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Key words: 'One Place, One Time:' (this phrase)
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Millsaps College (Jackson, MS 39210-0002)
Suzanne Marrs
BH-50502-12
One Place, One Time: Jackson, Mississippi, 1963

To support: Two one-week workshops for eighty school teachers focused on the year 1963 in Jackson, Mississippi, with the murder of civil rights leader Medgar Evers and its aftermath.

Two one-week workshops for eighty school teachers focused on the year 1963 in Jackson, Mississippi, with the murder of civil rights leader Medgar Evers and its aftermath. After midnight on June 12, 1963, civil rights leader Medgar Evers was shot in his driveway in Jackson, Mississippi, just hours after President Kennedy had pledged his support for sweeping civil rights legislation in a televised address to the nation. By working "both backwards and forwards" from this focal point, this new workshop helps teachers to "understand the complex intersections of race and power, cultural change and resistance, institutions and individuals and to make these intersections vivid for their students." This project is led by Millsaps faculty members Suzanne Marrs and Stephanie Rolph, a historian of the civil rights era in the South. Myrlie Evers-Williams, Evers's widow, gives a keynote address on Sunday evening. Monday begins with an introductory lecture by Rolph, after which Mississippi civil rights movement veteran Leslie McLemore (political science, Jackson State University) leads a tour of civil rights sites, including the Medgar Evers House. The tour concludes at the Margaret Walker Alexander Center, where director Robert Luckett (history, Jackson State University) examines archival holdings with participants. The next day, biographer Michael Vinson Williams (history and African-American studies, Mississippi State University) discusses Evers's life, and staff at the Department of Archives and History introduce their Evers Papers and holdings from the Sovereignty Commission, a de facto intelligence organization. Reverend Edwin King, himself spied upon by the Sovereignty Commission, discusses his response to the opening of these papers, and on Wednesday details the roles of Tougaloo College (where he was chaplain in 1963) and Millsaps College (from which he graduated) in the "Jackson Movement." Participants explore works by Eudora Welty (including a story in the voice of the then-unidentified assassin) and learn about Welty's civil rights involvement in touring the Welty House. On Thursday, former NEH councilmember Peggy Prenshaw discusses autobiographical writings by Myrlie Evers, Anne Moody, and Willie Morris, as well as other responses to the assassination (Margaret Walker Alexander's poems; Bob Dylan's song "Only a Pawn in Their Game"). The role of journalism "then and now" is taken up on Friday: Rolph leads participants in analyzing the press response to Evers's killing, and investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell discusses his 1993-1994 Jackson Clarion-Ledger articles looking back at the assassination, which spurred the reopening of the murder case against Byron de la Beckwith, convicted in 1994. Rolph then gives a concluding session on the legacy of 1963 Jackson, and participants share their research and curricular work from the week.

Project fields: American Studies
Program: Landmarks of American History
Division: Education Programs
Total amount awarded: $179,530
Grant period: 10/1/2012 – 12/31/2013

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