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Keywords: 'Possum Town' (this phrase)
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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


GE-50790-13

Mizzou (Columbia, MO 65211-3020)
Fraser Berkley Hudson (Project Director: January 2013 to March 2016)
Possum Town: Pictures of a Place in the American South

Planning of a traveling exhibition of 55 to 75 large-format photographs, a website, and related public and scholarly programming that examine the lives of blacks and whites in the rural, racially segregated community of Columbus, Mississippi.

This planning grant will aid in the development of the project "Possum Town: Pictures of a Place in the American South" which will feature a traveling exhibition of the work of O.N. Pruitt, a white man in a racially segregated community of Columbus, Mississippi, in the early and middle twentieth century. Unlike most photographers of his time, Pruitt recorded the local black community as well as the white, both inside and outside his studio, representing more fully everyday life in the South as well as the horrific sublime of the racially charged American South. Along with the exhibit will be related educational events, including three separate conferences at the University of Missouri, the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina, and the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library in Columbus, Mississippi, to be held throughout in 2016.

Project fields:
Interdisciplinary Studies, General

Program:
America's Historical and Cultural Organizations: Planning Grants

Division:
Public Programs

Totals:
$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2013 – 7/31/2015