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Oral history.; Dr. Forest Kent Wyatt was born on May 27, 1934, in Berea, Kentucky. He graduated from Delta State College (now Delta State University) with a double degree in mathematics and health, physical education, and recreation. He then began a teaching career that included work for the University Military School in Mobile, Alabama and at his high school alma mater, Cleveland High School. Dr. Wyatt became Delta State College's first alumni secretary and he also completed his doctoral degree from the University of Mississippi. Having served Delta State University as alumni secretary for four years, Dr. Wyatt worked as the administrative assistant before becoming the fifth president of Delta State University in 1975. Dr. Wyatt served in that capacity for twenty-four years, retiring in 1999.
03 November 1999
Oral history.; Mr. Roberts Wilson Jr. was born July 6, 1941, in Rosedale, Mississippi. After attending both Vanderbilt University and the University of Mississippi, he went to Washington. D.C., during the mid 1960s where he worked in the office of Mississippi Senator John Stennis. Returning to Mississippi, he attended Ole Miss Law School, graduating in 1969. In 1970, Mr. Wilson married Ann Smith of Birmingham, Alabama. Both Mr. Wilson and his wife have been active in Mississippi politics, and Mr. Wilson has run for state senate, state representative and mayor of Pascagoula. At the time of this interview, Mr. Wilson was practicing as a trial attorney in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Wilson discusses his family's history; the murder of Emmett Till in Money, Mississippi; his work in the office of Mississippi Senator John Stennis in Washington, D.C.; the integration of Little Rock Central High School in 1957; the enrollment of James Meredith at the University of Mississippi; the Vietnam War and Mississippi politics.
06 August 1980
Oral history.; Born on March 28, 1914, Dr. Eleanor Byrd Walters was born in Gunnison, Mississippi. In 1934, she received her B.S. in education from Delta State Teachers College and went on to earn several advanced degrees. From 1934 through 1943 Dr. Walters taught in several high schools. From 1943 through 1979, Dr. Walters was a professor of mathematics at Delta State College. In 1979, Dr. Walters retired, and enjoyed during her retirement Delta State baseball and basketball, dinner clubs with other Delta State University retirees, and playing the organ. Dr. Walters received the Outstanding Alumni Award from Delta State College in 1966; she was a General Education Board Fellow, and was awarded by the Rockefeller Foundation. Since this interview was recorded, Dr. Eleanor Walters has passed away.
02 November 1999
Oral history.; On April 8, 1927, Dr. Pete Walker was born in Lumberton, Mississippi. When Dr. Walker was four years old, his mother passed away. As a child, Dr. Walker worked in his father's cafes. Dr. Walker attended Jones County Junior College on a football scholarship; he attended Mississippi State on a football scholarship and graduated with an undergraduate degree in physical education. He earned his master's degree in counseling and testing and his doctorate in school administration with a minor in psychology. From 1952 to 1964, he taught and coached in public school. From 1965 to 1986, he was an administrator and teacher at Delta State University. For two years, Dr. Walker was in the Army during the Korean Conflict. He was a U.S. Army corporal and a first lieutenant in the Reserves. He is currently retired and pursues his interests of golf, fishing, and photography. He is a member of the Lion's Club.
11 October 1999
Oral history.; Mrs. Leila Lyle Wilkinson Underhill was born in Shelby, Mississippi, on July 29, 1919. She grew up during the Great Depression and remembers the flood of 1927. During World War II, Mrs. Underhill's brother was killed. Mrs. Underhill earned her B.S. from Delta State Teachers College in 1940 and became a teacher. She earned her master's degree at Mississippi State and in 1967 she became a mathematics instructor at Delta State University where she taught until her retirement in 1983. In 1938 and 1939, Mrs. Underhill was vice president of the State Methodist Student Conference, and in 1939 and 1940, she was president. Her major interests are the DAR, DSU Alumni, DSU Golden Fifties, and the Wesley Foundation. She is an avid fan of Delta State University sports; she has not missed Homecoming since she was graduated in 1940.
25 October 1999; 08 November 1999
Oral history.; Billie Rossie Tonos was born November 12, 1924, in Shaw, Mississippi, to Nazira Hallal Rossie and Sam Rossie, Americans of Lebanese descent. In May of 1942, she graduated from Shaw High School and enrolled at Delta State Teachers College where she was involved in a choral group known as ";The Little Foxes,"; Delta Singers, Delta Playhouse, and its fraternity Alpha Psi Omega. She was editor of the annual The Broom and was selected to Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities in her junior and senior years. She graduated with honors in 1946. Miss Rossie taught in public schools and then at St. Joseph's Catholic School in Greenville. In July, 1951, she married John Michael Tonos and had four children, all of whom graduated from St. Joseph's School. In 1971, she resumed her teaching career at St. Joseph's until she retired in 1990. A member of St. Joseph's Choir, she also sings with the Red Cross Chorus. At Delta State University, she is active in the Alumni Association, a member of the Golden Circle, and an ambassador at the Bologna Arts Center. She is also a member of the King's Daughters Senior Circle and the Cedars of Lebanon Club. Recently she was honored as Alumnus of the Year for the Washington County Alumni of Delta State University.
