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Capps Archives & Museum Archives - News and Events

Everything old is new again…

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Everything old is new again…
By Emily Jones, university archivist

The new year brings hopes of fulfilling resolutions, mercifully forgiving yourself for having broken every one of them within the first 48 hours, and a reality check that a year has positively flown by! Each one of us has the same number of hours in a day — how we use them is completely up to us. If I could have a few minutes of your time, I hope to encourage you to embrace the moments this year by reflecting a bit on some things that have been given to the archives over the past year and what we have learned from them. We call them donations in this world, except they don’t have anything to do with money but everything to do with connecting our past to our present, often in deeply meaningful ways.

Let’s stop procrastinating and address the clutter of things around us that may be hexing our feng shui. Can’t you just think clearer when drawers are neatly organized and everything is in its place? The Archives thrives when history walks through the door, finds its place among the shelves and connects with a researcher or ties a story together for a student. The orderliness of it is an absolute thrill. The Archives benefited from several organizations and individuals becoming tidier over the past year:

  • 010/M102 – Jack Gunn collection accretion; manuscript materials related to the Hold, Brown & Wafford families.
  • 011/M37 – Pete Walker photograph collection accretion; photographs, proof sheets and negatives taken by Pete Walker; subjects include schools, roads, agriculture, river scenes, rural life, etc. with dates of subject material extending from circa 1970’s – 1990’s. Detailed information on each image is not always available; some identifying information is on most images.
  • 019/M382 – Fong Pang collection; two Webb High School Wildcats football letterman’s jackets
    Drew High School jackets donated to the museum by brothers Fun and Fon Pang.

    Drew High School jackets donated to the museum by brothers Fun and Fon Pang.

  • 021/M385 – Wilson-Fisher collection; approximately 36 reels of 8mm film (home movies) taken by Joe Wilson; rare footage of Delta State, Cleveland and Lake Bolivar as well as family vacations and holiday celebrations; each canister is labeled but does not always mean that that is the only footage on that film; the dates range from 1960’s – 1970’s.
  • 022/M386 – Adelson-Strong collection; memorabilia related to Maurice Benard Adelson given by his daughter, Linda Strong; one certificate of promotion to Merigold, MS high school, 27 May 1921; one Merigold Consolidated High School diploma, 4 June 1925; one pair of track shoes worn while in high school; one photograph of Pauline Fink Adelson at the train depot in Merigold, MS.
  • 025/M389 – Richard Wong collection; one tapestry of General Chiang Kai-shek; on permanent display in the MS Delta Chinese Heritage Museum.
  • 028/M391 – Fun Pang collection; one Order of the Arrow sash and one badge sash given to Fun Pang who is considered the first Chinese American in Mississippi to have received this special award through the Boy Scouts; two Eagle badges, one earned while at Camp Tallaha (June – July 1948); set of Boy Scout badges; one Webb School Letterman’s jacket; one black and white photograph of the Webb High School football team, 1945 Delta A Champions.
  • 037/M158 – Cleveland Woman’s Club accretion; 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14 Cleveland Woman’s Club scrapbooks
  • 038/M393 – Dunn Family collection; manuscript and artifact memorabilia related to the J.W. Dunn family grocery store which had been in Pace, MS before the family moved to Memphis, TN. Some items do relate to the family’s activities and store business conducted in Memphis. Other items in this collection also include a small portion of objects that had belonged to the previous owner of the grocery store, Mr. K.C. Lou.
  • 039/M394 – Tonymon collection; this collection consists of much of the supplies and materials needed to run a fully operational pharmacy; Oscar Tonymon was a pharmacist as a profession; from his obituary: Funeral services for Oscar Tonymon, 82, of Dallas, TX will be at 12:00 p.m., Saturday, June 28, 2014 at Boone Funeral Home, Greenville. He died Monday, June 23, 2014 at Charlton Methodist in Dallas, TX. Burial will be in Greenville Chinese Cemetery under the direction of Boone Funeral Home, Greenville. Mr. Tonymon was born on August 3, 1931 in Marvell, AR, one of six siblings and the youngest son of the late Robert and Helen Tonymon. He graduated from Marvell High School and then the University of Arkansas School of Pharmacy in 1958, graduating Magna Cum Laude. For many years he owned and operated Tonymon’s Fairfield Pharmacy in Shreveport, LA. In a career move, Oscar became a pharmacist with the Department of Veteran Affairs and moved to Dallas, TX where he was lead pharmacist in the Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacy. Oscar married Marolyn Pang in 1959 and they were married almost 50 years before she preceded in him death in 2008. He will be buried next to her in Greenville. He is survived by a brother, Daniel Tonymon and sister, Frances Pang. A host of nieces and nephews, Jimmy, Raymond, David and Emerald Jean Dunn of Memphis; Darlene Ming Jang, Hawkins Ming, Dorothy Ming Wood, and Betty Ming Lacasellal of CA and Hawaii; Kenneth and Phyllis Tonymon of AR and TX; Rocky and Rusty Pang of TN and AR; Toni Dame of PA, and Curtis and Steve Fong of OR.
  • 041/M85 – Clark Family collection; campaign buttons, coin and name badges from Dr. Charles Clark’s years of professional career.

