Mississippi Moments Podcast

Mississippi Moments, a weekly radio program airing on Mississippi Public Broadcasting, is a partnership between the University of Southern Mississippi Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage, the Mississippi Humanities Council, and MPB.

The Podcasts

In 1964, Dr. John P. Quon was a student at Ole’ Miss when he proposed to his college sweetheart, Freida Seu. Both were from Chinese-American families living in the Delta. In this episode, Quon recalls the traditional engagement negotiations that followed.

Quon describes the logistics involved in planning a wedding with an expected attendance of 1,200 family and friends. He walks us through the day’s events including the wedding ceremony and reception, as well as the banquet and traditional tea ceremony.

 

Direct download: MSM_414.mp3
Category:Mississippi History -- posted at: 4:34 PM

King Evans was a teenager, living with his family on the Vickland Plantation in Nitta Yuma, Mississippi, during the Great Flood of 1927. In this episode, he recalls how the water continued to rise after the levee north of Greenville broke on the morning of April 21st. Evans also remembers the thousands of people displaced by the floodwaters and the desperate lengths they went to for shelter. 

Racial tensions flared as mistreatment of blacks was reported in other places, but according to Evans, whites and blacks worked together in Sharkey County to insure fair distribution of food.

Direct download: MSM_412.mp3
Category:Mississippi History -- posted at: 4:10 PM

In 1966 the faculty at the Mercy Hospital College of Nursing in Vicksburg recognized the need for a second nursing baccalaureate program in Mississippi.

This group of Catholic nuns, led by Dr. Elizabeth Harkins, was determined to establish a College of Nursing at USM. In this episode, retired instructor Jean Haspeslagh remembers Harkins as a force to be reckoned with.

Haspeslagh explains how Harkins designed the College of Nursing’s Graduate program to be unique and cutting edge.

After her retirement in 1980, Harkins continued to serve as Dean Emeritus until her death in 1997.  Haspeslagh recalls that Harkins signed her last grant for the Sister’s of Mercy the day before she passes away.

Construction began on the new USM College of Nursing building in July, 2014.

Direct download: MSM_411.mp3
Category:Mississippi History -- posted at: 10:07 PM

The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party was organized in 1964 as an alternative to the then-all-white Mississippi Democratic Party.

The MFDP, after holding a statewide election open to people of all colors, sent its delegates to the 1964 Democratic National Convention in an attempt to be recognized as the legitimate representatives of the State.

In this episode, Dr. Aaron Henry of Clarksdale remembers the long bus to Atlantic City, New Jersey and the crowded accommodations the delegates endured.

 After impassioned speeches by Fannie Lou Hamer and Dr. Martin Luther King, President Lynden Johnson offered to seat two of MFDP delegates with the Illinois delegation. Henry discusses they decision to decline that offer.

He also explains that even though they were not seated at the 1964 convention, their efforts lead to the reform of the Democratic Party.

Direct download: MSM_410.mp3
Category:civil rights -- posted at: 9:01 PM

In 1964, as SNCC coordinators trained volunteers for the Mississippi Freedom Summer project, three others, Chaney, Schwerner and Goodman traveled to Philadelphia, MS to investigate a church burning.

In this episode, Cleveland Sellers recounts how he and seven other coordinators went in search of those three when they went missing. Sellers describes the extraordinary lengths their group went to, to avoid being spotted as they searched for their friends.

After several days of searching through woods and empty buildings in the dead of night, Sellers’ group was forced to abandon their search.

The bodies of Chaney, Schwerner and Goodman were eventually found on August 4th, 1964.

Direct download: MSM_409.mp3
Category:civil rights -- posted at: 8:17 PM

After attending a Freedom School as a high school student in the summer of ’64, Charleana Cobb of Blue Mountain was inspired to become active in the civil rights movement. In this episode, she recalls promoting a speech being given at her church  by civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer. Cobb remembers the thrill of hearing Hamer speak that night and the shock of being told that the church had burned to the ground the next morning.

That December, college students from Oberlin, Ohio came to Blue Mountain to rebuild the church as a project called Carpenters for Christmas. Cobb recalls how members of the community reacted to the sacrifice these Oberlin College students made in giving up their Christmas holiday.

Direct download: MSM_408.mp3
Category:civil rights -- posted at: 7:39 PM

After attempting to register to vote, Fannie Lou Hamer was forced to leave the plantation where she had lived and worked for 18 years.  In the episode, she explains how she became active in voter registration and the challenges they faced.

Prior to passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Mississippi required voters to pass a literacy test and pay a poll tax in order to vote.  Hamer recalls how she passed the test and the first time she was able to vote.

Hamer went on to become a leader in the Civil Rights movement and her speech at the Democratic National Convention in 1964 touched the nation. She reflects on her time in the spotlight and the friends she made along the way.

Fannie Lou Hamer passed away on March 14th, 1977.

 

 

Direct download: MSM_407.mp3
Category:civil rights -- posted at: 7:28 PM

In 1962, Fannie Lou Hamer was a sharecropper’s wife, living on a plantation in Ruleville, Mississippi. In this episode, she recalls the first time she tried to register to vote.

After leaving Indianola, the bus carrying Hamer’s group was pulled over by state and local law enforcement. She describes how they were forced to return to Indianola to face an assortment of trumped up charges.

Later that same day when Hamer returned home, the owner of the plantation confronted her about attempting to register.  She describes how she was forced to leave her home of 18 years that very night for refusing to withdraw her registration.

The plantation owner's harsh treatment of Hamer led her to become an inspirational figure in the Civil Rights movement.

 

Direct download: MSM_406.mp3
Category:civil rights -- posted at: 8:26 PM

In 1964, Larry Rubin of Tacoma Park, Maryland came to Holly Springs to help black Mississippians register to vote. In this episode he explains how the state used literacy tests and intimidation to keep blacks from voting.

A key goal of Freedom Summer was to register enough Freedom Democratic Party voters to have their delegates seated at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. Rubin recalls the drudgery of knocking on doors and the thrill of watching the convention drama unfold on TV.

Rubin also reflects on the violence and intimidation that black Mississippians endured in order to secure the right to vote.

Direct download: MSM_405.mp3
Category:civil rights -- posted at: 8:15 PM

In July of 1964, Sandra Adickes came to Hattiesburg to teach in a “Freedom School” as part of a civil rights campaign known as Freedom Summer. The Freedom Schools were intended to help black children overcome the disparity of education in Mississippi’s segregated school system.

In this episode, Adickes remembers her arrival and a 4th of July party sponsored by civil rights activist, Vernon Dahmer. She also describes a typical day in the Freedom School and how on the last day of Freedom School, the students decided to try and integrate the Hattiesburg Public Library.

Direct download: MSM_404.mp3
Category:civil rights -- posted at: 7:25 PM