10 September 1999
Oral history.; Mrs. Frances Ryals Terry was born July 30, 1923, in Greenville, Mississippi. She was a child during the Depression and during the flood of 1927. Mrs. Terry grew up near Hollandale, Mississippi. She graduated from Delta State Teachers College where she met her husband Harold E. Terry; they were married in 1947. Mrs. Terry was the recipient of the first B.S. degree that Delta State awarded. Mrs. Terry taught mathematics at Shaw, Mississippi, Boyce, Mississippi, Minter City, Mississippi, and Sunnyside, Mississippi. Additionally she served as math supervisor for Leflore County Schools until her retirement in 1985. She is a charter member of the Mississippi Council of Mathematics and served as the president in 1977. She is a member of St. John's United Methodist Church in Greenwood, Mississippi.
07 December 1999
Oral history.; Born in 1947, Dr. Story was graduated from Mississippi Valley State University in 1969 where he earned a B.S.; he earned an M.Ed. from Delta State University. During his varied career he has been a sharecropper, a public school teacher in the Shelby School District, and the Leland School District, and a professor and dean at Delta State University, where he is currently employed. In 1977, Delta State University hired Dr. Story as a full-time instructor in guidance and counseling and as a part-time counselor in the Counseling Center. In 1993, he became the dean of counseling and developmental studies and a professor of behavioral sciences. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated.
22 October 1999
Oral history.; LePoint Cassibry Smith was born on October 29, 1920, in Memphis, Tennessee; she grew up in Cleveland, Mississippi. She attended the Hill Demonstration School at Delta State Teachers College; she then attended and was graduated from the Cleveland Consolidated School. She attended Delta State Teachers College and the University of Mississippi from which she earned her B.A. degree. In 1970, she earned her master's in library science from Delta State University. In 1942, she worked for the Works Progress Administration, determining eligibility for jobs in Lowndes and Noxubee Counties. From 1948 through 1986, she was the director of the Bolivar County Library.
05 October 1999
Oral history.; Mr. Pascal Nevin Sledge was born February 6, 1921, in the Alva Community east of Duck Hill, Mississippi. He attended Cleveland High School, Culver Military Academy, Delta State University, and General Motors' Chevrolet Dealer Institute. During World War II, he was a pilot in the Marine Corps, serving in Okinawa, Guam, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, Iniwetok Atoll, and Tenian. Upon his return, he operated and came to own car dealerships to 1988. He was one of the organizers of the First National Bank of Bolivar County and served on the Board of Directors. From 1954 to 1977 he served on the Cleveland City Board of Aldermen, and he was the vice mayor for eight years. He was elected to the Mississippi State Senate in 1983, and he served from 1984 to 1993. Mr. Sledge's community service is extensive and his awards include Kossman Bolivar County Man of the Year Award in 1972, Time Magazine Quality Dealer Award in 1981, Delta State University Outstanding Alumnus of the Year in 1987, and many others.
31 July 1999
Oral history.; Reverend F.T. (Ted) Shepherd was born July 10, 1924, in Greenville, Mississippi. In 1942, he was graduated from Greenville High School. During World War II he served in the armed forces. He graduated from Delta State Teachers College with a B.S. in business administration. His twenty-seven years of experience in the business world included positions in purchasing, sales, and accounting. He entered the Gospel ministry at the age of fifty-two, and he was ordained June 2, 1977. He served on the staff of First Baptist Church, Greenville, Mississippi, for twenty-two years, serving in the area of missions, including pastor of the Chinese Mission. He is the author of three books, past president of the Washington County Baptist Ministerial Association, member of Delta State Alumni Association and the American Legion. In retirement he serves as supply preacher for area Baptist churches, visits shut-ins, nursing homes, and hospitals, and he continues to conduct weddings and funerals.
