner of Scranton's Restaurant in Pascagoula, MS. He describes his preparations for and experiences during Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast.

Oral history.; Interview with Charles Chiplin conducted on June 25, 1999. Charles K. Chiplin was born in 1947 in Vicksburg, Mississippi. He participated in many aspects of the Vicksburg civil rights movement, as an attendee at the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City when the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party challenged the Mississippi Democrats. He also worked with the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO), the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), as well as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Oral history.; An interview conducted on February 21, 2007 with Ruth Christian, who describes losing her home to Hurricane Katrina and the struggles that ensued after the storm on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Oral history.; Eugene Lawrence Christy was born in 1930, in Gulfport, Mississippi. Christy graduated from Thirty-third Avenue High School. In 1951 he was drafted into the military during the Korean War. Upon returning home he began working at the Veterans Administration Hospital in dietetics. In 1961, he was called up from reserve status at the time of the Berlin crisis. In 1983, after serving thirty-two years, he retired from the military as a first sergeant. After thirty-six years at his second career as a nurse's aide at both the Biloxi and the Gulfport VA Hospitals, Mr. Christy retired.

Oral history.; An interview conducted on May 12, 2006 with Victoria Cintra. Ms. Cintra discusses the problem of the exploitation of immigrant labor in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Oral history.; Alyce Griffin Clarke was born in Yazoo City, Mississippi. She was raised in Belzoni, where she graduated from McNair High School. She completed her undergraduate education at Alcorn State University and went on to earn a master's degree in nutrition from Tuskegee University. She became interested in politics while serving as director of nutrition services at Jackson Hinds Comprehensive Health Center. In March of 1985, she became the first African American woman elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives. She served on the committees of Ethics, Education, Public Health, Ways and Means, Universities and Colleges, Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review, Judiciary B, Judiciary En Banc, and Juvenile Justice.

Oral history.; Interview conducted on June 10, 1994 with Fred Clark Sr. (born 1943). Mr. Clark grew up in the segregated society of Jackson, Mississippi. He was educated in Jackson, attending Smith Robertson Elementary School, Rowan Junior High, Holy Ghost Catholic School, Lanier High, and Jackson State University. His employment has included professional golf caddy, construction worker, teacher, security guard, park ranger, deputized U.S. Marshal, and assistant prison policeman. His interests include: church, community leadership, baseball in Mississippi, family life, education, and politics.

Oral history.; Georgia Clark was born in Durant, Mississippi in Holmes County in 1923. She grew up on on the Harvey Bristol plantation where her father was a sharecropper. Clark attended school up to eighth grade and married at the age of 16. She began doing domestic work after the birth of her first child. In 1963 she began to hear about the civil rights movement and workers asked Clark if she would like to register to vote. In 1976 Clark ran successfully for election commissioner in district two of Holmes County.

Oral history.; Interview conducted with Obie Clark on September 30, 1997. Clark was born October 31, 1932, near DeKalb, Mississippi. He earned a degree from Mississippi Industrial College and took courses at the University of Minnesota. For many years he taught school in Meridian, Mississippi. During the 1960s, he became active with the NAACP and worked for school desegregation. Mr. Clark continues to live in Meridian where he operates a funeral home.

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