Through the power of Facebook, we no longer have to commit important dates to memory. However, what happens when an anniversary of an event that isn’t listed on Facebook or any calendar rolls around and we forget it until the day is half gone? How awful do we feel about letting something that was so important almost slip by? Share the responsibility of remembering important dates by making a donation to the Archives. Gifts made to the Archives this past year that will help us all remember important dates (because they’ll have finding aids on the web site and be on permanent display):

  • 026/M390 – Bramuchi collection; one American flag flown over the United States Capitol on 9 June 2010 at the request of the Honorable Bennie G. Thompson to commemorate Joe and Margie Bramuchi’s 60th wedding anniversary on 20 August 2010; on permanent display in the Veteran’s Atrium in Jobe Hall.
  • 029/M392 – George R. Frisbee collection; one scale model of “The Three Soldiers” commemorating the Vietnam War; on permanent display in the Veteran’s Atrium, Jobe Hall.
  • Gwen Gong signs her WWII book.

    Gwen Gong signs her WWII book.

    047/M398 – Gong-Powers WWII MS Chinese Veterans collection; this collection is in digital format; consisting of a final manuscript as well as the digital files of all of the images included in the final book; this gift has been published and is now available for purchase through the University Archives and other retailers. Contact the University Archives for your copy (archives@deltastate.edu).

Perhaps the new year ignites the desire to be more community oriented, volunteer time and expertise, or perhaps develop a deeper appreciation for the arts, culture, music, etc. The Archives is made richer in cultural resources by the donations we receive. Sometimes we have to create the purpose for farming out the information from our community. One of our favorite ways to encourage history sharing is through oral history projects. One oral history project was made possible through an extremely generous gift from the American Legion Post #1776, and another project was the result of one young man’s desire to document a piece of Cleveland history because he saw it disappearing. Is there a way you can use your talents to give back to your community? Is there a piece of history inspiring you to dig deeper and learn more? May I encourage you to act on your talents and inspirations? You might never know how you could improve the world around you through them.

  • 001 – 2015.009: Veteran Oral History Project sponsored by the American Legion Post #1776. The oral histories have been collected and deposited in the oral history collections within the DSU Archives.
    1. Joe Bramuchi (OH442)
    2. Cecil Barnett (OH 443)
    3. Nancy Gerard (OH 444)
    4. DiTieshay White (OH 445)
    5. Al Cummins (OH 446)
    6. Davlon Miller (OH 447)
    7. James Bowen, Jr. (OH 448)
    8. James Breland (OH 449)
    9. Kent Wyatt (OH 450)
  • 050 – 2015.053/ Oral Histories of the Cleveland Airport conducted by Eagle Scout candidate Marshall Jones:
    1. Nevin Sledge (OH 455)
    2. Ray Meeks (OH 456)
    3. Andy Jones (OH 457)
    4. Kell Lyons (OH 458)

Perhaps one of the most significant collections received by the Archives this year was that of Professor Emeritus Dorothy Shawhan. Someone who gave daily for dozens of years to students, colleagues, neighbors and her family, Shawhan’s collection is an enduring statement of her volunteerism, strong faith in the goodness of her community, and well-deserved pride in her family, along with a healthy admiration of Elvis.

  • 044/M396 – Dorothy Sample-Shawhan collection; established to honor and remember long-time professor of English at Delta State University, this collection consists primarily of Ms. Shawhan’s personal library, manuscript and photograph materials related to her friends and family, scrapbooks, news clippings on topics of interest to Ms. Shawhan, unpublished manuscript pieces as well as portions of manuscripts which eventually were published, U.S. presidential campaign buttons, memorabilia related to her time as a student and as an alumni of MS University for Women; 2,000 copies of her book, Lizzie.

