Mon, 16 November 2015
Fewell Thompson was born in Hattiesburg in 1891. In this episode, he recalls how, as a child, he frequented the home of his neighbor, Captain Hardy and his wife, Hattie Hardy, the town’s founder and namesake.
Thompson’s father had a horse and mule business in downtown Hattiesburg in the early 1900s. He discusses how his father would have the livestock shipped by train from Saint Louis and how people would come to town for supplies and spend the night camping in the "wagon lot" on Main Street.
During WWI the US Cavalry still rode horses into battle. Thompson remembers serving in the Army’s Veterinary Corps and the first time he tried to give a horse ether.
Hattiesburg’s role as a transportation hub earned it the nickname “The Hub City.” In a podcast extra Thompson recalls the many railroads that crisscrossed the town.
Mon, 2 November 2015
In 1962, James Meredith attempted to become the first African-American to enroll at Ole’ Miss. In this episode, Ken Fairly, then, a Hinds County Deputy, discusses being selected to be part of Governor Ross Barnett's security detail when the Governor traveled to Oxford.
Fairly describes how Barnett and his advisors conspired to stop Meredith from attending Ole’ Miss by arresting him en route to Oxford on trumped up charges. During the standoff between the Governor and the Kennedys, Fairly recalls having a front row seat to history.
PODCAST EXTRA: As protesters continued to pour into Oxford, Fairly remembers being ordered to quietly return to Hinds County, just hours before the riots broke out.
Tue, 27 October 2015
On the evening of October 11, 1973, Charles Hickman and Calvin Parker were fishing the Pascagoula River when they had a close encounter with a UFO. In this episode, Hickman describes being taken aboard an alien spacecraft!
After filing a report about their abduction they returned to their jobs at Ingles Shipyard. Hickman recalls not being prepared for the media circus that followed.
Hickman and Parker were questioned repeatedly by authorities and examined by the medical staff at Keesler Air Force. In a podcast extra, Hickman recounts the chain of events.
The lives of Charles Hickman and Calvin Parker were forever changed after that night in October of 1973. Hickman gave numerous interviews and wrote a book about his experience. Parker attended UFO conventions and started his own television production company in 1993 called UFO Investigations. Charles Hickman passed away at the age of 80 on September 9, 2011.
Mon, 5 October 2015
In 1965, George Hall of Hattiesburg was an Air Force reconnaissance pilot stationed in Thailand. In this episode, he recalls the day in September his plane was shot down over North Vietnam. Hall spent the next seven and a half years as a prisoner of war. He describes life at the infamous Hanoi Hilton and the torture he endured at the hands of his captors.
When he was finally released in 1973, it took time for Hall to readjust to life in Hattiesburg after so long a POW. He remembers being shocked by the price of a hamburger.
Unlike many Vietnam veterans, Hall returned home to a hero’s welcome. He discusses playing mental golf to pass the time and his discomfort with being called a “War Hero.”
Mon, 28 September 2015
In 1997, USM professor Andrew Wiest began teaching a class on Vietnam. In this episode, he recalls looking for ways to make history come alive for his students and the unexpected results of those efforts.
After meeting Vietnam veteran John Young, Wiest was inspired to write The Boys of ’67. He details the writing process and the book’s impact on the men of Charlie Company and their families.
In 2014, the National Geographic Channel premiered The Boys of ’67, a documentary based on the book. Wiest explains how the project came about and the challenges it presented.
The documentary received Emmy Award nominations in four categories. In a podcast extra, Wiest discusses the prospect of winning an Emmy and what it means for the men of Charlie Company.
Mon, 21 September 2015
After the fall of South Vietnam in 1975, the Communists seized private property and issued new currency. In this episode Thao "Kim" Pham of Ocean Springs recalls how her mother traded all of their old money for gold so her husband and of nine of their twelve children could escape from Vietnam and start a new life.
Pham recounts how they used the occasion of her grandmother’s funeral to slip out of the country and escape by boat to Indonesia. She describes the standing-room-only conditions on the boat and how her father bribed their way into an Indonesian refugee camp where she spent the next year and a half missing her mother and wondering what would become of them.
It was almost two years before Pham was able to get word to her mother that their family was alive and well. Now the owner of several successful businesses in Ocean Springs, Pham discusses the mutual respect and admiration she and her mother share in a PODCAST EXTRA clip.
Mon, 14 September 2015
For thousands of years Native Americans used fire to manage the forests of South Mississippi. In this episode Ecologist, Tate Thriffiley explains why this practice was good for the longleaf pines and the entire ecosystem.
By 1930, virtually all of the longleaf pines in Mississippi had been harvested. Thriffiley describes the mistakes made in replanting the DeSoto National Forest and explains why a host of State and Federal agencies have teamed up with conservation groups to promote the planting of longleaf pines in Mississippi.
PODCAST EXTRA: Keith Coursey is the Prescription Forester on the DeSoto National Forest. He recounts the history of the Forest Service and its evolving attitude towards fire.
PHOTO: South Carolina Dept of Natural Resources
Mon, 7 September 2015
CNN sent correspondent Kathleen Koch to Mobile, Alabama to ride out Hurricane Katrina. After the storm, when she was finally allowed to travel to her hometown, Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi, the level of devastation and suffering she witnessed was overwhelming.
In this episode, Koch describes feeling intensely conflicted between the detachment her job required and the desire to cast aside her role as a reporter and do anything possible to alleviate the suffering she encountered. She and crew decided to use their time off the air to search for the missing and help survivors.
After Hurricane Katrina, South Mississippi residents came together in a spirit of cooperation and self-reliance. Koch recalls a resourceful group of young people she met at their unauthorized shelter and a mad dash to Wal-Mart to bring them much needed supplies.
Mon, 31 August 2015
John Hairston was the Chief Operations Officer for Hancock Bank in Gulfport, when in Fall of 2005, Hurricane Katrina threatened the coast. In this episode, he remembers preparing for a hit, but predicting a miss.
When Hancock Bank's corporate headquarters was wiped out, all of the bank’s records and computers were destroyed. Hairston explains how they were able to transfer all of their operations to Chicago within four days. Hairston recalls handing out tens of millions of dollars to anyone with an IOU and giving a new meaning to the phrase "money laundering."
Mon, 24 August 2015
George Bass was the Long Beach Fire Chief when Hurricane Katrina struck the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 2005. In this episode, he remembers meeting with his men in the final hours before the storm and how he assured them that they would be okay. Bass describes how he and his fellow firemen hunkered down as the winds from Katrina threatened to bring the station down around them. He also explains how they fanned out looking for survivors even before the storm had passed
Afterwards, it was time for the cleanup to begin. Bass recalls feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of the task before them.