Suzassippi’s Mississippi: Leland Post Office Mural

"Ginnin' Cotton" ca. 1940 by Stuart R. Purser; image used with permission of the United States Postal Service

“Ginnin’ Cotton” ca. 1940 by Stuart R. Purser; image used with permission of the United States Postal Service

The Leland Post Office mural, “Ginnin’ Cotton” by Stuart Purser, is oil on canvas, mounted on paperboard, and was completed 1940 (Smithsonian American Art Museum).  Purser’s design was the winning submission for Mississippi in the 48-state mural competition.  Purser was born in Alaska in 1907, but grew up in Louisiana (purser  He would be invited to establish the Fine Art Department at the University of Mississippi in 1949, and would remain there until 1952 (David Magee, 2009, The Education of Mr. Mayfield: An Unusual Story of Social Change at Ole Miss).

As noted in earlier posts about the New Deal murals, Contemporary Realism and Regionalism were generally the only accepted styles for the art work. Purser is said to have pushed the boundaries just a little with “Ginnin’ Cotton” although it met the criteria as local agriculture.

Image used with permission of the United States Postal Service

Purser continued to paint the struggles and life of African Americans in his art in later years as well (

front elevation with flag

Fazio, Parrish, Blackwell, & Franks, in the 1979 nomination form for the National Register of Historic Places described the post office building that housed Purser’s work:

Colonial Revival…granite steps…cast-iron railings…1-story wide limestone frieze…wooden cornice…octagonal wooden cupola with louvered minor sides…

USPS Lelandentrance

The building showcases the wooden entry vestibule common to this particular design.


One of 32 post offices constructed in Mississippi with Public Works Administration funds, Louis A. Simon was the supervising architect.

Categories: Delta, Leland, New Deal, Post Offices

3 replies

  1. Great mural and Great post! Not much cotton is grown on the coast so I am always Interested in gins when I get a chance to see them.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: