Archive for February, 2017

The Columbus-Lowndes Public Library will host an exhibit of photographic prints from the collection of Levi J. Rowan, former president of Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Alcorn State University) from Jan. 30-Feb. 24. 

Part of the Margaret Walker Center's permanent collection at Jackson State University, 10 black-and-white framed photographs, depicting individuals, families, groups, office scenes and special programs and events comprise the exhibit. Dating to the 1890s, they detail the stories of middle- and upper-class African Americans in Mississippi and Louisiana. 

Levi J. Rowan was an 1893 Alcorn graduate and native of Rodney, Mississippi, and the first alumnus to serve as president of his alma mater in 1905. He went on to serve until 1911, but was then re-elected president in 1914, serving until his death in 1934.  

Due to the systematic disfranchisement and establishment of segregation in the region during this period, the black elite comprised a small part of the population, making these pictures a rare find. Still, they indicate the persistence of African Americans despite the ravages of Jim Crow society in the South and show the long history of the black middle class in America, which did not simply appear out of thin air in the 1960s.  

Instead, these individuals provided a power base that was essential to the success of the modern civil rights movement and to growing access for African Americans to the ranks of the middle class. The collection also tells the story of early professional photography — one of the few career paths that was open, even if on a limited basis, to blacks in the South at the turn of the 20th century.

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The Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO, The Institute for Social Justice and Race Relations, The Department of English and Modern Foreign Languages, and The Department of History and Philosophy present: Fences: African Americans in Major League Baseball featuring Curtis Granderson at COFO (1017 JR Lynch St.) at 6pm Thursday, Feb. 9.

Before Jackie Robinson integrated baseball in 1947, African-Americans had no choice but to play in the Negro Leagues. Because of this integration, one would think that African-Americans would naturally gravitate to baseball. That has not been the case. As of now, the percentage of African-Americans playing baseball is just below eight percent. The numbers did rise during the 1970s and 1980s. Since that time, the numbers have been on a steady decline. Curtis Granderson, outfielder for the New York Mets and poet laureate C. Liegh McInnis, will discuss this trend and other issues related to African American baseball players. 

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Award-winning author Nicholas Lemann will give a talk on “The History of the History of Reconstruction” at the Old Capitol at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, February 7. Lemann is dean emeritus of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University and the author of five acclaimed books, including Redemption: The Last Battle of the Civil War.

The event will begin with a reception and book signing at 5 p.m. The lecture will center on the aftermath of the Civil War in Mississippi and the different ways that time period has been interpreted over the last 150 years.

“In the mid-1870s, Mississippi’s Old Capitol and Governor’s Mansion saw a momentous and chaotic series of events, which although less familiar to people than the events of the Civil War were just as consequential,” Lemann said. “We must remember that history happens first as events, and then as a record of the past that should never be taken as final.”

“Nicholas Lemann’s Redemption is the definitive account of Reconstruction in Mississippi,” said MDAH director Katie Blount. “We are honored to have such an eminent historian and writer returning to Jackson to discuss this pivotal era in American history—and how it has been viewed during different times.”

This program is supported by the Mississippi Humanities Council through a special initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities exploring the legacy of race in the United States, and co-sponsored by the Mississippi Book Festival.

Nicholas Lemann was born, reared, and educated in New Orleans. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1976. He has worked at the Washington MonthlyTexas Monthly, the Washington Post, the Atlantic Monthly, and The New Yorker.

Lemann served as dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University from 2003 to 2013, and is now Pulitzer-Moore Professor of Journalism at Columbia. He is the author of five books, including Redemption: The Last Battle of the Civil War (2006); The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Meritocracy (1999), and The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How It Changed America (1991). He has worked in documentary television with FRONTLINE, the Discovery Channel, and the BBC.

Lemann has served on the boards of the Authors Guild, the Academy of Political Science, the Society of American Historians, and is a member of the New York Institute for the Humanities. He was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2010.

The Old Capitol, Jackson’s oldest building, is a National Historic Landmark. Located on State Street at Capitol, the museum’s regular hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, free of charge. For more information call 601-576-6920 or visit

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