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One Place, One Time: Jackson, Mississippi, 1963

Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops for School Teachers

Postmark Deadline: March 4, 2013

Two one-week workshops for eighty school teachers focused on the year 1963 in Jackson, Mississippi, with the murder of civil rights leader Medgar Evers and its aftermath.

After midnight on June 12, 1963, civil rights leader Medgar Evers was shot in his driveway in Jackson, Mississippi, just hours after President Kennedy had pledged his support for sweeping civil rights legislation in a televised address to the nation. By working "both backwards and forwards" from this focal point, this new workshop helps teachers to "understand the complex intersections of race and power, cultural change and resistance, institutions and individuals and to make these intersections vivid for their students." This project is led by Millsaps faculty members Suzanne Marrs and Stephanie Rolph, a historian of the civil rights era in the South. Myrlie Evers-Williams, Evers's widow, gives a keynote address on Sunday evening. Monday begins with an introductory lecture by Rolph, after which Mississippi civil rights movement veteran Leslie McLemore (political science, Jackson State University) leads a tour of civil rights sites, including the Medgar Evers House. The tour concludes at the Margaret Walker Alexander Center, where director Robert Luckett (history, Jackson State University) examines archival holdings with participants. The next day, biographer Michael Vinson Williams (history and African-American studies, Mississippi State University) discusses Evers's life, and staff at the Department of Archives and History introduce their Evers Papers and holdings from the Sovereignty Commission, a de facto intelligence organization. Reverend Edwin King, himself spied upon by the Sovereignty Commission, discusses his response to the opening of these papers, and on Wednesday details the roles of Tougaloo College (where he was chaplain in 1963) and Millsaps College (from which he graduated) in the "Jackson Movement." Participants explore works by Eudora Welty (including a story in the voice of the then-unidentified assassin) and learn about Welty's civil rights involvement in sessions led by Welty biographer Suzanne Marrs and in touring the Welty House with Marrs. On Thursday, former NEH councilmember Peggy Prenshaw discusses autobiographical writings by Myrlie Evers, Anne Moody, and Willie Morris, as well as other responses to the assassination (Margaret Walker Alexander's poems; Bob Dylan's song "Only a Pawn in Their Game"). The role of journalism "then and now" is taken up on Friday: Rolph leads participants in analyzing the press response to Evers's killing, and investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell discusses his 1993-1994 Jackson Clarion-Ledger articles looking back at the assassination, which spurred the reopening of the murder case against Byron de la Beckwith, convicted in 1994. Rolph then gives a concluding session on the legacy of 1963 Jackson, and participants share their research and curricular work from the week.

Dates: July 14–19 or July 21–26
Director(s): Suzanne Marrs and Stephanie Rolph
Grantee Institutions: Millsaps College
Location: Jackson, MS
Information:

About NEH Landmarks of American History: Workshops for School Teachers

The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent grant-making agency of the federal government. As part of the NEH’s We the People program, we offer the following Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops for School Teachers. NEH Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops provide the opportunity for K-12 educators to engage in intensive study and discussion of important topics in American history and culture. These one-week programs will give participants direct experiences in the interpretation of significant historical and cultural sites and the use of archival and other primary evidence. Landmarks Workshops present the best scholarship on a specific landmark or related cluster of landmarks, enabling participants to gain a sense of the importance of historical places, to make connections between what they learn in the Workshop and what they teach, and to develop enhanced teaching or research materials.

Amount of Award

Teachers selected to participate will receive a stipend of $1,200 at the end of the residential Workshop session. Stipends are intended to help cover living expenses, books, and travel expenses to and from the Workshop location.

Eligibility

These projects are designed principally for classroom teachers and librarians in public, charter, independent, and religiously-affiliated schools, as well as home schooling parents. Other K-12 school personnel, including administrators, substitute teachers, and classroom professionals, are eligible to participate, subject to available space.

Teachers at schools in the United States or its territorial possessions or Americans teaching in foreign schools where at least 50 percent of the students are American nationals are eligible for this program. Applicants must be United States citizens, residents of U.S. jurisdictions, or foreign nationals who have been residing in the United States or its territories for at least the three years immediately preceding the application deadline. Foreign nationals teaching abroad at non-U.S. chartered institutions are not eligible to apply.

Applicants must complete the NEH application and provide all of the information requested to be considered eligible.

New this year: An individual may apply to up to two NEH Summer Programs in any one year (Landmarks Workshops, Summer Seminars, or Summer Institutes), but may participate in only one. Please note that eligibility criteria differ significantly between the Landmarks Workshops and the Seminars and Institutes Programs.

How to Apply

Please e-mail, telephone or send by U.S. Post a request for application information and expanded Workshop descriptions to the Landmarks directors listed here; in many cases, these materials will also be available on project Web sites. You may request information about as many Workshops as you like, and, as noted above, you may apply to up to two programs but participate in only one.