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

MSM 458 George Hall - Mental Golf at the Hanoi Hilton

In 1965, George Hall of Hattiesburg was an Air Force reconnaissance pilot stationed in Thailand. In this episode, he recalls the day in September his plane was shot down over North Vietnam. Hall spent the next seven and a half years as a prisoner of war. He describes life at the infamous Hanoi Hilton and the torture he endured at the hands of his captors.

When he was finally released in 1973, it took time for Hall to readjust to life in Hattiesburg after so long a POW. He remembers being shocked by the price of a hamburger.

Unlike many Vietnam veterans, Hall returned home to a hero’s welcome. He discusses playing mental golf to pass the time and his discomfort with being called a “War Hero.”

Direct download: MSM_458.mp3
Category:Military History -- posted at: 9:43am CDT

MSM 457 - Dr. Andrew Wiest - The Boys of '67

In 1997, USM professor Andrew Wiest began teaching a class on Vietnam. In this episode, he recalls looking for ways to make history come alive for his students and the unexpected results of those efforts.

 After meeting Vietnam veteran John Young, Wiest was inspired to write The Boys of ’67. He details the writing process and the book’s impact on the men of Charlie Company and their families.

In 2014, the National Geographic Channel premiered The Boys of ’67, a documentary based on the book. Wiest explains how the project came about and the challenges it presented.

The documentary received Emmy Award nominations in four categories. In a podcast extra,  Wiest discusses the prospect of winning an Emmy and what it means for the men of Charlie Company.

Direct download: MSM_457.mp3
Category:Military History -- posted at: 2:23pm CDT

MSM 456 Thao

After the fall of South Vietnam in 1975, the Communists seized private property and issued new currency. In this episode Thao "Kim" Pham of Ocean Springs recalls how her mother traded all of their old money for gold so her husband and of nine of their twelve children could escape from Vietnam and start a new life.

Pham recounts how they used the occasion of her grandmother’s funeral to slip out of the country and escape by boat to Indonesia. She describes the standing-room-only conditions on the boat and how her father bribed their way into an Indonesian refugee camp where she spent the next year and a half missing her mother and wondering what would become of them.

It was almost two years before Pham was able to get word to her mother that their family was alive and well. Now the owner of several successful businesses in Ocean Springs, Pham discusses the mutual respect and admiration she and her mother share in a PODCAST EXTRA clip.

 PHOTO: Mylive007.blogspot.com        

Direct download: MSM_456.mp3
Category:Vietnamese History -- posted at: 10:50am CDT

MSM 455 Thriffiley and Coursey - Longleaf Pines and Prescription Burns

For thousands of years Native Americans used fire to manage the forests of South Mississippi. In this episode Ecologist, Tate Thriffiley explains why this practice was good for the longleaf pines and the entire ecosystem.

By 1930, virtually all of the longleaf pines in Mississippi had been harvested. Thriffiley describes the mistakes made in replanting the DeSoto National Forest and explains why a host of State and Federal agencies have teamed up with conservation groups to promote the planting of longleaf pines in Mississippi.

PODCAST EXTRA: Keith Coursey is the Prescription Forester on the DeSoto National Forest.  He recounts the history of the Forest Service and its evolving attitude towards fire.

PHOTO: South Carolina Dept of Natural Resources

Direct download: MSM_455.mp3
Category:Conservation -- posted at: 10:27am CDT

MSM 454 Kathleen Koch - This is My Home!

   CNN sent correspondent Kathleen Koch to Mobile, Alabama to ride out Hurricane Katrina. After the storm, when she was finally allowed to travel to her hometown, Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi, the level of devastation and suffering she witnessed was overwhelming.

   In this episode, Koch describes feeling intensely conflicted between the detachment her job required and the desire to cast aside her role as a reporter and do anything possible to alleviate the suffering she encountered.  She and crew decided to use their time off the air to search for the missing and help survivors.

   After Hurricane Katrina, South Mississippi residents came together in a spirit of cooperation and self-reliance.  Koch recalls a resourceful group of young people she met at their unauthorized shelter and a mad dash to Wal-Mart to bring them much needed supplies.

Direct download: MSM_454.mp3
Category:Gulf Coast history -- posted at: 10:23am CDT

MSM 453 John Hairston - Tens of Millions of Dollars in IOUs

John Hairston was the Chief Operations Officer for Hancock Bank in Gulfport, when in Fall of 2005, Hurricane Katrina threatened the coast. In this episode, he remembers preparing for a hit, but predicting a miss.

When Hancock Bank's corporate headquarters was wiped out, all of the bank’s records and computers were destroyed. Hairston explains how they were able to transfer all of their operations to Chicago within four days. Hairston recalls handing out tens of millions of dollars to anyone with an IOU and giving a new meaning to the phrase "money laundering."

Direct download: MSM_453.mp3
Category:Gulf Coast history -- posted at: 10:27am CDT

MSM 452 George Bass - The Katrina Game Plan

George Bass was the Long Beach Fire Chief when Hurricane Katrina struck the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 2005. In this episode, he remembers meeting with his men in the final hours before the storm and how he assured them that they would be okay. Bass describes how he and his fellow firemen hunkered down as the winds from Katrina threatened to bring the station down around them. He also explains how they fanned out looking for survivors even before the storm had passed

Afterwards, it was time for the cleanup to begin. Bass recalls feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of the task before them.

Direct download: MSM_452.mp3
Category:Gulf Coast history -- posted at: 10:54am CDT

MSM 451 Angelia Gray - Cooking for Katrina Evacuees

In August of 2005, Angelia Gray was the Food and Beverage Director of a Hattiesburg hotel.  In this episode, she explains how she and the rest of the hotel staff prepared for the arrival of Hurricane Katrina as the hotel began to fill up with evacuees.  Gray recalls riding out the storm and caring for their guests.

After Katrina was over, Gray had to cook for the all the guests.  She explains how she was able to feed so many people without electricity or water.

Of that experience, Gray remembers the spirit of cooperation among most of the guests and the bad behavior of a few.

Direct download: MSM_451.mp3
Category:Hurricane Katrina -- posted at: 10:52am CDT

MSM 450 - Hon. Tommy Longo - Waveland after Katrina

Tommy Longo was Mayor of Waveland when Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in August of 2005. In the episode, he remembers the city before storm and the devastation after.

As Hurricane Katrina made landfall in the early morning hours of August 29th, 2005, Longo and his family took shelter in the Waveland command post. He recalls the group’s struggle to survive as the floodwaters rose.

Longo was born and raised in the city of Waveland.  He discusses how Hurricane Katrina has changed the he thinks about his home town. He also recalls their efforts to convince everyone to evacuate the area and how he convinced one lady to leave her cats.

Photo Credit: photosfromkatrina.com


Direct download: MSM_450.mp3
Category:Gulf Coast history -- posted at: 10:34am CDT

MSM 449 Martha Blackwell - The Toxic Dump Wars

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: 8:48am CDT