OXFORD, Miss. – My old friend Ray Smithhart would have loved the irony of union-fighting manufacturer Nissan making a gift of $100,000 to the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Institute. Known in his later years as the “dean of Mississippi’s labor organizers,” Smithhart worked closely with civil rights martyr Medgar Evers in the late 1950s..
Writer Steve Stern’s tales of old world Jews in Memphis’ Pinch District When the one-legged, one-eyed rags peddler Lazar Malkin left on his journeys into the Mississippi hinterland to find customers for his collection of “shmattes and tools,” he liked to remind his fellow Jews on Memphis’ North Main Street, “The Pinch..
Fannie Lou Hamer, a folk philosopher of the civil rights movement in the Mississippi Delta, knew what she was up against in a state and region where an entrenched hard-right oligarchy ruled at the expense of the majority. “With the people, for the people, by the people–I crack up when I hear it,” said the [...]
By Joe Atkins, Professor of Journalism, Meek School of Journalism and New Media OXFORD, Miss. – Bluesman Bill “Howl-N-Madd” Perry isn’t really howling mad. Even when he opens the door of the Two Stick restaurant here for our interview, he has a grin on his face as wide as the swath of sunshine that follows [...]
Leaders of the Swedish firm IKEA thought coming to the U.S. South would be a perfect marriage. They could take advantage of a cheap, docile labor force and a political establishment willing to hand out millions of dollars in incentives while working with local business and media leaders to discourage any potential unionization..
TOUGALOO, Miss. – I’m a Catholic now, but I grew up in the Pentecostal Holiness Church. My grandfather was a Holiness preacher. I know about revivals. Preachers exhort, and people respond. They sing, they shout, they come to the altar, and they pray. Everything seems possible at a revival. People can conquer the world at [...]
Mississippi legislator: charter school supporters include the same people who’ve fought against public education for years By Joe Atkins Joe Atkins is a veteran journalist and columnist who teaches journalism at the University of Mississippi. He can be reached at email@example.com. Mississippi state Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory, a..
(To the left is Court Square in downtown Memphis, “the epicenter of the Memphis relief effort” during the 1878 yellow fever epidemic.) MEMPHIS, Tenn. – This city was a “Casablanca on the Mississippi” during the Civil War, occupied by federal troops and full of intrigue with a thriving black market. By 1878, the rough..
By Joe Atkins Joe Atkins is a veteran journalist and columnist who teaches journalism at the University of Mississippi. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The gathering at Tougaloo College in Jackson, Miss., Tuesday night seemed more like an old-time revival meeting than a labor rally, but maybe that’s because it..
On the Bibles of two men once reviled in the South, President Obama took the oath of office for his second term Monday, a day that also honored one of those two men, Martin Luther King Jr. After a first term in which he relied heavily on Wall Street insiders like Timothy Geithner, Obama outlined [...]