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Oral history.; James Meredith was born June 25, 1933 in Attala County, Mississippi. As a young boy, he attended the Attala County Training School. At eighteen years old, Meredith enlisted in the United States Air Force and served from 1951 to 1960. At this time, he was part of the first group of African Americans and whites who took basic training together. During his time in the military, Meredith made the decision to face segregation. He spent a great deal of time reading books on how to take power and ways to successfully challenge those with influence. Despite being met with violence, Meredith went on to integrate the University of Mississippi in 1962.

17 November 2002

Oral history.; Carolyn Dupuy Mitchell was born in Murphy, a farming community in the Mississippi Delta. She recalls the burning of her first school and having to attend classes in the local depot and church. During her early school years, Mitchell played on the basketball team and enjoyed reading. Later, she went on to teach in Attala County during the integration of schools. She talks in detail about her experience as a teacher during desegregation, particularly the effect of a small number of African Americans who chose to attend the school.

03 April 2001

Oral history.; Ever Lee Presley was born July 24, 1919 in Kosciusko, Mississippi. She completed her early education at the Sam Young School and went on to graduate from the Attala County Training School in 1937. Presley completed her degree in social studies at Rust and Tougaloo College. After college, she taught social studies and music in the Kosciusko school system, and she discusses her experience during the integration of schools in Mississippi. For her contributions to the community, Presley has received numerous awards and honors. Some of these include the Freedom Award from the Attala County Chapter of the NAACP, the community improvement award from the Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce, and the Dr. Martin Luther King Image Award.

20 November 2002

Oral history.; Mary Van Ford was born in January, 1924 in Kosciusko, Mississippi. As a young girl, she attended Attala County Training school while working for a local family. Ford started work at the age of 12, both before and after school. She recalls graduating at the time of the Second World War, as a number of her classmates were drafted before the ceremony. In later life, Ford worked in window dressing for various department stores in Kosciusko. She was one of the first African Americans to serve in a clerical position in Kosciusko.

12 March 2003

Oral history.; Roberta Eleanor Carr Walker was born August 30, 1917 in Attala County. Walker graduated from Tougaloo College and taught at Northside School in Kosciusko at the time of school integration. She married Lee Walter Walker.

25 June 2003

Oral history.; John Morris Ward was born in 1926 near the Natchez Trace in Attala County, Mississippi. During World War II he served in Germany as an Air Force mechanic. After returning to Mississippi, he worked in Attala County in a salt mill, as well as the poultry business. Ward taught Sunday School for 25 years and played an important role in developing the Boy Scouts program in Kosciusko.

26 March 2001

Oral history.; William C. White was born in 1921 in the Pleasant Hill community. As a young boy, White attended the Attala County Training School. He graduated as an honors student in 1942 and later took a national defense course at Alcorn College. During World War II, White was accepted to a camp that recently opened up to African Americans in Great Lakes, Illinois. During his service in the Navy, he was stationed at Pearl Harbor and Guam. After serving in the United States Navy, White accepted a job as a teacher at the Attala County Training School, where he would later become principal. White led the school through the process of integration in 1997. White has worked as the Sunday School superintendent at Christian Liberty Missionary Baptist Church, served on an election and jury commission, and served on the Kosciusko School Board.

27 June 2003

Oral history.; Eargia Winters was born just outside of McCool in Attala County, Mississippi. She spent her early education in a one-room schoolhouse in the Bear Creek and Thatcher Hill Communities. Winters later went on to the Attala County Training School where she played basketball for the school team. Winters received her degree in elementary education from Jackson State University and started work as a teacher shortly thereafter. Throughout her life, Winters has been involved in the church, serving as the youth director, Sunday School teacher, executive board member, and mission director board treasurer. In her role as youth director, she often takes groups of children on various trips throughout the South.

28 June 2001

Oral history.; Douglas Colston was born on September 14, 1926 to Ada and Lee Colston in Kosciusko, Mississippi. During his freshman year at Mississippi State University, Colston was drafted for the Second World War and he joined in January, 1945. After completing basic training in Texas, Colston served in the Philippines with the United States Army Infantry. Afterward, Colston went on to earn his BA, MA and doctorate in education from Mississippi State University. He has held a number of coaching positions, including one at Kosciusko High School. Colston has also worked in education, teaching and serving as principal of Bradley Elementary School in Jackson between 1963 and 1966.

30 June 2003

Oral history.; Manuella Rosette Clark-Cotton was born on October 21, 1972 in Kosciusko, Mississippi. During her time in the public schools in Kosciusko, Clark-Cotton was part of the high school newspaper, as well as the student council. She went on to graduate from Millsaps College with a degree in biology in 1994. After college, Clark-Cotton spent time in both Tennessee and Jackson, Mississippi working as a lab technician. She has also served as a volunteer at the local veteran's home in Kosciusko due to her interest in care for the elderly. At the time of this interview Clark-Cotton is pursuing a master's degree at Boston University and working in the medical center.

