As the azaleas and dogwoods begin blooming and the birds start building their nests, things have been cooking in the preservation world here in Mississippi’s early spring.
The Associated Press reports that a “Grant may help preserve Mississippi battlefield“:
The preservation of the Champion Hill Battlefield site as a part of the Vicksburg Campaign could soon be reality.
The Mississippi Department of Archives and History has received a $668,926 National Park Service American Battlefield Protection grant to ensure the preservation of property associated with the Battle of Champion Hill in Hinds County, according to information from U.S. Senator Thad Cochran’s office.
Rick Cleveland’s article “Hometown teams are what make Mississippi, Mississippi” highlights a Smithsonian exhibit that is about to begin touring Mississippi.
In a half century of covering sports in Mississippi, this writer has seen first-hand the galvanizing effect of sports and hometown teams, from Little League, to high schools, to collegiate sports and beyond. I’ve followed the Payton brothers of Columbia, the Short brothers of Hattiesburg, the Manning family of Drew, the inimitable Ralph Boston of Laurel and so many others. I watched Charlie Hayes play in the World Series, but before that I saw him play for a Hattiesburg team in the Little League World Series when his glove was almost as big as he was. Where but Mississippi could produce the likes of Money’s Willye B. White, who won a high school track meet by herself at age 11 and a silver medal in the Olympics at age 16? She competed in five different Olympics, the only American track and field athlete to have done so.. . . .
“Hometown Teams” explores this integral part of American life and “Hometown Teams” will tour Mississippi beginning this week and for the remainder of 2016
The article got me thinking about the stadiums, gymnasiums, coliseums, and ball fields where our hometown teams have played. Researching the MDAH Historic Resources Database, I find that only two football stadia, Tiger Stadium in Jackson and Ray Stadium in Meridian, both Depression-era concrete structures, are listed on the National Register, and only Tiger Stadium is also designated as a Mississippi Landmark. Gymnasiums fare a little better, with about 21, by my count, either listed on the National Register or designated as Mississippi Landmarks. No coliseums or baseball fields have received a historic designation, as far as I can tell. If these places are that important to being Mississippi, I guess those numbers seem low to me. What do you think?
Our first Preservation Summit is Friday, April 23rd in Mound Bayou at the I.T. Montgomery House. Lolly and Erica rolled up their sleeves with a group of gracious and hard working students from Yale University to have a cleanup day today. The Summit has been funded by a generous grant from the National Park Service and is a step along the path of the creation of the MHT Preservation Toolkit due out this fall. Thank you ALL for your contributions!
The New Albany Gazette reports that the Mississippi Hills Heritage Alliance has awarded over $100,000 in matching grants to 15 applicants. The awardees include several historic places and tours:
- Union County, along with DeSoto, Marshall, Pontotoc, Lowndes and Chickasaw counties, will receive $4,380 to be utilized to design and develop marketing materials for the First Contact Historical Trail that traces first encounters with Native Americans when Hernando DeSoto explored North Mississippi.
- Holly Springs Tourism & Recreation Bureau, $4,570, to go towards upgrading the Holly Springs Area Cultural Map.
- Visit Oxford, $20,000, to go towards directional signage for key cultural heritage sites a part of Oxford’s wayfaring program.
- Tishomingo County Tourism Council, $20,000, obligated but is awaiting further advisement from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History before awarded. The request is for planning and improvements to the historic Tishomingo County Courthouse.
WCBI reports in a video that the renovation work on the historic Columbus City Hall, designed by Chattanooga architect R.H. Hunt in 1903, is moving ahead and is expected to be complete on the inside by February 2017.
If you love underwater archaeology or tales of sunken treasures (and really, if you don’t like either of those things, what do you love??), you’ll love this Sun-Herald article by Kat Bergeron about a long-ago find in the Back Bay of Biloxi, “Coast oysterman discovered historical treasures 123 years ago.”
Within weeks of his 26th birthday, a physically fit and curious Eugene Tiblier made the discovery of a lifetime.
The historical treasures Tiblier brought up from an old shipwreck in the Bay of Biloxi continue to feed the imagination, spawning conjecture and embellishing story-telling for more than a century after he dove off a schooner to explore the “rock pile.”
Was it a pirate ship he found? Was it one of the ships of Iberville or Bienville, the LeMoyne brothers who carved out a huge French colonial territory in the New World for King Louis XIV? Was it a ship lost to hurricane when Nouveau Biloxi was being carved out as the French capitol before the colony’s center became New Orleans?
These were questions unanswered in 1892 when Tiblier proved his diving prowess.
And finally . . . howsabout we end with just a touch of controversy so you can start off your week right?
The recently announced decision by University of Mississippi administrators to place an interpretive plaque in front of the Confederate Monument on the Circle “to provide historical context” is drawing the ire of both the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the campus chapter of the NAACP, according to the Oxford Eagle.
“It’s a violation of the antiquities law since the university has not gotten permission from the Mississippi Department of History,” said Greg Stewart, an Oxford native and University of Mississippi graduate.
. . . .
The campus chapter of the NAACP does not agree with the plaque, however, because the inscription on the plaque does not include slavery as the central issue to the Civil War.
The group cites Mississippi’s 1861 declaration that it was seceding to protect slavery.
The monument, placed at the head of the The Circle in 1906 memorializes the University Greys and other soldiers from the university who fought for the Confederacy. According to the MDAH Historic Resources Database, it was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 2008 as part of the Lyceum-Circle Historic District, which has national significance as the site of the 1962 riots when James Meredith became the first African American student to enroll in the university, under protection of federal marshals.