Museum of Mississippi History

MDAH Celebrates the Life and Legacy of William and Elise Winter, Announces a $5 Million Museum Endowment in Their Honor

Left to right: former Governor Haley Barbour, former President Bill Clinton, and former MS Supreme Court Justice Reuben AndersonOn May 3, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) celebrated the lives of Governor William Winter and First Lady Elise Winter at the Two Mississippi Museums. During the ceremony, Spence Flatgard, MDAH board president, announced the completion of the initial funding goal of the William and Elise Winter Education Endowment, a $5 million fund created to underwrite field trips for Mississippi’s schoolchildren.

“The purpose of this endowment is to ensure that all Mississippi students have the opportunity to experience the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum,” said MDAH director Katie Blount. “We are grateful to the many supporters who gave to this effort, which was spearheaded by Governor and Mrs. Winter. We are especially grateful to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which stepped up first with a generous gift. We are committed to continuing to build the William and Elise Winter Education Endowment, which will make a tremendous impact on future generations to come.”

The William and Elise Winter Education Endowment was created through the Foundation for Mississippi History to memorialize Mississippi’s former governor and first lady and their commitment to education and preservation.

Former President Bill Clinton, former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, and former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Reuben Anderson celebrated the lives of William and Elise Winter at the Two Mississippi Museums. “The minute I met Bill Winter,” said Clinton, “I never had a scintilla of doubt that whatever happened in our friendship, whatever happened in his life, I was with one of the most authentic people I would ever know.”

Before the ceremony, museums director Pamela D.C. Junior led President Clinton on a tour through the Civil Rights Museum.

The Mississippi Symphony Orchestra provided music and the Clinton High School Arrow Singers, Pearl High School Pearl Singers, and Warren Central High School Viking Singers performed together during the ceremony.

To view the video of the ceremony click here.

 

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Joseph Ewoodzie Jr., Carla Shedd to Discuss Getting Something to Eat in Jackson: Race, Class, and Food in the American South

On Friday, April 15 at 2 p.m., Joseph Ewoodzie Jr. and Carla Shedd will discuss Ewoodzie’s new book Getting Something to Eat in Jackson: Race, Class, and Food in the American South in the Craig H. Neilsen Auditorium at the Two Mississippi Museums.  

 Ewoodzie will speak about the ways in which food availability, choice, and consumption vary between classes of Black Jacksonians, and how this reflects and shapes their different experiences of a shared racial identity. Then he will lead a discussion with the Jacksonians portrayed in his book. Carla Shedd, a sociologist at City University of New York (CUNY) and Jacksonian, will discuss the importance of doing this type of sociological work and writing about the South.  

 Chef Enrika Williams will provide light appetizers for the event. 

 A book sale and signing will follow.    

 The Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum—Two Mississippi Museums—are located at 222 North Street in Jackson. Hours are Tuesday–Saturday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. For more information visit the MDAH Facebook page email info@mdah.ms.gov.  

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Getting Something to Eat in Jackson

On Friday, April 15 at 2 p.m., Joseph Ewoodzie Jr. and Carla Shedd will discuss Ewoodzie’s new book Getting Something to Eat in Jackson: Race, Class, and Food in the American South in the Craig H. Neilsen Auditorium of the Two Mississippi Museums. Refreshments by Chef Enrika Williams will be provided. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit the MDAH Facebook page or email info@mdah.ms.gov. 

Eddie Glaude to Speak at the Two Mississippi Museums April 28

Eddie S. Glaude Jr., educator, author, political commentator, and public intellectual will deliver the Medgar Wiley Evers Lecture on Thursday, April 28, at 6 p.m. at the Two Mississippi Museums in Jackson. The event is free and open to the public. 

“I am thrilled that a Mississippi native as distinguished as Eddie Glaude is coming home to participate in our lecture series,” said MDAH director Katie Blount. “I am also excited for his first visit to the Two Mississippi Museums.”

Glaude, a native of Moss Point, is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor and chair of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University. His writings include Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul, In a Shade of Blue: Pragmatism and the Politics of Black America, and his most recent book, New York Times bestseller Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own.

He frequently appears in the media as a columnist for TIME Magazine and on television.

The Medgar Wiley Evers Lecture Series was established in 2003 to honor the legacy of civil rights leader Medgar Evers, one year after Myrlie Evers made an extraordinary gift to the people of Mississippi when she presented the Medgar and Myrlie Evers papers to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH). Previous Evers lecturers include Lonnie Bunch, Henry Louis Gates, Manning Marable, and Robert P. Moses. The series is supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

In 2014, the Kellogg Foundation awarded $2.3 million to MDAH to support programming at the Two Mississippi Museums and fund a partnership between MDAH and the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Institute. The lecture will be held at the Two Mississippi Museums, located at 222 North St. in Jackson. For more information, call 601-576-6850 or visit http://www.mdah.ms.gov.

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Former President Bill Clinton, Former Governor Haley Barbour to Honor Lives of Governor William and Elise Winter

On Tuesday, May 3, 2022, MDAH will celebrate the lives of Governor William Winter and First Lady Elise Winter at the Two Mississippi Museums in Jackson. The event is sponsored by Jones Walker LLP and the Foundation for Mississippi History.

Program speakers will include President Bill Clinton, the forty-second president of the United States; former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour; and former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Reuben Anderson.

Soon after William F. Winter’s death in 2020, Governor Haley Barbour described Winter to Mississippi Today as “a gentleman, honorable and gracious. While our politics didn’t always coincide, I’ve always admired him. He made great changes in the structure of Mississippi’s K-12 educational system . . . He and Mrs. Winter, who is a delightful, gracious lady, represented our state very well, both while he was in elected office and afterwards.”

