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Archives welcomes accomplished writer

Journalist and author Adrienne Berard joins the Capps Archives & Museum as a writer in residence this fall.

Adrienne Berard, writer in residence for Delta State’s Capps Archives & Museum, will present a lecture to the Bolivar County Historical Society at noon August 11 in the Archives’ seminar room. The public is invited to attend this free event.

Berard is an award-winning journalist based in New York City who will spend the fall at Delta State. Her book “Love and War” was voted one of Amazon’s Best Books of the Year for 2014.

She is a graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and Smith College. Her current book project, “When Yellow Was Black: The untold story of the first fight for desegregation in Southern schools,” will be published by Beacon Press in 2015.

Berard is the Archives & Museum’s first writer in residence, where she will focus her efforts on the Mississippi Delta Chinese, and particularly the Gong Lum v. Rice case.

The case is considered the first desegregation case in Mississippi. From the courts in Rosedale, to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1927, the question of access to public education was debated back and forth to allow Martha Lum to continue her education.

“I am incredibly grateful for the chance to explore a forgotten yet vital part of the Delta’s history here at Delta State,” said Berard. “By offering lectures to the public, I hope to shed light on what is normally a very insulated process — the act of writing a book.

“In the coming months, I plan to explore the legacy of Gong Lum while engaging the community in discussions about what it means to be a chronicler of history.”

Berard will be teaching a course this fall, JOU/COM 492, specifically about the Lum case. Students are still able to sign up for the class. poster for jou 492[7]

Delta State Archives has been awarded a Mississippi Humanities grant to support the lecture series and oral history work that Berard will take on this semester.

“The Mississippi Humanities Council offers us the opportunity to examine our mission, prepare a scope of work and then financially support our programs and activities,” said Emily Jones, university archivist. “I am excited to have their support with our first writer in residence and to continue the tradition of collecting oral histories through the Archives.”

Berard will present the following discussions as scheduled:

* Sept. 11 — tales and discoveries from an accidental historian
* Oct. 25 — co-present with Dr. John Jung: field stories, from spoken to written words
* Nov. 13 —making stories from scraps of history: how to use archives for narrative
* Dec. 4 — a reading from Berard’s new book

This program is financially assisted by the Mississippi Legislature through the Mississippi Department of Archives & History and by the Mississippi Humanities Council. Also supporting the program is the Kings Daughter’s & Sons Circle #2 in Greenville.

The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of the MHC, National Endowment for the Humanities, the MDAH or the University of Southern Mississippi.

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