17 August 1999
Oral history.; Viola Brown Sanders was born in Sidon, Mississippi, on February 21, 1921. After Miss Sanders finished her education, she taught school for two years in Glen Allan, Mississippi. In 1943, Miss Sanders joined the United States Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Services). During her twenty-three years in the United States Navy, Miss Sanders was assigned to duties in communications, recruit training, personnel, intelligence, and administration. In her last tour of duty, she was assigned as Director of Women in the Navy (Assistant Chief of Naval Personnel for Women), the only female line captain and senior woman in the Navy at that time. After her retirement from the Navy in 1966, Miss Sanders returned to Sidon and became active in civic affairs in Greenwood and Leflore County. In 1999, she became the fourth person and the only woman to be inducted into the Greenwood-Leflore County Hall of Fame
12 August 1999
Oral history.; Ann Spivey Bishop Ruscoe was born in 1923 in Cleveland, Mississippi. She was graduated from Cleveland High School in 1941. She was Salutatorian, OAR Good Citizenship Girl, and won the Senior Award. After attending Delta State Teachers College and the University of Tennessee, she received her B.S. degree from Peabody Teachers College in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1945. Her first teaching experience came in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. She married Lieutenant Ray M. Ruscoe in San Marcos, Texas, and was with him in Japan when the Korean War started. They settled in Texas after the war for twenty-five years, returning to Mississippi in 1980.
18 November 1999
Oral history.; Mrs. Alyce West Richardson was born on August 2, 1930, in Clarksdale, Mississippi. She graduated from Cleveland High School and Delta State Teachers College and worked as the secretary-treasurer of West Implement Company, Inc., and West Machine Shop, Inc.. Mrs. Richardson is a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Cleveland, Mississippi, the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce, the Mississippi Economic Council, the Crosstie Arts Council, the Bolivar County Historical Society, the Mississippi Historical Society, the Cleveland Junior Auxiliary, the Cleveland Kappa Delta Alumnae Association, the Delta Council, and Amici. She was the director of The Valley Bank for seventeen years, the director of the Delta State University Foundation, Mid-South Farm Equipment Association, and the Inter-Alumni Council. Mrs. Richardson has many civic honors and awards.
09 December 1999
Oral history.; Mr. O.W. Reily Jr. was born on June 17, 1924, in Shreveport, Louisiana. As a child, he attended public school in Louisiana and was active in sports, including track, basketball, and boxing. From October, 1941, through November, 1945, he was in the Marine Corps; he served at Pearl Harbor, Midway, the fire department of Camp Lejeune, and the Panama Canal. In 1947, he worked at Southern Natural Gas, in Perryville, Louisiana. In 1948, he worked at International Paper Company. From 1949 through 1952, he attended Delta State Teachers College and then worked at Delta State Teachers College. From 1954 through 1958, he coached track and basketball at Cleveland High School. From 1958 to 1967, he coached basketball at Bastrop High School in Louisiana. In 1967, he returned to Delta State College as dean of men, where he remained until he retired in 1991. He is a member of the Lions Club and the Delta State Booster Club.
19 August 1999
Oral history.; Dr. John Paul Quon was born June 11, 1942, in Moorhead, Mississippi. His parents emigrated from China to Mississippi to participate in a family-owned grocery store. Dr. Quon was in the first public school class in Mississippi that allowed the Chinese students to attend; prior to that, the Chinese students were kept out of public schools. Dr. Quon earned his degrees from the University of Mississippi and he has held a CPA license from the state of Mississippi since 1985. Dr. Quon was a general partner in the family farm and retail grocery store and an instructor at community colleges and the University of Mississippi. From 1971 to the present he has been an assistant professor at Delta State University. Dr. Quon is a member of several professional bodies and organizations. In 1964, he married Frieda Seu; they are still married, and the proud parents of both children and grandchildren
02 December 1999
Oral history.; Mr. Sank Powe was born in the Delta in Elizabeth, Mississippi, on April 20, 1942. Growing up, Mr. Powe often worked in the cotton fields for meager wages. Mr. Powe attended Mound Bayou High School, Jackson State University and Delta State University from which he earned a B.S. in social studies and completed graduate work in health and physical education. Mr. Powe was a high school and college teacher and coach. He was a scout for the St. Louis Cardinals; he is currently a scout for the Cincinnati Reds. He co-wrote and published a biography, Grits, Guts, and Baseball. Mr. Powe is involved in many civic activities and professional organizations and has been honored as the recipient of the National Baseball Coach of the Year, 1994 as well as other awards. He was the subject of an Ebony Magazine article in 1982, as well as the subject of a Black Entertainment Network documentary in 1994. Powe discusses his career playing, coaching, and scouting for baseball teams; race relations; and the civil rights movement.
10 September 1999
Oral history.; Born to Denton and Odelier Jones Sr. on June 8, 1926, Odelier Morgan began her life on a plantation in Bolivar County, Mississippi, one of twelve children. She and her family were sharecroppers, and her parents also did day work to supplement their meager incomes. The children attended school at a local church through eighth grade. After completing the eighth grade, Ms. Morgan stayed at home helping her family make a living. In 1958, Ms. Morgan began working at Delta State University in the laundry, making $19 a week. She has worked at Delta State University for forty-two years at this writing. Ms. Morgan enjoys attending her church and being active in its affairs.
11 July 2000