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Oral history.; Transcript of interview conducted with Louise Kennedy. Mary Louise Kennedy was born to David Jefferson Lewis and Maudie Mae Kennedy in Magee, MS in May 1919. Her father worked for multiple oil companies, including Texaco and the Loreco Oil Company. Kennedy's family moved to D'Lo when she was young. She married Paul Dalton Kennedy in October 1934. They had four children together, two boys and two girls. Paul Kennedy performed various jobs early in their marriage, including employment at a chicken-feed store, carpentry, and as a seismographer. Louise worked in the ladies department at McCalpren's Department Store, ordering inventory. Later in life, Kennedy assisted teachers with handicapped children at Magee High School for four years. She retired at the same time as her husband. Paul retired as the chief of police after serving in the department for twenty years. Louise even worked dispatch for a brief period. After retiring, Louise and Paul bought a farm. They have nine grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren.

2003-07-23

Oral history.; Interview conducted with James J. Smith. James J. Smith was born to Rosie Washington and William Smith in Natchez, Mississippi in February 1907. Smith moved to Simpson County at the age of nineteen. He worked for the Finkbine Lumber Company until it closed in early 1928. There he handled lumber, transporting it, separating it, and stacking it. Smith married Lena Hays in October 1927 and together they lived in Mendenhall. James and Lena had ten children, six girls and four boys. After the Finkbine Lumber Co. shut down, Smith was unemployed for a couple of years until finding work for the railroad industry, where he would work for the next thirty-five years. Smith started out as a shovel man and eventually moved up to being a supervisor. He worked primarily in Mendenhall, but also worked in Laurel for a brief period. During the early 1940s Smith worked for the highway department, helping to build the road from Prentiss to Mendenhall. He retired from the railroad industry in 1972.

2003-06-28

Oral history.; Interview conducted with Lola Berry. Lola Wilson Durr Berry was born in 1926 near Mendenhall, MS to Charlie Walker and Roberta Wilson. Berry began sharecropping in cotton fields at the age of seven. Berry left school after fifth grade in order to work. In 1942 Berry married Clarence Durr, with whom she had thirteen children, ten of whom survived. Clarence was killed in a car accident in 1975; a year later she remarried to Oscar Berry. Ms. Berry has worked as a domestic employee in private homes in the Mendenhall area, at the Universal Plant for thirteen years, and as a cook at Genesis One School for twelve years.

2003-09-14

Oral history.; Interview conducted with Chrysteen Flynt. Effie Chrysteen Flynt was born in November 1910 in D'Lo, MS to John Anselum Warren Sr. and Effie Bowman Warren. Her parents owned the D'Lo Mercantile Company until it burned down. Shortly after, her father worked for the Finkbine Lumber Company, serving as a logging superintendent. Flynt is one of eight children. She attended D'Lo School, beginning at the age of six, and would go on to complete all twelve grades, graduating in 1929. After finishing school, Flynt went to Delta State Teachers College until her family lost money during the Great Depression. To help alleviate her parents' financial burden, Flynt dropped out of Delta State. She later returned to school, attending Southern Teachers College (now the University of Southern Mississippi). Flynt graduated from Southern Teachers College and began teaching at Union School in Simpson County. She married William Vardaman Flynt in Collins, MS, in October 1933. Her and her husband had three children together. Flynt taught at Mendenhall High School from 1953 to 1974- the entirety of her teaching career would come to thirty-six years.

2003-04-13

Oral history.; Transcript of interview conducted with Virginia May. Virginia Abney Thompson May was born to Hezekiah Burton Thompson and Georgia Vashti Cassity in Gurley, LA in October 1917. She had a brother and a sister. May's mother died in 1922, and her father later remarried to Lena Williamson ΓÇô together they had three children. May helped milk dairy cows on her fatherΓÇÖs farm. She graduated from Ethel High School in Ethel, LA in 1935. She then entered a three-year nursing program. After finishing nursing school in 1938, she married Billy Wilson May in March 1939. The couple relocated from Centreville, LA to Mendenhall, MS, MayΓÇÖs hometown, so that he could continue working for the highway department. During World War II, the couple moved to Mobile, AL, where Billy worked on the shipyards, and Virginia worked for the US Public Health Service. They later moved back to Mendenhall, where May worked with the Simpson County Health Department. Starting in 1962, she was a nurse at the tuberculosis sanatorium between Mendenhall and Magee. There she worked with Dr. Jack Locke Herring, another interviewee. After the sanatorium closed in the mid-1970s, May went to work at the Boswell Mental Retardation Center, where she worked until retiring in 1980.

2003-06-26

Oral history.; Transcript of interview conducted with Lewis Bynum. Lewis Benjamin Bynum was born on Everett Reed Break, near the Kennedy Springs Community in 1911. One of eight children, Bynum's family moved to East Texas during World War I and returned to the Magee, MS area in the early 1920s. Bynum began working on a farm at the age of nine, hoeing and plowing the fields. He married Minnie Velma Saxon in December 1930. During the Great Depression Bynum worked at a sawmill where he performed a multitude of tasks, such as operating a gin and truck driving. In 1933, Bynum worked for the Public Works Administration, laying the foundation for Highway 49 from Collins to Magee. Lewis and Minnie Bynum had two children together, Buddy and Kathleen. After sharecropping through the mid-1930s, Bynum bought 120 acres of land through a federal program. During World War II, Bynum worked for the Soil Conservation Service. After the war, Bynum served as a foreman for Standard Mills in Jackson, MS. Lewis Bynum bounced around the country working various jobs and finally returned to Mississippi in the 1960s. Bynum received the title of Master Mason from the Grand Lodge Masons in Jackson in 1951. In November 2000 Bynum and his wife received a letter from President Bill Clinton congratulating them on their seventieth wedding anniversary.

2003-07-26

Oral history.; Interview conducted with Lewis Bynum. Lewis Benjamin Bynum was born on Everett Reed Break, near the Kennedy Springs Community in 1911. One of eight children, Bynum's family moved to East Texas during World War I and returned to the Magee, MS area in the early 1920s. Bynum began working on a farm at the age of nine, hoeing and plowing the fields. He married Minnie Velma Saxon in December 1930. During the Great Depression Bynum worked at a sawmill where he performed a multitude of tasks, such as operating a gin and truck driving. In 1933, Bynum worked for the Public Works Administration, laying the foundation for Highway 49 from Collins to Magee. Lewis and Minnie Bynum had two children together, Buddy and Kathleen. After sharecropping through the mid-1930s, Bynum bought 120 acres of land through a federal program. During World War II, Bynum worked for the Soil Conservation Service. After the war, Bynum served as a foreman for Standard Mills in Jackson, MS. Lewis Bynum bounced around the country working various jobs and finally returned to Mississippi in the 1960s. Bynum received the title of Master Mason from the Grand Lodge Masons in Jackson in 1951. In November 2000 Bynum and his wife received a letter from President Bill Clinton congratulating them on their seventieth wedding anniversary.

2003-07-26

Oral history.; Interview conducted with Ernest Camper. Ernest Camper was born in Pinola, MS in August 1911. He grew up on a farm that grew cotton and corn. Camper and his first wife had ten children and were married for thirty-seven years until her death in 1979. Camper remarried to Gussie Martin Gray and remained together for eighteen years until her death. During the 1960s Camper began driving a school bus in Mendenhall, MS.

2003-05-03

Oral history.; Transcript of interview conducted with Denton R. Everett. Denton Ray Everett was born in Puckett, MS on February 1918 to Frank and May Everett. After graduating from DΓÇÖLo High School, Everett went into the Civilian Conservation Corps. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Everett was drafted into the US Army. During World War II Everett was temporarily stationed in Germany before spending the bulk of his time in Belgium. On returning to the US, Everett was stationed in Camp Shelby, near Hattiesburg, MS, and was subsequently given an honorable discharge. He began working in Jackson for Trailways in 1947. He married Charlotte Rose Mangrum in August 1948 and had four children together. Everett served as first alderman of DΓÇÖLo in 1957 and would go on to be the cityΓÇÖs mayor during the 1960s.

