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Miller honored for work with Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum

By | Alumni, Archives, Community, Faculty/Staff, Uncategorized | No Comments
Pictured (left to right): Gilroy Chow, MDCHM president; Lisa Miller; and Cindi Lofton, MDCHM project coordinator.

Lisa Miller ’03, director of the Martin and Sue King Railroad Museum in Cleveland, was recently awarded a distinctive plaque of appreciation for her outstanding work with the Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum housed at the Charles W. Capps Jr. Archives and Museum at Delta State University.

Gilroy Chow, MDCHM president, presented the award to Miller at a recent board meeting.

The city of Cleveland and Delta State University work in partnership with MDCHM, with Miller serving as ex-officio in her work with the museum.

Miller’s creative talent and support have been significant in the development and success of the museum since it opened in 2011. Among many, one major contribution of Miller’s was designing the museum brochures, which uniquely depict Chinese culture. The brochures project was supported by a grant from the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area.

Emily Jones, university archivist and curator of the museum, said Miller is extremely worthy of the recognition.

“Passionate about preserving and sharing our local Delta history, Lisa Miller was one of the first volunteers to help create the Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum,” said Jones. “Through her generosity and careful planning, we were able to host our first book launch at the Martin & Sue King Railroad Heritage Museum. The book, ‘Journey Stories from the Cleveland Chinese Mission School,’ by co-authors Paul Wong and Doris Ling Lee, has been an amazingly successful fundraiser for the MDCHM programs and projects, and we are proud that we can now offer our newest publication, ‘The MS Chinese Veterans of World War II: A Delta Tribute,’ by Gwendolyn Gong, John H. Powers and Devereux Gong Powers.”

“Her creativity is evident in the museum space on the third floor of the Capps building, and she has consistently encouraged and supported the museum as if it were her primary responsibility,” added Jones. “Over the past seven years, Lisa has attended board meetings as an ex-officio member representing the city of Cleveland, offered guidance for large and small projects, and stepped in to volunteer whenever she is needed — all while directing the Martin & Sue King Railroad Heritage Museum for Cleveland. She is a constant encouragement for me and I could not ask for a better partner to help collect and preserve our local history.”

The Chinese Museum is located on the third floor of the Capps building and is free and open to the public. Guided tours are available for groups of all ages. For more information, contact Jones at ejones@deltastate.edu or Cindi Q. Lofton at clofton@deltastate.edu or call 662-846-4780.

For information about the Martin and Sue King Railroad Museum, contact Miller at trainmuseum@cableone.net or 662-843-3377.

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Chinese Heritage Museum included in NPR documentary

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National Public Radio’s “Weekend Edition” recently paid tribute to the Chinese population in the Mississippi Delta, including the Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum housed at the Charles W. Capps, Jr. Archives and Museum at Delta State University.

Listen to the NPR segment and view the story online at http://www.npr.org/2017/03/18/519017287/the-legacy-of-the-mississippi-delta-chinese.

University Archivist, Emily Jones, welcomed NPR during their recent stop in the Delta.

Where Chinese grocery stores once dominated our small towns, today their influence is markedly less notable,” said Jones, in a previous press release. “It is because of their physical absence that documenting, preserving and retelling their stories becomes vital.”  

The museum is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at no charge. Weekend or after-hours tours can be set up by calling Jones or Cindi Lofton at 662-846-4780.

Lebanese in America

Lebanese in America exhibit now on display

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In partnership with The Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies at North Carolina State University, Delta State university is hosting the traveling exhibit “The Lebanese in America: An exhibition exploring 150 years of history.”

The exhibit will remain on display until April 16.

The detailed exhibit explores the history and memories of Mississippi’s Lebanese American community. It comprises eight narrative HopUp displays with photographs, graphics and QR Codes linked to supplementary materials and an e-reader. The panels describe the history, conditions and impact of Lebanese immigration nationally, offering a framework in which to consider the substantial Lebanese immigration to the Mississippi Delta and beyond between the 1880s and the end of World War I.