De-clutter, donate, volunteer, organize, remember and just get going on those resolutions to make a difference, offer a helping hand, wrest yourself from the weight of worry over what to do with great-grandmother’s portrait. Dig deeper into the culture and history that is the Mississippi Delta because though our treasures be old, they are new to every eye that sees, ear that hears, and heart that beats a little bit faster because of them.

campus buildings-10

Bits and Bytes in Bolivar: Discovering Your Local History Resources

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Join Delta State University at the Charles W. Capps, Jr. Archives and Museum on Sept. 14 at noon for “Bits and Bytes in Bolivar: Discovering Your Local History Resources,” a presentation designed to help researchers of local history and genealogy locate physical and digital documents related to Bolivar County.

The event, free and open to the public, is in conjunction with the Bolivar County Historical Society’s monthly meeting.

The 45-minute presentation will feature Krista Sorenson and Catherine Bell, archivists with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and the Bolivar County Historical Society. Areas of focus will include county records, maps and images.

“As archivists, we work really hard to collect and organize historical information,” said Jones. “The flip side of that work is that we want people to be able to use it and find it helpful. The Internet has opened the door wide to allow us to push mounds of primary source information out to a waiting public, however, for a user, that can feel like trying to drink from a fire hydrant. Krista Sorenson and Catherine Bell are coming our way to help us all become more familiar with what history is out there on our county, how to find it, access it and use it in our daily research quests.”

Jones said that when it was decided to bring the Bolivar County Historical Society back online several years ago, one of the group’s main concerns was how information was being shared about the Delta, and how accurate that information was. She urged that users have to be very aware of their information sources and their credibility.

The event will direct users to credible sources with a wealth of information on Bolivar County’s history.

“I hope that those who attend next Monday’s BCHS sponsored program discover answers to questions they’ve always wanted to know,” added Jones. “Perhaps they’ll be inspired to share local history they already know through blogging or making a donation to a repository of their choice. Most of all, we want to demonstrate how historical information is becoming more and more accessible.”

Visit the university’s Archives and Museum to learn about historical records, digital images and genealogical resources available in Bolivar County, online and from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Explore the archives’ website at http://www.deltastate.edu/academics/libraries/university-archives-museum. For more information, contact Jones at 662-846-4781 or ejones@deltastate.edu.

Delta State University, the City of Cleveland and the MS Delta Chinese Heritage Museum will present H.T. Chen Dance Company's performance of "South of Gold Mountain." Photo credit: Joe Boniello

Chen Dance Company to perform at Delta State

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Delta State University, the City of Cleveland and the Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum (MDCHM) announce H.T. Chen Dance Company’s performance of South of Gold Mountain.

Chen Dance Center (CDC), the nation’s largest Asian-American dance institution, announced that H.T. Chen and Dancers’ U.S. tour will kick off Chinese New Year on Saturday, Feb. 21 with a dance-theater event at 2 p.m. in Jobe Auditorium on Delta State’s campus. Open dress rehearsal will be held Feb. 20 at 7 p.m.

In celebration of Chinese New Year, the H.T. Chen Dance Company will be in residency at Delta State from Feb. 16-22. Throughout the week, movement workshops led by Chen Dance Company’s Associate Director Dian Dong and company dancers will include the traditional Chinese Ribbon Dance, contemporary dance and fitness demonstrations.

Delta State Archivist Emily Jones has worked closely on this opportunity and is looking forward to its arrival.

“I have seen our Delta history written about and photographed and even been the muse of songwriters for decades. I am excited to see our history put to dance!,” said Jones.

MDCHM Board President Raymond Wong said, “It’s our great pleasure to welcome H.T. Chen and Dancers to Cleveland. We were honored to be included in their research of Chinese immigrants lured to America by the promise of gold and a better life. The blending of Chinese music with Deep South Blues is amazing, and we’re thrilled to present this Lunar New Year gift to you.”

A meet-the-artist reception and audience Q&A will be held post-performance Saturday, Feb. 21. It will be moderated by Frieda Quon, associate professor emeritus at Delta State, Gilroy Chow, MDCHM board member and President Wong. Lunar New Year refreshments will be provided through support from the Chinese American Citizens Alliance’s Mississippi Lodge.

