August 31, 2018

Port Gibson, Mississippi, the town U. S. Grant supposedly called “too beautiful to burn,” is well known for two houses of worship that sit on U. S. Highway 61, the road that forms the chief street of that town (there’s still no bypass around Port Gibson).  Most Mississippians at least have seen photos of the town’s Presbyterian Church with its towering steeple topped by a large hand, like something from Belshazzar’s feast, poi...

August 15, 2018

This day, 73 years ago, was a day of unspeakable relief to the American people, as word came that the war in Japan was over. Though the Japanese empire didn’t officially sign surrender documents until September 2, thereby “officially” bringing World War II to a close, it was on August 15 that Emperor Hirohito announced that his nation was giving up its fight.

Why the war finally ended

The week before, America had dropped two ato...

August 13, 2018

The Saturday Evening Post published a story by Mississippi’s own William Faulkner titled

“Race at Morning.” The entry to the Post’s editors broke a long, dry spell of writer’s block for the Nobel-Prize winner. The little-known short story, published in 1955, is set at a Mississippi deer camp and references a “boy” who had tempted Faulkner to look for a stag with a "rocking chair" set of antlers that moved in a "canebraken" bayo...

August 10, 2018

When I was a student at Kosciusko High School, I had a small part in a production of Annie. The play is, of course, set in the Depression era, and the scene I was in was one which a group of homeless men and women sing a song titled, “We’d Like to Thank You, Herbert Hoover.”

The chorus says: “We’d like to thank you, Herbert Hoover, for really showing us the way. We’d like to thank you Herbert Hoover; you made us what we are to...

July 16, 2018

Fifty years ago wolf sightings were reported in Mississippi at least as frequently as panther sightings are today, especially by hunters in the Delta between the Mississippi and the levee. 

Most, if not all, of those “wolves” seen by Mississippians were probably coyotes, which, though not very common in Mississippi until the 1970s or 80s, have been around the Magnolia State at least since the 1930s.  

While coyote sightings ar...

July 6, 2018

Since the 1950s children have learned the song about Davy Crockett that says he was “born on a mountaintop in Tennessee,” and that “he kilt him a b’ar when he was only three,” but how many of us know he once was a horse trader in northeast Mississippi? 

Well, here’s the story and how we know it.

Of all the government programs that have come and gone – mostly come – over the last century, surely one of the best was the Federal W...

July 4, 2018

For most people living in America, July 4th brings to mind that day back in 1776 when the 13 colonies officially declared themselves independent of Great Britain, thus creating the United States of America as a distinct, sovereign nation.

But for about 75 years, citizens of Vicksburg didn’t have the heart to celebrate Independence Day, or regard the day as anything to celebrate at all, because of the events of July 4, 1863.

Wh...

June 11, 2018

Six degrees of Kevin Bacon, I am told by trendier souls than I, is a game based on the idea that any two persons on earth are no more than six acquaintances apart; that each of us knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, etc, who knows any other person on the planet.  I believe there may be even fewer degrees of separation between any person and Yazoo City.  Indeed, from my experience, all roads lead to Yazoo City....

April 13, 2018

On this day, April 13, in 1743, Thomas Jefferson, who went on to become the third president of the United States, was born in what is now known as Albermarle County, Virginia.

Jefferson profoundly influenced the founding of the United States in any number of ways, but the thing he is, and probably always will be, most remembered for is his involvement in drafting the Declaration of Independence. And rightly so!

There is, of cou...

February 28, 2018

BLACK HISTORY MONTH SPOTLIGHT

Occasionally you have the opportunity to read a book that has the ability to shake you to the core, to make you question long held beliefs. Such books can be challenging and uncomfortable. During my senior year at Belhaven University, I had to read the autobiography of Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) in my World Literature class. 

Before that semester at Belhaven, I knew almost nothing about this fam...

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MississippiMatters is a news blog of cooperative writers, videographers and podcasters published by  The Well Writers Guild, a 501c3 devoted to mentoring Mississippi writers and to addressing uncovered or under-covered topics.  MississippiMatters focuses on offering creative "takes" on our state's culture, ideas, events and more.