2003-06-14

Oral history.; Interview conducted with Lewis Bynum. Lewis Benjamin Bynum was born on Everett Reed Break, near the Kennedy Springs Community in 1911. One of eight children, Bynum's family moved to East Texas during World War I and returned to the Magee, MS area in the early 1920s. Bynum began working on a farm at the age of nine, hoeing and plowing the fields. He married Minnie Velma Saxon in December 1930. During the Great Depression Bynum worked at a sawmill where he performed a multitude of tasks, such as operating a gin and truck driving. In 1933, Bynum worked for the Public Works Administration, laying the foundation for Highway 49 from Collins to Magee. Lewis and Minnie Bynum had two children together, Buddy and Kathleen. After sharecropping through the mid-1930s, Bynum bought 120 acres of land through a federal program. During World War II, Bynum worked for the Soil Conservation Service. After the war, Bynum served as a foreman for Standard Mills in Jackson, MS. Lewis Bynum bounced around the country working various jobs and finally returned to Mississippi in the 1960s. Bynum received the title of Master Mason from the Grand Lodge Masons in Jackson in 1951. In November 2000 Bynum and his wife received a letter from President Bill Clinton congratulating them on their seventieth wedding anniversary.

2003-07-26

Oral history.; Interview conducted with Ernest Camper. Ernest Camper was born in Pinola, MS in August 1911. He grew up on a farm that grew cotton and corn. Camper and his first wife had ten children and were married for thirty-seven years until her death in 1979. Camper remarried to Gussie Martin Gray and remained together for eighteen years until her death. During the 1960s Camper began driving a school bus in Mendenhall, MS.

2003-05-03

Oral history.; Interview conducted on April 23, 2003 with John M. Perkins. Reverend John M. Perkins was born in New Hebron, in Lawrence County, Mississippi in June 1930. His family were sharecroppers. Perkins' grandmother had nineteen children; his grandfather was a bootlegger. Perkins had two sisters and three brothers. His mother died when he was seven months old. As Mississippi was a dry state until 1964, members of Perkins' family ran a profitable bootlegging racket throughout the state, selling home brew and moonshine. He dropped out of school at around the age of twelve. Perkins left Mississippi for California at the age of seventeen. Perkins married Vera Mae Buckley two weeks before being deployed overseas. Together they had eight children. Perkins and his family later returned to Simpson County where he began traveling from school to school and telling Bible stories. He later established the Voice of Calvary in Jackson and in Mendenhall (which became known as Mendenhall Ministries). His association of ministries includes seven hundred organizations around the United States and is known as the Perkins Foundation. Perkins was arrested in December 1969 after protesting the arrest of Garland Young and the brutality of the police force after Young's arrest. This event triggered what is considered the first event of the Civil Rights Movement in Simpson County. After boycotts and protests, Perkins was arrested again in 1971 and was sent to jail in Brandon, Mississippi, where he was subjected to extreme brutality. Perkins devoted the rest of his life to his ministries and to racial reconciliation.

2003-04-23

Oral history.; Interview conducted with Kathleen Miller. Mary Kathleen Reed Miller was born to Charlie Reed and Noblee Winham Reed in Hosston, LA in April 1925. She went to school in New Iberia, LA, and afterwards went to a three-year training school for nurses at Southern Baptist Hospital in New Orleans during World War II. After completing nursing school, Kathleen married Dr. Archie Carlyle Miller. The couple moved to Wesson, MS to work at a clinic, where they mostly helped deliver babies out in the country. They later worked at a clinic owned by George Alexander. In 1948, Miller began working in the hospital surgical unit at Sanatorium, between Mendenhall and Magee. After leaving the sanatorium, Miller went back to work at the Simpson County Health Department. She also worked part-time as the nurse on staff at the sheriff's department. Miller then worked for Simpson County Hospital in the early 1960s. Miller and her husband had three children together, two boys and one girl. Miller has three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. She retired from nursing in 1999.

2003-04-27

Oral history.; Interview conducted with Louise Kennedy. Mary Louise Kennedy was born to David Jefferson Lewis and Maudie Mae Kennedy in Magee, MS in May 1919. Her father worked for multiple oil companies, including Texaco and the Loreco Oil Company. Kennedy's family moved to D'Lo when she was young. She married Paul Dalton Kennedy in October 1934. They had four children together, two boys and two girls. Paul Kennedy performed various jobs early in their marriage, including employment at a chicken-feed store, carpentry, and as a seismographer. Louise worked in the ladies department at McCalpren's Department Store, ordering inventory. Later in life, Kennedy assisted teachers with handicapped children at Magee High School for four years. She retired at the same time as her husband. Paul retired as the chief of police after serving in the department for twenty years. Louise even worked dispatch for a brief period. After retiring, Louise and Paul bought a farm. They have nine grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren.

2003-07-23

Oral history.; Interview conducted George Lewis French was born in June 1919 to Edgar Franklin French and Lila Mae Schull French in Maryville, LA. French was one of five children. French's family moved to Mississippi when he was twelve years old. Shortly after, he started his first job at an icehouse operated by his father. French graduated from Mendenhall High School in 1937. After high school, French attended Clarks Commercial College in Jackson, MS. He returned to work at his father's ice plant. In 1938 French was given the responsibility of running the Star Theatre- the movie theatre owned and operated by French's father. French made frequent trips to New Orleans, LA to learn how to book films for the theater, which showed its first feature on November 9, 1938. George Lewis French married Mary Eleanor Teunisson and had three sons together, the oldest being born before French joined the US Army. He was first stationed in Camp Shelby, MS, and shortly thereafter was transferred to Fort Bragg, NC. At Fort Bragg French was trained to be a battery clerk. After basic training, French was assigned to the Twenty-Eight Infantry Division, the Pennsylvania National Guard Division, and was stationed in Louisiana. French completed amphibious training in Carabelle, FL before being transferred to Camp Pickett, Va. French first saw combat while stationed in Sicily during World War II. He eventually got to mainland Italy, France, and Germany, where he took photographs of Dachau the day after liberation. French's service in the war lasted from June 1943 to August 1945. He returned to the States in September of that year. French resumed his position as head of the Star Theatre, eventually selling it in the 1970s. French's wife Mary Eleanor died in April 1997. In December 1999 he began his second marriage to Marjorie Elizabeth Wakeman.

2003-05-03

Oral history.; Transcript of interview conducted on May 6, 2003 with Rosie Weary. Rosie Marie Camper Weary was born to Earnest and Rosie Lee Camper in Pinola, Mississippi in February, 1950. She attended and graduated from New Hymn School. After graduation Weary went to Los Angeles Baptist College, (now Master's University) and majored in history. She married Dolphus Weary in 1970 while both of them were attending college. She stayed in California after Dolphus completed his master's degree and returned to Mississippi. Weary spent her summers in Mississippi during this time, where she also took education classes at Jackson State. Starting in 1971 she served as the secretary for Voice of Calvary Ministry, run by her husband. She also completed business courses at Wesley College in Florence, Mississippi. Voice of Calvary was later renamed Mendenhall Ministries and expanded to include a health clinic and a school, Genesis One Christian School. Both Rosie and Dolphus Weary have continued their ministry in Mississippi.

2003-05-06

Oral history.; Transcript of interview conducted with Roy Jones. Roy Powers Jones was born to Wilson Jones and Ellen Smith on the Goodwater Community near Magee, Mississippi in August, 1909. He attended Goodwater Elementary and Magee High School. Jones married Audrey Mae Stephens and they had two children. He worked as an electrician for most of his life, with a focus on refrigeration. After working at Western Auto Store for four years, starting in 1941, Jones bought the store and owned it for thirty-eight years until retirement. Jones established the Miller Trail Hunting Club in Port Gibson.

2003-06-25

Oral history.; Interview conducted with Havard McDonald. Reverend Havard McDonald was born to Jake McInnis and Willie Bell Collins McDonald near Magee, Mississippi in 1942. McDonald attended Jamesville School, south of Magee, until the third grade. He started the fourth grade in the Magee Consolidated School. He graduated from McLaurin Attendance Center. McDonald left Magee in 1962 to hitchhike to Hammond, Indiana. He learned that his father was staying in Chicago, Illinois and traveled from Hammond in order to meet him. McDonald worked in small factories while living with his father in Chicago. He married Winnie Lee Weathersby in Chicago in February 1963. They had four children together. McDonald worked for MagnaTek (Universal) for ten years, starting in the mid-1960s, until he was laid off during an economic slump. McDonald and his wife bought McBroom, a record store, and converted it into a Christian book store in 1981. He is also the owner of Douglas Diamonds. McDonald started preaching in 1988. He preached in Fanning, Mississippi and Pelahatchie, Mississippi before preaching in Hattiesburg. McDonald has fifteen grandchildren and still lives in Magee, with many of his children and grandchildren close by.

2003-09-09

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