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Mississippi Oral History Project


In 1999, the Mississippi Legislature earmarked $150,000 to be used in a statewide effort to document lives of Mississippians from all walks of life. This Project was funded through the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, sponsored by the Mississippi Humanities Council, and coordinated by the University of Southern Mississippi Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage.

In this pilot project, five sites throughout the State were selected to begin this process of collecting life histories as well as community histories. A site in each of the (then) five Congressional Districts was selected, and the Noxubee County Library was selected for the Third District.

In July 1999, two professionals from USM, Dr. Charles Bolton and Dr. Shana Walton, joined by noted interviewer Worth Long, came to the Noxubee County Library and conducted a workshop to train local interviewers.

More than 60 county residents of different cultures, ethnic backgrounds, socioeconomic groups, religious persuasions, and political leanings were interviewed. The original recordings are housed at the Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage at USM. Unabridged copies of each interview are available for public use at the Library in Macon.

Because the Legislature has funded the second year of the Project, transcriptions of the tapes are also available to the public.

It is the Library’s pleasure now to present excerpts of these interviews on our web page. NCL has a collection of the full audio on cassette tape at the Macon branch.

This has been made possible by funds from the Mississippi Legislature through the MS Department of Archives and History and the MS Humanities Council. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of the MHC, the NEH, the MDA&H, Noxubee County Library, or USM.