For reserved tickets, contact Emily Jones at archives@deltastate.edu or call 662.846.4781. Because of generous grants and donor support, this performance is provided to the public free of charge. However, a donation can be made to support future programming and the growing museum located within the Charles W. Capps, Jr. Archives & Museum building.

“We’re happy to accept donations from these wonderful performances to support the history and heritage of the MS Delta Chinese,” said Wong.

H.T. Chen and Dancers performs innovative pieces blending contemporary dance with traditional Asian aesthetics. For more information, visit www.chendancecenter.org/

The Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum promotes local heritage preservation by actively collecting for future generations the oral histories, memorabilia, photographs and textiles related to the history and accounts of the Mississippi Delta Chinese immigration and settlement. The collection is located at Capps Archive & Museum building and is free and open to the public.

This project was made possible by a grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council, through support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the Mississippi Humanities Council.

Civil rights photographs by Jim Lucas go on exhibit Feb. 9 at Delta State University’s Charles W. Capps, Jr. Archives & Museum.

Civil rights photos to exhibit at archives

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Following the debut at Tougaloo College, the photographs of the late Jim Lucas of Jackson, Miss. will be exhibited at Delta State University’s Charles W. Capps, Jr. Archives & Museum building.

The exhibit opens Feb. 9 and will run through March 31, coinciding with Delta State University’s Winning the Race conference.

On Feb. 16, Dr. Robert C. Luckett will deliver his lecture “The Mississippi Plan and the Rise of Jim Crow” during the noon hour in the Lucy Somerville Howorth Seminar Room.

The exhibition’s curator, Jane Hearn, will deliver a gallery talk on March 30 at 1 p.m. as a part of the pre-conference offerings for the WTR conference. These events are free and the public is encouraged to attend.

Through a generous grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council and funding provided by the conference committee, the exhibit is free and open to the public Monday–Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Lucas, a student during the early 1960s, progressed from carrier boy to photographer and lab man for the local newspaper. In 1959, at the age of 14, his first photo was published in the Jackson Daily News.

His craft with the camera led him to take photographs during his years at Murrah High School and Millsaps College, where with photojournalistic style he was as much school documentarian as he was student.

In 1964 Lucas was a student at Millsaps when the nation was focused on Mississippi and the search for Schwerner, Goodman and Chaney, civil rights workers missing in Neshoba County.

During those turbulent times these events drew national press to Jackson and Lucas had the opportunity to meet and assist film cameramen from CBS News. Using his still camera he tried never to miss a visual story of his own, and soon became a “stringer” for UPI and Time and Life magazines.

In 1968, Lucas was drafted and spent his basic training in the Army at Fort Campbell, Ky., followed by special training in the Army Signal Corps at Fort Monmouth, N.J. During his deployment in Vietnam he shot non-combat footage for the Army, gaining experience and commitment for his future career as a film cameraman.

In 1969 he was distinguished by the Department of Defense as the Military Newsfilm Motion Picture Photographer of the Year.

Upon his return to Jackson in 1973, he pursued a variety of freelance film jobs including commercial advertising, football filming and freelance newsreel work for UPI and NBC. A highlight of his career was shooting several stories for “60 Minutes.” His first job on a feature film was Robert Altman’s “Thieves Like Us” as an electrician, and his goal became to work on feature films as a director of photography.

The next years of his career included television and feature film work, almost always outside of Mississippi, including films such as “Honeysuckle Rose,”  “The Long Riders,” “Brubaker” and  “The Border.”

Lucas became known for the excellence of his technical ability and advanced to camera operator and second unit director of photography. While on location with the film “Barbarosa,” he was in a fatal automobile accident and died Oct. 19, 1980.

The Lucas Collection includes an extensive number of negatives, prints, personal narratives and a cache of memorabilia. The exhibit at Tougaloo is a sample of images Lucas made during the civil rights movement including events such as the James Meredith March for Freedom in 1966, the Wharlest Jackson funeral in Natchez in 1967, and the Senate Hearings to Evaluate Poverty in Jackson in 1967 with the subsequent trip by Senator Robert Kennedy to the Mississippi Delta.

The exhibit was created and curated by Hearn, who was married to Lucas at the time of his death. Red Morgan, photojournalist and commercial still photographer, provided additional direction. Their ongoing collaboration aims to archive Lucas’ extensive collection, and pay tribute to a passionate and skillful young photographer who grasped the significance of the events around him and conveyed his point of view in sensitive visual language.