William F. Winter served as Governor of Mississippi from 1980 to 1984. He had previously been elected to the state legislature, and to the offices of the state tax collector, state treasurer, and lieutenant governor. His term as governor has been nationally acclaimed for the groundbreaking passage of education reform legislation. He was later appointed to President Bill Clinton’s National Advisory Board on Race.

Throughout his political career, Elise Winter campaigned for William Winter, and she was a trusted advisor and policy advocate to her husband when he was elected to office. When Elise Winter was the state’s First Lady, she helped shepherd her husband’s key legislation and hosted social gatherings for prominent Mississippians at the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion.

Elise Winter advocated for improving the living conditions of imprisoned people, worked to increase funding for state correctional institutions, and campaigned for the construction of family visitor’s center at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman and a separate prison for women in Pearl. She was a founder, fundraiser, and volunteer of the Jackson area chapter of Habitat for Humanity, which has constructed more than 600 homes in the metro area for those in need. Elise Winter was recognized for her steadfast commitment to volunteer service during the 2015 Governor’s Initiative for Volunteer Excellence Awards.

“With Elise Winter by his side, Governor Winter enjoyed a remarkable political career, but his commitment to public service extended well beyond electoral office,” said MDAH director Katie Blount. “He led the MDAH Board of Trustees for nearly fifty years, making an unmistakable impact on the department and the state.”

William F. Winter joined the MDAH Board of Trustees in 1957. During his time as board president, Winter oversaw the opening of the Eudora Welty House & Garden, the restoration of the Old Capitol, and the construction of a state-of-the-art archives and history building that the state legislature named for him.

Winter also encouraged the department to strengthen its focus on African American history in Mississippi, acquiring significant collections of papers, mounting award-winning exhibits, and offering grants for the preservation of sites associated with African American history. Most notably, his close friendship with Myrlie Evers led to her decision to donate the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Collection to MDAH in 2002.

The opening of the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in 2017 is Winter’s greatest legacy at MDAH. Winter helped convince state leaders of the need to build the Two Mississippi Museums, and he was instrumental in securing public and private funds for the project.

MDAH director Katie Blount said, “These museums stand at the intersection of William Winter’s greatest passions—history, education, and racial justice. Generations of young people will come here to experience the stories that have shaped our state and nation.”

More details about the celebration will be released at a later date. For more information visit mdah.ms.gov. 

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Inaugural Mississippi Makers Fest to Kick Off the World of Marty Stuart Exhibit at Two Mississippi Museums

The World of Marty Stuart exhibit will debut at the Two Mississippi Museums in Jackson on Saturday, May 7, coinciding with the inaugural Mississippi Makers Fest, a music, food, and arts festival on the museum grounds.

“We are thrilled to host The World of Marty Stuart exhibit and can’t think of a better way to kick it off than with the Mississippi Makers Fest,” said Pamela Junior, director of the Two Mississippi Museums. “Marty represents what it means to be a creative and hardworking Mississippian, and that’s what this festival will celebrate. We have a phenomenal musical lineup and several incredible food and art vendors from across the state.”

The World of Marty Stuart explores Stuart’s life and his legacy of collecting country music’s stories. The exhibit includes hundreds of items never shown before in Mississippi, including Marty’s first guitar, original handwritten Hank Williams manuscripts, guitars from Merle Haggard and Pops Staples, costumes from Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton, personal items from Johnny Cash, including his first black performance suit, and much more.

"It’s been incredible to work on this exhibit with Marty Stuart, a true pioneer in the preservation of country music history," said Shane Keil, MDAH director of curatorial services. "The World of Marty Stuart not only showcases Stuart’s phenomenal artifact collection but highlights his journey to country music stardom. Visitors will see the role and influence of his small town Mississippi upbringing that took him to the world stage and ultimately has brought him back home."

The World of Marty Stuart is brought to you by the title sponsor, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi, as well as by AT&T and Visit Mississippi. Visit mdah.ms.gov to learn more about the exhibit.

“Marty Stuart embodies the diligent and innovative nature of Mississippians,” said Sheila Grogan, Vice President of Community and Public Relations at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi. “Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi is proud to sponsor this opportunity for the community to learn more about his roots and storytelling at the Two Mississippi Museums.”

To celebrate the launch of the exhibit, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History will host the inaugural Mississippi Makers Fest. North Mississippi Allstars will headline the all-day music festival. Other performers include Mr. Sipp, Framing the Red, Chapel Hart, the Chad Wesley Band, 5th Child, and more. Entergy Plaza at the museums will be packed with dozens of art and food vendors for this free event dedicated to celebrating Mississippi creativity in all forms.

Mississippi Makers Fest is brought to you by the title sponsor, Southern Beverage Company, as well as by Nancy and Ray Neilsen, New South Radio, Visit Jackson, Visit Mississippi, C Spire, StateStreet Group, and the Foundation for Mississippi History. Visit msmakersfest.mdah.ms.gov to learn more.

“Having begun in Jackson, Mississippi in 1939, Southern Beverage Company is exceptionally excited to support local artists and makers,” said Theo P. Costas, President and CEO of Southern Beverage Co., Inc. “We feel like the Mississippi Makers Fest will be the perfect opportunity for Mississippi creatives to display their craft. We are honored to support the first Mississippi Makers Fest and look forward to its success and future.”

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The Defenders

Join us on Thursday, February 24, for the premiere showing of the new documentary The Defenders at 7 p.m. in the Craig H. Neilsen Auditorium of the Two Mississippi Museums. The showing is free and open to the public. Face masks and social distancing guidelines are required. 

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