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Berry to provide 21st annual Sammy O. Cranford Memorial History Lecture

By | Academics, Archives and Museum, College of Arts and Sciences, Community, Faculty/Staff, Students | No Comments

Delta State University will host the 21st annual Sammy O. Cranford Memorial History Lecture on April 5 at 7 p.m. in Jobe Hall Auditorium.

The 2018 lecturer is Dr. Stephen Berry, Gregory Professor of the Civil War Era at the University of Georgia. Berry’s talk is entitled, “Dead Reckoning: What Coroners’ Records Reveal about Life and Death in the Old South.”

The Cranford Lecture is sponsored by the Delta State Division of Social Sciences and History and is supported by a generous grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council. The DSU Quality Enhancement Plan is also providing support for the lecture, which honors the life of Dr. Sammy Orren Cranford, longtime history professor and archivist at Delta State. The event is free and open to the public.

Berry earned his doctorate in history from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and is a leading scholar of the American Civil War and the nineteenth-century South. He has two books, “House of Abraham: Lincoln and the Todds” (2007) and “All That Makes a Man: Love and Ambition in the Civil War South” (2003). He has edited numerous volumes, including “A House Divided: The Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858” (2015) and “Weirding the War: Stories from the Civil War’s Ragged Edges” (2011).

He is currently working on several projects, most notably, a digital history project entitled “CSI: Dixie,” which uses coroners’ records to gain a deeper understanding of life and death in the nineteenth-century American South. As noted on the project website, “Coroners’ inquests are some of the richest records we have of life and death in the nineteenth century South. As mortals, we all die, but we do not die equally. Race, place, gender, profession, behavior, and good and bad luck play large roles in determining how we go out of the world. Collecting extant coroners’ inquests for the state of South Carolina between 1800 and 1900, CSI Dixie provides rare glimpses into Victorian-era suicide, homicide, infanticide, abortion, child abuse, spousal abuse, master-slave murder, and slave on slave violence.” For more information on the project, visit https://csidixie.org.

Dr. Sammy O. Cranford

Berry’s work for “CSI: Dixie” will serve as the foundation for his lecture.

“We are excited to have Stephen Berry deliver this year’s lecture,” said Dr. Chuck Westmoreland, associate professor of history at Delta State. “His work on the American Civil War and the nineteenth-century South is some of the most imaginative and creative you will find from historians today. He explores fascinating topics about daily life and death in the American South that push us to think about this region’s history, as well as the nation’s, in fresh, new ways. Students, faculty, staff and community members will learn a great deal about life and death in the Old South.”

Berry serves as the secretary-treasurer for the Southern Historical Association and has been a fellow for the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. In 2010, he received the Parks-Heggoy Award for excellence in graduate student teaching in the University of Georgia’s Department of History.

Westmoreland said Berry’s commitment to excellence in teaching, scholarship and public engagement bears much similarity to the work of Cranford.

“Stephen Berry has done a terrific job of taking history outside the traditional confines of the classroom and academic publications and into the digital world,” he added. “He speaks around the country and engages different types of audiences with his work. Dr. Cranford excelled at teaching and bringing history to a wider audience as well. I think he would appreciate the depth and creativity that Dr. Berry brings to the study of the past.”

As Westmoreland noted, the Cranford Lecture is a tribute to the life and legacy of Dr. Cranford.

“Through his passion as a history professor, and his commitment to developing the DSU Archives, Dr. Cranford made our campus and community a better place,” said Westmoreland. “He touched the lives of students, fellow colleagues, community members and scholars who came to DSU to conduct research in our archives. This year’s lecture presents a great opportunity to learn from Dr. Berry and honor Dr. Cranford, one of Delta State’s most distinguished faculty members.”

Previous lecturers include: 1998, John Marzalek; 1999, John Ray Skates; 2000, James Cobb; 2001, Martha Swain; 2002, Lawrence Nelson; 2003, Nan Woodruff; 2004, David Sansing; 2005, Charles Reagan Wilson; 2006, James Hollandsworth; 2007, Elbert Hilliard; 2008, Larry Griffin; 2009, William LaForge; 2010, Chris Myers Asch; 2011, Charles Eagles; 2012, George Rable; 2013, Jeannie Whayne; 2014, Tim Huebner; 2015, Alecia Long; 2016, Aram Goudsouzian; 2017, Calvin White, Jr.

Following the lecture, a reception will be held in the Jobe Hall lobby.

For more information on the Sammy O. Cranford Memorial History Lecture, contact Westmoreland at cwestmoreland@deltastate.edu.

Chinese Heritage Museum organizes drive for local animal shelters

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Ushering in the new year, the Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum, housed at Charles W. Capps, Jr. Archives at Delta State, opened the “Year of the Dog” on Feb. 18 by honoring the Chinese men and women who made the Delta their homes.