This project was made possible by a grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council, through support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the Mississippi Humanities Council.

To schedule a tour of the exhibit, contact the University Archivist, Emily Jones at 662-8464780 or e-mail ejones@deltastate.edu.

 

 

Delta Chinese: Reflections & Reunion takes place Friday and Saturday at Delta State University and the city of Cleveland’s Martin & Sue King Railroad Heritage Museum.

Delta Chinese: Reflections & Reunion — Oct. 24-25

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Before big railroad companies forged the length of the interior of the Mississippi Delta, a group of sojourners found themselves in the midst of this alluvial plain, enticed by the stories and promises of “Gold Mountain.”

By 1870, approximately 400 Chinese laborers landed in New Orleans with a small core of that number finding their way to the upper Mississippi Delta to work in agriculture. Life was not easy for these first immigrants, but they worked hard and found that they could and would make the Delta “home.”

Learn more about the legacy of Chinese immigration in the Delta by attending Delta Chinese: Reflections & Reunion at Delta State University and the city of Cleveland’s Martin & Sue King Railroad Heritage Museum this Friday and Saturday.

A series of lectures and events will be held at the Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum at the Charles W. Capps, Jr. Archives and Museum on campus and the train museum. Scheduled speakers include Susie Jeu Tonymon, Ted Gong, Martin Gold, Gwen Gong, Adrienne Berard and John Jung.

Topics of interest will include a family’s journey from southern China to southern Arkansas, the 1882 Chinese exclusion laws, Mississippi Chinese WWII veterans, the Gong Lum vs. Rice civil rights case and an author’s perspective of the Mississippi Delta Chinese.

“This reunion is a celebration of Chinese Americans who have their roots in the Mississippi Delta,” said Raymond Wong, president of the Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum board. “Unlike Chinese Americans from (other) parts of the United States, the Chinese from Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas share a unique bond because of their Southern heritage and upbringing.

“There is a connectivity and camaraderie even if you have left the South. Everyone is invited to come join in the fun and reunion.”

Friday’s first lecture will begin at 9:30 a.m. in Jobe Hall and will feature the personal stories of Tonymon, whose family made the journey from Southern China to Southern Arkansas. Tonymon will present her memories “as a child growing up between the devastating Mississippi River flood of 1927 and the depression years of the 1930s, and how we endured the tragedies of both World War II and the Korean War — as we experienced life in the segregated South.”

The second session, beginning at 10:45 a.m., will feature Gold, author of “Forbidden Citizens: Chinese Exclusion and the U.S. Congress: A Legislative History,” and Gong, founder and executive director of the 1882 Project Foundation, who will speak about the legacy of America’s Chinese exclusion laws.

The final lecture session Friday will begin at 1:45 p.m. and feature stories from Delta native, Gwen Gong. Gong is the author of six books and has been the founding and chief editor of the Asian Journal of English Language Teaching, an international journal, for the past 20 years.

Friday’s lecture series will culminate with a ribbon cutting for two new wings of the Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum, located on the third floor of the Capps Archives. The museum features a full size replica of a Chinese grocery and offers a unique view into the history and daily lives of the Delta’s Chinese residents.

The new additions to the museum will showcase the vital role that the Delta Chinese played in shaping Mississippi’s educational landscape and the heroic efforts of Delta Chinese veterans. A reception will be held at the Martin & Sue King Railroad Heritage Museum following the ribbon cutting.

Saturday’s lectures will begin at 10 a.m. at the H.L. Nowell Student Union and feature Jung, author of four books on the Chinese American experience, including a memoir titled “Southern Fried Rice: Life in A Chinese Laundry in the Deep South.” Journalist Adrienne Berard, who is the scholar in residence at Delta State will also be featured. Berard’s current book project on Rosedale’s Gong Lum v. Rice case was awarded the J. Anthony Lukas Work-In-Progress Award by Harvard University.

Both of Saturday’s lectures are free and open to the public. The museum, including its two new additions, will be open to the public from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday.

To learn more about this event and to register, visit www.deltastate.edu/chineseheritage.

*Special appreciation to Dr. and Mrs. Tony Chan for their financial contribution, which has initiated the Chinese Reunion. This program is financially assisted by the Mississippi Legislature through the Mississippi Department of Archives & History and by the Mississippi Humanities Council. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of the Mississippi Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mississippi Department of Archives & History or the University of Southern Mississippi.