History Is Lunch: Preserving Overlooked Local History

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, February 8, for History Is Lunch (or watch the livestream) when Calvin Hawkins and Dottie Chapman Reed will present “Preserving Overlooked Local History.”
Hawkins and Reed grew up in north central Mississippi’s Yalobusha County. Each recently published books on uncollected aspects of the area’s history. Hawkins’s “Under the Dusty Sand” tells the story of Black Yalobusha residents from 1870 to 1970, while Reed’s volume focuses on Black women of Yalobusha County in the twentieth century.
“I remember being at Black History Month programs and wondering why no one talked about Yalobusha County folks,” said Hawkins. “But there was no place to find all that information, so I decided if I wanted to hear about local heroes like tax collector Tom Spearman or supervisor Henry Vann I’d have to do the work myself.”
Water Valley native Dottie Chapman Reed’s book began as a regular column in the North Mississippi Herald newspaper. “I realized after the death of a cousin just how important our home town and county were to many people,” Reed said. “But no one was collecting our history, recording information like the fact that Lillie May Caldwell Roberts was the first Black person to register to vote in Yalobusha County.” The publication of Reed’s book was not the end of her project, as faculty and students at the University of Mississippi have collaborated with Reed to produce oral history interviews with more Yalobusha County residents.
Copies of Under the Dusty Sand by Calvin Hawkins and Outstanding Black Women of Yalobusha County by Dottie Reed will be for sale at the program.
Water Valley native Calvin Hawkins earned his BS in education from Mississippi State University. He is coordinator of student services for the Coffeeville School District and senior pastor at United Missionary Baptist Church in Coffeeville. Hawkins is the founder of the Increase Your Knowledge Group, president of the board of trustees of the Blackmur Memorial Library in Water Valley, and a member of the Yalobusha County Historical Society, Mississippi Historical Society, and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc.
Atlanta resident Dottie Quaye Chapman Reed earned her BA in political science from the University of Mississippi, where she later served as the school’s first Black admissions counselor. After a career in the private sector with The Wall Street Journal and McGraw-Hill, Reed founded the consulting firm Chapman Reed Associates. In 2009 she was awarded the Dr. Jeanette Jennings Trailblazer Award for the vital role she played in the progress of black faculty, staff, alumni and students on the University of Mississippi campus.
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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