Here is our gift to you, our loyal listeners: 30 minutes of our annual Roots Reunion Show recorded live Saturday, December 3rd at the historic Saenger Theater in downtown Hattiesburg. The show features traditional music from Mississippi and the surrounding area. This month's show included bluegrass byour house band, The Patchwork String Band, the traditional music of Doug and Rhonda Webb, Irish folk singer Jim Flanagan, Jazz by Heather and the Monkey King, and more bluegrass by Delta Reign. You can get a CD of the entire show FREE with your paid membership to the Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage by going to http://www.usm.edu/oral-history/become-member .
Historic Mobile Street in downtown Hattiesburg was for many years the hottest strip for live music outside of Bourbon Street in New Orleans. It was on Mobile Street in 1947 a young guitarist named Tommie Pruitt began a career that has lasted 64 years and counting.
Pruitt recalls learning to play on a homemade guitar and how his father earned money as a street musician.
Taken from an interview provided by the Mississippi Arts Commission's Folklife Archive.
In the early sixties, NASA decided to construct a rocket engine test facility in
Lee Paul of Bay St. Louis was part of a team of engineers sent to test how the noise would affect the surrounding area. He recalls the massive horn they used and the community’s reaction to the tests. Paul also recounts how area wildlife inspired the names of some of the roads.
As a boy in Nesbit, Kenny Brown had a hard time learning to play the guitar. That changed when blues legend, Mississippi Joe Callicott, moved next door.
Years later, Brown befriended another blues legend, R.L. Burnside. Brown recalls playing with Burnside and his first trip to a juke joint.
Brown also demonstrates the difference between the Hill Country blues of
As a boy, Hattiesburg resident, Jimmy Swan dreamed of performing on the Grand Ole Opry. He tells the story of how he ran away from home at the age of 13 and a young man he met named Hank Williams.
Randy Yates of Oxford is co-owner of the Ajax Diner on the Square. He recalls growing up in Jackson and the restaurants that influenced his decision to go into food service. He also details the foods offered at the Ajax Diner and why he feels it's important to have a wide variety.
When Monica Williams flad her home city of New Orleans, after Hurricane Katrina, she decided to make Jackson her new home. Soon, Williams became the cafeteria chef for Saint Therese Catholic School. She discusses adapting her traditional New Orleans dishes to meet the nutritional needs of the children.
Retired Lt. General Russell Honoré lead the recovery operation in his home state of
Following WWII, advances in modern farming methods meant fewer jobs for rural Mississippians. In response, the Tupelo Community Development Foundation was formed to bring industrial jobs to
Before the advent of the self-service filling station in the 1970s, there was the full-service gas station. Here, uniformed attendants pumped gas, checked your car’s fluids, and even washed the windshield.
James and Ruby Wentworth of Meadville operated such a station during the 1940s. She recalls the demands of being a working wife and mother.
In 1955, director Elia Kazan came to
In December of 1941, with war in the Pacific looming, a series of Naval Construction Battalions were established. Known as Seabees, they were responsible for building the bridges, airstrips, roads and buildings needed by our troops. Dr. Patrick Gill of Macon, Mississippi explains how he became a Seabee. He remembers the hot and difficult conditions of the Philippines.
Like many blues musicians, Willie Jordan of Rose Hill, was taught how to play by family members. Jordan discusses the impact music has had on his life and the universal truths contained within the blues.
Blues Musician, Melvin Stacks of Picayune, recalls growing up poor and talks about his early influences. He also discusses his vocal techniques and the importance of warming up.
Broadcasting pioneer, Jobie Martin, was discouraged from playing sports as a child by his mother. He recounts the remarkable story of how he began playing football for Jackson State University (then Jackson College) at the age of 40--a feat that earned him a place in the JSU Sports Hall of Fame!
After working in Chicago for twelve years as an assistant pathologist, Jobie Martin came home to Mississippi to help his mother. He details how a job at the Gulfport Airport led to a remarkable career in broadcasting.
For many people, music is a family tradition. Blues guitarist Vasti Jackson of Hattiesburg recalls how family influenced his decision to play the blues. He also discusses growing up in McComb with neighbors like Wakefield "Big Moody" Coney.
For many years after the repeal of Prohibition, Mississippi remained a ‘dry’ state. Rev. John Perkins of New Hebron recalls how his family made ends meet by selling moonshine whiskey. He explains the difference between ‘homebrew’ and ‘moonshine.’
Retired Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Robert P. Sugg wanted to be a pilot during WWII. He recalls how a perforated ear drum prevented him from serving. He discusses his early career.
In World War II, all-black combat units such as the Tuskegee Airmen gained widespread recognition for their service. However, most black soldiers served in support units away from the front line. Lee Spearman of Bay Springs describes the frustration of being assigned to such a unit. Spearman details the close proximity of the Pacific island battles and the death of American war correspondent, Ernie Pyle.
Many stories surround the naming of the town of D’Lo. Long-time resident Chrysteen Flynt attempts to set the record straight. She also shares her memories of growing up there.
Many Italian immigrants settled in the Mississippi Delta bringing their culture and traditions with them. John Bassie of Cleveland, MS recalls how his family celebrated the 4th of July, Italian style.
Growing up during World War II, Lynn Cartlidge of Hattiesburg found plenty of ways to earn money as a boy. He talks about his paper route, which ended up taking him to Camp Shelby.
Lee Davis of Hattiesburg shares his memories of growing up in a large and fun-loving family. He recalls practical jokes and holiday moments shared with loved ones.
In 1963, Dr. Gilbert Mason led a group of African-Americans into the waters of Biloxi beach. This wade-in, to protest the ‘whites only’ rule of the day, was met with violent resistance from white citizens and the police. Ethel Clay remembers how the youth got involved in the wade-ins and the measures taken for their safety. Clay reflects on the cost of standing up for civil rights and the progress that we’ve made as a nation.