Oral history project returning to Vicksburg

Published 7:27 pm Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Professors and students from the University of Florida are returning to Vicksburg Thursday to continue interviews with civil rights veterans in the city.

Vicksburg was one of the stops in 2017 by the researchers involved in the university’s 10-year-old Samuel Proctor Oral History Program’s Mississippi Freedom Project fieldwork trip that is connected with the African American History Project.

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The researchers will be in Vicksburg Thursday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and all day Friday at Outside the Box, 908 Cherry St., to conduct interviews with residents.

The Mississippi Freedom Project is an award-winning experiential learning initiative focused on interviewing civil rights movement veterans. The field workers conduct recorded interviews with high school students, educators, and contemporary activists who reflect on the legacies of the civil rights movement for public access.

“We had so many volunteers to be interviewed last year that we didn’t finish,” said Georgene Clark, who is working with the program. “Because they (the researchers) come to Mississippi on the Freedom Project working in the Delta and Natchez every year, they are stopping back in Vicksburg to complete what they started last year.” 

Since 2008, the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program has worked with community organizations and academic institutions in Mississippi to bring students on annual research trips to the Mississippi Delta to record oral histories with veterans of the civil rights movement, educators and leaders interested in teaching the movement’s legacies. 

Besides the interviews, researchers will hold a panel discussion about their research and how former participants of the research trip carry on the legacy of the movement in their research, teaching, and activism.

The panelists will cover a variety of topics related to the civil rights movement, including the impact of the movement on organized labor and coalition building. The panelists include University of Florida alumni Nicole Yapp and Oliver Telusma and Dr. Zoharah Simmons, a University of Florida professor and former Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee member.

Friday, University of Florida professor Paul Ortiz, author on the book “An African American and Latinx History of the United States,” will discuss the book and have a book signing at Lorlei Books, 1103 Washington St.

The book is a history told from the viewpoint of African American and Latinx people and revealing the radically different ways they addressed issues of racism and class inequality still plaguing the United States today.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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