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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

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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.

Matsy Wynn Richards tabbed for Howorth Woman of Achievement Award

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The public is invited to attend the 2017 Lucy Somerville Howorth Woman of Achievement Award on April 2 at 2 p.m. at the Charles W. Capps Jr. Archives and Museum Building at Delta State.

The Awards Committee recently announced this year’s recipient as the late Martha “Matsy” Wynn Richards.

Richards was born Martha Kinman Wynn in 1888 in Friars Point, Mississippi. She moved to Greenville with her parents at a young age, where she lived until attending school in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1918, she read an article in the Christian Science Monitor that steered her to pursue a career in photography.

“Matsy was a successful woman in a time where women were unlikely to be,” said Daniel Shemwell, recipient of the 2016-17 Lucy Somerville Howorth Fellowship. “Matsy broke free of perpetuated norms in the south in 1918 when she went in search of an education in photography. Forging a career out of something she was both deeply passionate about and skilled at, her work became so successful, she attracted attention from giants like Vogue Magazine and Fox Studios. She lived life to the fullest. Matsy was an inspiration to many in the field of photography and is still talked about and studied today.”

Following the award ceremony, a new exhibit featuring Richards’s life work and accomplishments will open in the main gallery.

“Since beginning my work with Matsy when I received the fellowship in the fall of 2016, I have had the unique opportunity of working with some of her living relatives who knew her,” added Shemwell. “Her family offered me a real life connection to the woman whose works are in boxes in the archives. This project has focused my historical interest and I hope others will enjoy seeing her life’s work as I have.”

Emily Jones, university archivist, said she is looking forward to honoring another worthy recipient.

“Women of the Delta have made significant contributions to not only the social and cultural landscape of the region, but have been in the unique position to serve as ambassadors of the Delta to the rest of the world,” said Jones. “I am proud that Judge Lucy chose this awards program to bear her name and support as a lasting legacy.”

Previous recipients of the award include:
• Emma Knowlton Humphreys Lytle-2000
• Keith Dockery McLean- 2003
• Mae Bertha Carter- 2005
• Franke Keating- 2007
• LePoint Cassibry Smith- 2009
• Fannie Lou Hamer- 2012
• Dorothy Shawhan- 2015

For more information, contact archives@deltastate.edu.