In memory of the commitment to community engagement they instilled in their children, museum members collected and donated food, supplies and toys to the Cleveland Animal Shelter and Paw Prints Rescue.

“Each new year brings a renewed commitment to our community and region,” MDCHM Board President Gilroy Chow said. “This was our first opportunity to give back to the community that has supported us for so long, and we were pleased to do so.”

Thanks to the generosity of MDCHM’s membership, more than $500 in food, supplies and toys were made available to the local organizations.

Against the backdrop of a rapidly disappearing society and culture, the MDCHM 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. The resources developed from ongoing preservation projects will encourage an environment of understanding and appreciation of ethnic and cultural diversity.

The museum opened in October of 2012 and is free and open to the public.

A complete index of materials currently held in the collection is forthcoming. Researchers are encouraged to contact the University Archives staff for appointments to view collections.

Those interested in contributing to the collection by donating family materials or by financially supporting the mission of the museum are asked to contact Emily Jones, university archivist, at  ejones@deltastate.edu or by calling 662-846-4781.

Mississippi Moments to highlight Wyatt on radio Oct. 23-27

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Mississippi Moments, a program featured on Mississippi Public Broadcasting, is highlighting the tenure of Delta State University President Emeritus Dr. Kent Wyatt daily from Oct. 23-27 on MPB stations across the state.

In today’s discussion Wyatt will discuss highlights of his Delta State presidency between 1975-1999. He will also reflect on how the school has grown since he first moved to Cleveland in 1945.

To hear the interview, visit http://mississippimoments.libsyn.com.

Hosted by Bill Ellison, Mississippi Moments is produced by the Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage at the University of Southern Mississippi and supported by the Mississippi Humanities Council.

“We are excited that Bill Ellison and Mississippi Moments have chosen to feature Dr. Kent Wyatt on this week’s program,” said Emily Jones, Delta State archivist. “Dr. Wyatt’s story is so special to Cleveland, Delta State and the Mississippi Delta, and Mississippi Moments will feature four shorts from his oral history recorded here at DSU.”

Mississippi Moments will share Wyatt’s journey to Cleveland as the son of Forest Wyatt, who became Delta State’s football coach in 1945, his eventual enrollment at Delta State, to Wyatt becoming the university’s longest serving President from 1975-1999.

“Rarely does a person experience such a profound opportunity to serve a city, institution and region in the way Dr. Wyatt was able to here at Delta State,” Jones added. “Mississippi Moments will offer a small glimpse into the life of a man who means so much to us all.”

To learn more about Mississippi Moments, visit MississippiMoments.org.

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.

Photos Scanning Days hosted for Lebanese exhibit

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On April 3-4, the University Archives will host Photo Scanning Days as part of programming for the Lebanese in America exhibit.

Over the two-day period, guests are encouraged to bring in photographs related to Lebanese culture and heritage in the Mississippi Delta. Scanning will begin on April 3 at 1 p.m. and will continue until 6 p.m. On April 4, scanning will begin at 9 a.m. and will conclude at 3 p.m. The scanning stations are set up in Jobe Hall, inside the auditorium’s side stage area.

While guests visit with digitization specialists, they can also share stories with oral history interviewers set up for the days.

The images and information will become a part of the MS Digital Library, and a copy will be housed within the University Archives & Museum. Individuals may donate their original images to the University Archives & Museum or may take their originals back home after they’ve been scanned.

Guests are also invited to tour the exhibit.

“Hosting the traveling exhibit has provided us the opportunity to reach out to this particular group in our community, and I am thankful for that,” said Emily Jones, university archivist.

Keith Fulcher, executive director of Alumni-Foundation, has been a driving force in making the traveling exhibit and supporting programming a reality.

“People sometimes ask me why we put so much energy and time into collecting a particular piece of our history, and I have to be honest, I am able to dedicate more time to specific projects when there is someone within that community willing to commit their time to helping me collect on their behalf,” said Fulcher.

“Collecting our shared Delta history is a shared responsibility,” added Jones. “With support from groups like the Quality Enhancement Plan, the university’s Diversity Committee and the university’s Special Programs Committee, we are able to shine a spotlight on different areas of our history for a time. Collaborative work such as the traveling exhibit and supporting programming is a key element in encouraging community support and collecting a well-rounded representation of our collective history.”

In order to serve as many individuals as possible during the photo scanning, participants are asked to select 10- 15 images to be scanned. Additional images can be left in the care of the University Archives to continue digitizing and will be returned to each owner once all images have been scanned.

For more information, contact Jones at ejones@deltastate.edu.