History Is Lunch: Deanne Stephens, “A History of the Mississippi Seafood Industry”

Two Mississippi Museums | 222 North Street, Jackson, Mississippi, 39201

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Join the Mississippi Department of Archives & History on site at the Two Mississippi Museums at noon on Wednesday, June 30, for #HistoryIsLunch, or watch the livestream on Facebook, when Deanne Love Stephens will present “A History of the Mississippi Seafood Industry.”
Generations of immigrants and other workers have been drawn to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and its seafood industry. In her new University Press of Mississippi book, Stephens identifies key populations and tells the stories of those who have worked the harvest.
“Oyster and shrimp processing were the most significant of these trades, and much of the Gulf Coast’s history follows these two delicacies,” said Stephens. “Harvesting, processing, and marketing oyster and shrimp products built the Mississippi seafood industry and powered the growth of the entire coastal region.”
Using contemporary newspapers, oral histories, and interviews, Stephens creates a picture of the industry and its workers who daily toiled in factories and often went unheard and unrecognized.
“In The Mississippi Gulf Coast Seafood Industry, Deanne Love Stephens has filled an important gap in the economic, industrial, and cultural history of Mississippi and the Gulf Coast,” writes University of Central Florida associate professor Connie L. Lester. “Meticulously researched and beautifully written, Stephens carefully collected the oral histories that made this book possible and wove them into a narrative of the diverse group of migrants and immigrants who built the seafood industry and changed the culture of the area and, in the process, adds significantly to the historiography.”
Deanne Love Stephens is a professor of history and faculty member with the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for the Study of the Gulf South. She is the author of The Mississippi Gulf Coast Seafood Industry: A People’s History and Plague among the Magnolias: The 1878 Yellow Fever Epidemic in Mississippi. Stephens earned her BS, MS, and PhD from the University of Southern Mississippi.
History Is Lunch is sponsored by the John and Lucy Shackelford Charitable Fund of the Community Foundation for Mississippi. The weekly lecture series of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History explores different aspects of the state’s past. The hour-long programs are held in the Craig H. Neilsen Auditorium of the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum building at 222 North Street in Jackson. Book sales and signing to follow.
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