31 December 2002

Oral history.; Annie Maude Cummins was born in 1908 in Possumneck, Mississippi. Her early years were spent on her family's 120-acre farm where they raised their own food and grew cotton, corn, and peas. As a young girl, the typical day included waking up at 5 am to help her mother with chores, picking cotton on the farm, and churning butter. She received her early education on her family's property until the local school was consolidated. Cummins then played basketball for the school and was part of the winning team at the Attala County Championship. Throughout her life, Cummins had a passion for both reading and education. Cummins worked in the Possumneck store as a clerk.

17 June 2001

Oral history.; Annis Guess Dickerson was born and raised in the Possumneck community of Attala County. She speaks about her family heritage, property, and the settling of Possumneck. The early part of the interview focuses on her Grandfather, Joseph Allan Weeks. Described as an educated and self-taught man, he built houses, surveyed land, and wrote poetry. The transcript of the speech given by him at his ninetieth birthday in 1956 is included. Dickerson also discusses the self-sufficient nature of life on the family farm. She helped raise animals, silk corn and churn butter. Dickerson had a successful career showing horses and competing in equestrian events.

19 August 2002

Oral history.; Nancy Comfort Heilbronner was born on April 20, 1920 in Kosciusko, Mississippi. Heilbronner attended the University of Mississippi and graduated with a teaching degree in 1942. She went on to earm a degree in library science from the University of North Carolina in 1944. Heilbronner returned to Mississippi to teach in the Kosciusko School System, and she has also served as the circulation librarian at the University of Mississippi.

24 June 2003

Oral history.; Interview recorded December 12, 2002. Preston Hughes was born in Washington, D.C. on March 27, 1943. In 1948 his family moved to Louisville, Mississippi and later to Kosciusko. After a West Point recruiter visited Highes' high school, Hughes signed up for the military academy in 1961. He spent 4 years there and graduated in 1965 as a second lieutenant in field artillery. After graduating, Hughes attended both airborne and ranger school at Fort Benning. He was then assigned to an artillery unit in Fort Carson, Colorado. In 1966, Hughes left for a one-year tour in Vietnam. During the war, he served with the second battalion of the 35th artillery. After returning from Vietnam, he was assigned to an artillery-training center at Fort Sill. In June 1969, he returned to Vietnam for a second tour. In 1970, Hughes spent a year studying the Turkish language at the Defense Language Institute in California. As a further part of his training, he attended the University of Utah in 1971 to receive his M.A. in Middle East Area Studies. In 1972, Hughes moved to Istanbul and was later assigned to command a warhead attachment in Izmit. He eventually took a job as Captain in Ankara. In 1981, Hughes started working as the liaison for NATO in the Turkish general staff headquarters and was involved in an effort to defend southern Turkey. He served in this position for 4 years, including the period of Desert Storm. Hughes finally returned to Mississippi in 1992 after spending 14 years in Turkey. In retirement, Hughes supported public education and worked on many initiatives to improve it.

12 December 2002

Oral history.; Interviews recorded March 23, 2002, and April 4, 2002 by Preston Hughes. Charles Felix Hull was born in 1922 in Kosciusko, Mississippi. As a young boy, Hull attended Sam Young Public School. He recalls the effect of the Great Depression on his family's life, particularly the introduction of New Deal programs that addressed the problem of unemployment. As part of the National Youth Administration (NYA) Projects, Hull gained useful experience and learned lifelong skills. During World War II, Hull was drafted and completed training at Camp Joseph T. Robinson in Arkansas. He served in the 93rd Infantry division, an African-American segregated unit of the United States Army. While discussing his experiences in the Pacific theater, Hull also discusses the war's effect on his family's life back at home. After the war, Hull started his long and successful career as a bricklayer in Kosciusko. In the 1950s, he worked on a number of building projects that resulted in the creation of the town library and the local high school.

23 March 2002; 04 April 2002

Oral history.; Marjorie Price Lampkin was born October 1, 1935 in Kosciusko, Mississippi. She received her elementary education at the Kosciusko school and then went on to graduate from the high school. While attending Mississippi Southern College, now the University of Southern Mississippi, Lampkin spent her summers working in the library at Mississippi State. She later took a job in Jackson with the Mississippi Employment Security Commision and worked in the program and methods department.

06 November 2002

Oral history.; Max T. Lindsay was born April 4, 1932 in Williamsville, Mississippi. His father built a general merchandise store where his mother and siblings often worked. Lindsay attended East Union School and moved to Kosciusko School in 1946 when Coach Mills asked him to play for the basketball team. After graduating high school in 1951, Lindsay joined the Unites States Navy and served in the Korean War. Lindsay later worked for a traveling grocery store, referred to then as a "rolling store."

11 July 2003

Oral history.; Newton Edward Love, Jr. was born October 3, 1925 in Kosciusko, Mississippi. As a young boy, he attended Kosciusko public school where he played football, basketball, and played cornet in the band. Love went on to graduate from Mississippi State University, earning his degree in Horticulture. During World War II, he served in the Army Air Corps as a pilot trainee. In later life, he was the owner of Love's Greenhouses and introduced chrysanthemum to the wholesale market for the first time.

06 April 2001

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