Monday, March 20, 2023

Fall SouthTalks Series Focuses on Mississippi Voices

Staff Report

University of Mississippi Communications

Roy DeBerry kicks off the fall slate of SouthTalks presentations Sept. 8 with a discusion of his collection of interviews with residents of Benton County.

This fall, the SouthTalks Series, sponsored by the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, focuses on “Mississippi Voices.”

SouthTalks explore the interdisciplinary nature of Southern studies and includes lectures, performances, film screenings and panel discussions. Although events usually take place in the Tupelo Room of Barnard Observatory, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many have shifted online. 

All events are free and open to the public, but registration is required to receive the link. All SouthTalks will be made accessible on the center’s YouTube channel after each event.

Looking at Mississippi Voices does not mean simply looking inward, however. The goal for this programming theme is to find connections to other places, problems and people that solidify the global interconnectedness made undeniable by the pandemic. 

“Despite the ongoing challenges we all continue to navigate during this global pandemic, my colleagues and I at the center and across campus, as well as the collaborators featured in our fall SouthTalks lineup, have remained dedicated to offering timely, inspiring and thoughtful programming,” said Afton Thomas, the center’s associate director of programs.

“The balance we hope to strike is optimistic while remaining realistic and keeping safety and the variety of comfort levels at the forefront of all programming decisions. With the exception of a few partnerships, all September SouthTalks will take place virtually. Stay tuned to our website and social media for any change in format or location for events in October and November.”

Events begin virtually at noon Wednesday (Sept. 8) with Roy DeBerry, executive director of the Hill Country Project, discussing his collection of interviews with residents of Benton County – an area with a long and fascinating civil rights history – titled “Voices from the Mississippi Hill Country: The Benton County Civil Rights Movement.” Register at https://bit.ly/3DNygab

At 7:30 p.m. Friday (Sept. 10) at the Old Armory Pavilion on University Avenue, the Center for the Study of Southern Culture and Yoknapatawpha Arts Council host the premiere of Mississippi Creates, an event that pairs musical performance with short documentary films providing a glimpse into the creative life and environments of two local musicians: Tyler Keith and Schaefer Llana.

This pair of films is part of a larger series highlighting artists and performers who have been influenced or inspired by the life, culture or sounds of Mississippi. The screening includes a live musical performance by Schaefer Llana and will be followed by a brief Q&A with the musician and film directors Annemarie Anderson and Kelly Spivey. 

Mississippi Creates is made possible by Cathead, the Center for the Study of Southern Culture and the Mississippi Humanities Council, and is free and open to all ages. Attendees are encouraged to bring a chair and refreshments.

Up next, “Living Music Resource Live” presents “Voices of Mississippi,” featuring Shardé Thomas, Scott Barretta and “LMR Live” host Nancy Maria Balach in a virtual event at 1 p.m. Sept. 13. Join Living Music Resource for a lively discussion and interactive experience with artists featured in the Sept. 14 “Voices of Mississippi” concert to be held at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts at 7:30 p.m., demonstrating the range of talent and people who make up the state.

At noon Sept. 15, Tammy Greer presents “Okla Humma: I Maya Moma Hoki (The Honorable People: We Have Remained in This Place).” Greer is a member of the United Houma Nation and director of the Center for American Indian Research and Studies at the University of Southern Mississippi.

The focus of her Okla Achukma project is to address preventable chronic diseases in Southeastern Native tribes in a more holistic way using the traditional teachings of the sacred Medicine Wheel. See the center’s website for registration link.

Stephen Monroe and LaToya Faulk will discuss Monroe’s new book “Heritage and Hate: Old South Words and Symbols at Southern Universities,” which traces the ongoing rhetorical power of Old South words and symbols at Southern universities, virtually at noon Sept. 22. Register at https://bit.ly/3mUjsQM.

At 4 p.m. Sept. 30, Jason De Léon presents “The Land of Open Graves: Understanding the Current Politics of Migrant Life and Death along the U.S./Mexico Border.” This lecture is part of the Movement and Migration/Future of the South Initiative, launched by Simone Delerme in 2019. An accompanying exhibit, “Hostile Terrain,” will be on display in Lamar Hall beginning Oct.15.

This lecture is tentatively taking place in-person at the Nutt Auditorium on the Ole Miss campus, but visit the center website for any updates to the location or format. De León’s visit to campus is cosponsored by the university’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, Center for Population Studies, McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement, Center for Inclusion and Cross-Cultural Engagement and Croft Institute for International Studies.

Mzuri Moyo Aimbaye channels Fannie Lou Hamer in a riveting 60-minute journey of storytelling, a production of “The Fannie Lou Hamer Story,” set for 7:30 p.m. Oct. 6 at the Ford Center. The production features 11 inspiring songs and a video montage of the civil rights movement.

“The Fannie Lou Hamer Story” is part of the Ford Center’s Artist Series, which is supported by the university and in collaboration with the Center for the Study of Southern Culture and Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement.

Aaron Cometbus and Scott Satterwhite present “A Punkhouse in the Deep South: The Oral History of 309” at 4 p.m. Oct. 7 in the Faulkner Room of Archives and Special Collections in the J.D. Williams Library. Cometbus and Satterwhite will discuss the lively community of the house at 309 Sixth Avenue, which has long been a crossroads for punk rock, activism, veganism and queer culture in Pensacola, Florida.

At noon Oct. 13, Charles Reagan Wilson, director emeritus of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, presents “The Southern Cultural Renaissance of the Early Twenty-First Century” in Barnard Observatory. In this SouthTalk, Wilson explores how popular magazines have become a surprising carrier of this new identity to broad regional and national audiences.

In a virtual conversation at noon Oct. 27, Jessica Ingram and David Wharton present “Road through Midnight: A Civil Rights Memorial.” Ingram’s work unlocks complex histories of the civil rights era, reframing commonplace landscapes as sites of both remembrance and resistance – as the fight for civil rights goes on and memorialization has become the literal subject of contested cultural and societal ground.

And at noon Nov. 3 in the Tupelo Room of Barnard Observatory, Adam Guettel, Blake McIver and Mary Donnelly Haskell will have a conversation about Elizabeth Spencer’s novella “The Light in the Piazza,” which was made into a musical.

For more information on the SouthTalks Series or the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, visit https://southernstudies.olemiss.edu/or contact Thomas at amthoma4@olemiss.edu or 662-915-3363.