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GI-264508-19

University of Missouri System (Columbia, MO 65211-3020)
Fraser Berkley Hudson (Project Director: August 2018 to present)
Mr. Pruitt’s Possum Town: Trouble & Resilience in the American South

Implementation of a traveling exhibition, a website, curriculum materials, and related public programs exploring the day-to-day lives of blacks and whites in the rural community of Columbus, Mississippi.

Mr. Pruitt’s Possum Town: Trouble & Resilience in the American South is a traveling exhibition that reveals life in rural Mississippi based on photography of O.N. Pruitt. From 1915 to 1960, Pruitt, a white man in a racially segregated society, recorded community celebrations as well as troubling violence. A visual history of inequality, the images depict joys and sorrows of everyday folk—both black and white—in his hometown of Columbus, locally known as Possum Town. An exhibition of 75 large format photos includes interactive features of mobile app and website with oral histories, music and videos. It will travel to at least five locations, starting in Mississippi. Community events and educational curriculum will engage viewers to explore themes of small-town traditions; class, gender and race; spiritual life, and photography’s role, illuminating their relevance today not only for the American South but for the nation. A $400,000 implementation request covers partial exhibition costs.

Project fields:
African American History; American Studies; Journalism

Program:
Exhibitions: Implementation

Division:
Public Programs

Totals:
$150,000 (approved)
$150,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2019 – 5/31/2023