Mississippi Moments Podcast

Mississippi Moments, a weekly radio program airing on Mississippi Public Broadcasting, is a partnership between the University of Southern Mississippi Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage, the Mississippi Humanities Council, and MPB.

The Podcasts

In 1983, a hazardous-waste disposal company attempted to build a toxic waste dump in the town of Shuqualak in Noxubee County, Mississippi. In this episode, Martha Blackwell describes how local citizens organized to fight back and were able to have a five year moratorium placed on chemical disposal sites in Mississippi.

 In 1991, after the moratorium expired, plans were announced to construct three toxic waste facilities in Noxubee County.  Blackwell recalls how she learned about a hazardous-waste dump to be constructed on her neighbor’s land. She details how their group fought to keep these facilities out of Noxubee county and why they felt that having three high capacity sites would lead to waste from across the country being brought to Mississippi for disposal.

In a podcast extra, Blackwell credits the Choctaw Indians with preventing the plans to construct a dump site on reservation land.


Direct download: MSM_449.mp3
Category:Conservation -- posted at: 1:48 PM

Charlie Barrett is the former Mayor of Shuqualak (Sugar Lock). It this episode, he recounts the story of how his great grandfather donated the land for the train station. He also recalls how the farmers would bring their cotton to be ginned on Saturday mornings and stay all day.

As a boy, Barrett knew all of the merchants in Shuqualak.  He remembers one who would speak to him in Choctaw. Years later, Barrett, now a young business owner himself, struggled to make ends meet until one day, an old merchant made him the offer of a lifetime.

Photo credit: hickoryridgestudio49.blogspot.com

Direct download: MSM_448.mp3
Category:Mississippi History -- posted at: 3:19 PM

John Ellzie Carr joined the Tupelo Police Department in 1921 and served as the town's chief of police from 1925 until 1952.  In this episode, Dudley Carr remembers his father’s natural talent for law enforcement. He recalls the city’s primitive jail and even more primitive alarm system.

In 1932, the infamous bank robber, Machine Gun Kelly held up the Citizen’s National Bank of Tupelo. Dudley Carr explains how the robbery inspired the city to buy its own Thompson submachine gun.

In a podcast extra, Carr looks back with pride at his father’s legacy and what it’s meant to his own career.


Direct download: MSM_447.mp3
Category:Mississippi History -- posted at: 4:37 PM

Emma Foret was the wife of a Navy hospital corpsman. In this episode she recalls their life together and how she and the children coped with her husband’s absence.

She also discusses the special bond between the Navy and Marine Corp and how the wives of these servicemen depended on each other.

PODCAST EXTRA: Even in times of peace, conflicts can arise at a moment’s notice.  Foret remembers her husband’s role in two such events and how the Navy kept the families informed.

Direct download: MSM_446.mp3
Category:Military History -- posted at: 4:22 PM

Mary Louise Tarver was born in 1918 on Elm’s Court Plantation in Natchez.  In this episode, she recalls her Uncle Will’s garden and his prickly relationship with her mother.

Growing up on a farm taught Mary Louise Tarver to enjoy simple pleasures.  She remembers riding horseback to the Homochitto Swamp to spend the day fishing.

For Mary Louise Tarver, farm life meant learning to be self-sufficient. She describes how her mother would use apple peels to make vinegar, and use the vinegar to make pickles.

PODCAST EXTRA: During the Great Depression, some schools began serving students a hot lunch using food items provided by government.  Tarver recalls how the lunch lady did the best she could with what she had on hand.


Direct download: MSM_444.mp3
Category:foodways -- posted at: 4:36 PM

At the beginning of the Twentieth Century, Italian emigrants were encouraged to come to the Mississippi Delta to farm. In this episode, John Bassie of Bolivar County shares his family’s story of coming to America and how they taught him to love their adopted country.

For those Italian emigrants who made a home in the Mississippi Delta, the Fourth of July was always a big deal. Bassie recalls how his family celebrated with lots of eating and singing. He remembers those Independence Day celebrations as a cultural melting pot of food, music, and fun that involved the entire community.

Photo: Digital Public Library of America

Direct download: MSM_445.mp3
Category:Mississippi History -- posted at: 4:06 PM

Dr. Rodney Bennett was named President of The University of Southern Mississippi on February 7, 2013. In this episode, he discusses how he felt when an EF-4 tornado decimated the campus three days later.

Bennett was happily serving as Vice President of Student Affairs at the University of Georgia when he was selected as USM’s 10th President. He recalls accepting the position with a sense of purpose.

The morning after the tornado struck, Bennett addressed the 900 students, faculty and staff that had gathered to assist with the cleanup. He remembers searching for the right words to say on the ride over.

Podcast Extra:  Bennett credits USM’s recovery since the storm to loyal alumni like Chuck Scianna.  He stresses the importance of graduating eagles returning to the nest.

Direct download: MSM_443.mp3
Category:Mississippi History -- posted at: 1:09 PM

Stone Barefield of Hattiesburg ran for the State House of Representatives in 1959. In this episode, he remembers his campaign committee and the only speech he ever wrote. He also discusses the days before televised debates, when politicians relied on “stump speeches” to get their message to the voters.

Running for state representative of Forrest County meant doing a lot of walking.  Barefield remembers meeting good folks and eating good food.

According to Barefield, South Mississippi was not being fairly represented in those days.  In this podcast extra, he discusses House Speaker Walter Sellers and the fight for reapportionment. 

In later years, Barefield pushed legislation for the establishment of the Longleaf Trace fittness trail, a rails-to-trails conversion of 41 miles of abandoned railroad track between Hattiesburg and Prentiss.


Direct download: MSM_442.mp3
Category:Mississippi History -- posted at: 3:57 PM

Prior to 1936, Highway 49 was a narrow, twisting, gravel road. In this episode, Chrysteen Flynt of D’lo, recalls learning to drive on Old 49 back in 1922.

For years,  Flynt served as the unofficial historian for the town of D’lo. She notes that the rocky banks of the Strong River there were home to a water-driven sawmill as well as a meeting place for the Choctaws.

The origins of the name D’lo have always been a source of debate for residents and visitors alike. Flynt, attempts to set the record straight.

The D’lo’s largest employer was the Finkbine Lumber Company. In this podcast extra, Flynt remembers the YMCA the company built for the town and the silent movies that played there.


Direct download: MSM_441.mp3
Category:Mississippi History -- posted at: 5:52 PM

On September 29th, 1915, a category four hurricane made landfall near Grand Isle, Louisiana, killing 275 people. In this episode, Jim Kelly of English Lookout recalls the town’s largest employer and the aftermath of the storm. He remember how the factory used to produce crushed oyster shells by the trainload and how the hurricane changed all that.

Kelly was 10 years old when the hurricane destroyed the school and most of the homes in English Lookout.  He explains why he wasn’t able to return to school until two years later.

In this Podcast Extra, Kelly describes how they would unload oysters from the schooners and roll them in railcars into the factory steamers.

Direct download: MSM_440.mp3
Category:Gulf Coast history -- posted at: 4:22 PM