History Is Lunch: LaShunda Calvert and Flonzie Brown Wright, “The Life of Sister Thea Bowman”

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, November 9, for History Is Lunch (or watch the livestream) when LaShunda Calvert and Flonzie Brown Wright will screen a new documentary on the life of Sister Thea Bowman.
The film, titled Going Home Like a Shooting Star: Thea Bowman’s Journey to Sainthood, takes an in-depth look at the Black Catholic Franciscan Sister who challenged the church and society to grow in racial inclusivity. “Her skills of preaching, music, and teaching moved many Catholics to begin to confront their own racism while she urged her Black brothers and sisters to claim their gifts and personhood,” said Calvert. “Sister Thea worked tirelessly to proclaim this message until her untimely death from breast cancer in 1990.”
Thea Bowman was born on October 29, 1937, in Yazoo City to a physician and teacher. Raised Methodist, Bowman converted to Catholicism with her parents’ permission when she was just nine years old. While attending Holy Child Jesus School in Canton she met her classmate Flonzie Brown Wright. “Thea and I became lifelong friends,” Brown-Wright said. “After she joined the Franciscan sisterhood, I visited her expecting to see her in her habit. Instead, she was wearing a dashiki and sandals! But she was preparing one culture to understand another.”
The film features interviews and commentary from Bowman’s family, Sisters in community, colleagues, friends, and former students. “Archival photographs, film, and audio recordings show Sister Thea in action,” said Calvert. “And many scenes were filmed in Canton and Jackson.”
LaShunda Calvert is professor of history at Hinds Community College. She earned her BA and MA, both in history, from Jackson State University, and her PhD in urban and regional planning with distinctive honors from Jackson State University. A marriage and relationship columnist for the Jackson Advocate and Mississippi Link newspapers, Calvert is author of the book Boohurt. She is a member of the Mississippi Humanities Council Speaker’s Bureau
Flonzie Brown Wright became Madison County election commissioner in 1968, making her the first African American female elected official in Mississippi since Reconstruction. Brown Wright graduated from the Institute of Politics at Millsaps College and holds an honorary doctorate from Tougaloo College. She is the author of the book Looking Back to Move Ahead. Brown Wright produced two documentaries, Standing Tall in Tough Times and Before I’ll Be Your Slave and has been featured in the documentary Standing on My Sisters’ Shoulders.
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 and livestreamed on YouTube and Facebook.
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