Religion in Mississippi History

Inaugural Fellow Chosen for Religion in Mississippi History Research Fellowship

Summer King, a graduate student at the University of Mississippi, has been selected as the inaugural fellow for the Religion in Mississippi History Research Fellowship. King will use archival holdings at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) to research the spread of Pentecostalism to interracial congregations during Jim Crow segregation.

“My research will shed light on Bishop Charles Harrison Mason and his work in starting an interracial Pentecostal movement in Mississippi during the earliest part of the twentieth century and the height of the Jim Crow legislation,” said Summer King.

Established by MDAH’s Religion Initiative and funded through Lilly Endowment Inc., the fellowship seeks to encourage research regarding the role of religion in Mississippi history.

“We are excited to announce Summer King as the inaugural Religion in Mississippi History Research Fellow," said director of MDAH Katie Blount. "King's examination of Bishop Charles Harrsion Mason's pivotal role in establishing The Church of God in Christ will provide unique insight into the long-standing influence of religion on Mississippi history.”

After receiving her bachelor’s degree in history from Tennessee Technological University, King completed her master’s in history at Mississippi State University where she is currently working toward her doctorate. She will use the $5,000 fellowship to cover travel, housing, and other expenses incurred while doing primary research.

In December 2022, Lilly Endowment awarded a $2.5 million grant through its Religion and Cultural Institutions Initiative to the Foundation for Mississippi History to help MDAH expand public understanding of religious history in Mississippi.

Archival holdings related to religion may be accessed online and at the William F. Winter Archives and History Building at 200 North Street in Jackson. For more information on the archival collection or the Religion in Mississippi History Research Fellowship, contact Laura Heller at 601-576-6889, or by email at



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