This Delta is shaped daily by the people who invest in it,” said Emily Jones, university archivist. “The communities, celebrations, historic places and even place names tell of the colorful cultures who have immigrated to the Mississippi Delta and left their mark on our landscape. The exhibit prepared by the Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies and the Center for the Study of Southern Culture is a beautiful representation of the Lebanese families who have contributed to the richness of our regional heritage. The more we explore the threads that have woven together to create our current communities, I believe we will grow to appreciate each other more and more.”

Seeded in 2010 and formalized in 2014, the Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies is dedicated to research about Lebanese immigrants in the U.S. and throughout the world, and to preserving and sharing that knowledge with the scholarly community and general public. The center examines the historical and contemporary Lebanese Diaspora in all of its dimensions — social, political, economic and cultural — through such activities as a biennial conference, physical and digital archives and publications.

Project partners for the exhibit include the Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies, the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, Delta State’s QEP program, the Charles W. Capps, Jr. Archives and Museum, Delta State Diversity Committee, and the University Special Programs Committee at Delta State.

All DSU students, faculty and staff are encouraged to attend the exhibit opening. The event is free and open to the public. For those unable to view the exhibit at Delta State, it will be traveling to the Museum of the Mississippi Delta in Greenwood in April.

For more information, contact the Jones at ejones@deltastate.edu or Keith Fulcher at kfulcher@deltastate.edu.

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NPR visits Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum

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National Public Radio recently made at stop at the Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum housed at the Charles W. Capps, Jr. Archives and Museum at Delta State University.

Melissa Block and Alyssa Nordsworny from NPR received a special tour of the Chinese museum. The two were in the Delta working on programming for NPR focused on Gilroy and Sally Chow of Clarksdale, a culinry duo who have received national attention from the likes of The New York Times, Washington Post, The Smithsonian and more.

They’ve been the epitome of culinary fusion in the Delta for some time,” said Emily Jones, university archivist. “So NPR was in town to interview them yet again, and Gilroy, who is my Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum board president, recommended that they stop by to see the museum.” 

Against the backdrop of a rapidly disappearing society and culture, the museum promotes local heritage preservation by actively collecting oral histories, memorabilia, photographs and textile materials related to the history and story of the Mississippi Delta Chinese immigration and settlement.

Where Chinese grocery stores once dominated our small towns, today their influence is markedly less notable,” added Jones. “It is because of their physical absence that documenting, preserving and retelling their stories becomes vital.”  

The museum is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at no charge. Weekend or after-hours tours can be set up by calling Jones or Cindi Lofton at 662-846-4780.

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Documentary film “My Life in China” set for August 28

By | Archives, Archives and Museum | No Comments

The public is invited to attend a screening of the documentary My Life in China on Aug. 28.

PBS describes My Life in China as “an unvarnished portrait of the life and memories of a stoic and reticent man committed to his family and two sons.”

The documentary team, Kenneth Eng and Ehren Parks, will bring their film to Delta State on Sunday, August 28 at 2 p.m. in the BPAC Recital Hall. The event is sponsored by the Quality Enhancement Plan, the MS Delta Chinese Heritage Museum and the University Archives & Museum.

It is free and open to the public and will include a screening of the film and discussion lead by the filmmakers Eng and Parks.

Fleeing China’s Cultural Revolution in 1966, Eng’s father made his way to America to start a new life for his wife and two sons. Stories of his perilous journey to escape poverty and Communism finally led Eng to take his father back to China so that together, they could document the powerful decisions his father made all those years ago.

My Life in China is a story of migration passed down from father to son, ultimately asking the question, what does it mean to be both Chinese and American?

Other showings of the film are set for:

Saturday, Aug. 27: Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, Memphis, Tenn., at 1:30 p.m.

Monday, Aug. 29: Greenville, Arts Council, time TBA

Tuesday, Aug. 30: Jackson State University, College of Liberal Arts Room 166/266, at 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 31: Oxford Public Library, at 6 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 1: Hernando Public Library, at 6 p.m.

For more information on the program, follow the University Archives & Museum’s facebook page here: www.facebook.com/DSUArchives or call the University Archives at 662.846.4781