Museum to Host ‘Let’s Move’ Family Activity Day

Drop-in session features trail walk, activities for all ages

Children can explore art and nature and enjoy the outdoors as part of the UM Museum’s ‘Let’s Move’ Family Activity Day. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Museum is hosting its latest “Let’s Move” Family Activity Day this weekend.

The drop-in event is set for 10 a.m. to noon Saturday (May 5) and will combine art and nature throughout the activities, designed for children of all ages. The event is free and open to the public.

Children will get to participate in artistic activities and explore nature along the Bailey’s Woods Trail.

“We hated to have to cancel in the fall due to rain, but we are really looking forward to using our imaginations to travel around the world as we explore the trail,” said Emily McCauley, the museum’s curator of education.

The museum has partnered with RebelWell to provide free Oxsicles, healthy frozen treats made with fresh ingredients and sweetened with honey, to the first 100 people to arrive.

The theme is inspired by the Let’s Move campaign launched in 2010 by first lady Michelle Obama to combat childhood obesity. The museum has been participating in the initiative since 2011, using interactive exhibits and outdoor spaces to engage children.

A parent or guardian must accompany all children during the program. The museum’s Family Activity Days are sponsored by Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi and an Ignite Ole Miss crowdfunding campaign.

For more information, contact McCauley at esdean@olemiss.edu or 662-915-7073.

Third Annual Pride Weekend Begins May 3

Events include a parade, performances and a graduation ceremony

Oxford Pride Weekend features several events, including a Pride Parade on Saturday (May 5). Photo by Kevin Cozart

OXFORD, Miss. – The third annual Lafayette-Oxford-University Pride Weekend features events May 3-5 throughout the city of Oxford and the University of Mississippi campus.

The event, organized by the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies and OutOxford, has grown each year with support from businesses and allies to the LGBTQ community. Other partners include The Lyric, Proud Larry’s, Oxford Film Festival and the Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement.

Pride Weekend began in 2016 when Ole Miss students approached Isom Center director Jaime Harker wanting a celebration in the city. Harker said reaching those teenagers and young adults who have faced hardships is the motivating factor for these inclusive events.

“Pride Weekend has become part of who we are in Oxford, and we’re going to make that commitment clear,” Harker said. “It matters more deeply than I think people realize. We want to celebrate that it’s fantastic to be who you are.

“We want these kids to know they’re important and we invite people who feel the same way to show up.”

The theme of this year’s parade is “Can’t Stop the Beat,” a response to setbacks of the LGBTQ community and its ongoing resilience.

The first year of the parade, more than half the marchers were allies, and this support means so much to LGBTQ students and community members, Harker said.

“It’s touching for those kids to be greeted by people showing up and cheering as they march to the Square,” she said. “The support is symbolic, but symbols matter. It’s a little thing that has a huge effect.

“This shows what we’ve done and is a huge success for the city of Oxford and the university. It tells people that they can be who they are right here.”

Events will also include a ticketed benefit dinner Friday (May 4) at City Grocery with James Beard nominee and LGBTQ rights activist Bill Smith. Smith is a chef known for his restaurant Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and has received accolades for his culinary skills. He has designed an exclusive menu for the fundraiser featuring collaborations with chefs John Currence and Vish Bhatt and desserts by Austin Agent.

Reservations can be made directly with City Grocery for 6 or 8 p.m. All proceeds will benefit the Isom LGBTQ Arts, Culture and Community Development Fund.

Here is a full schedule of events:

Thursday (May 3)

Oxford Film Fest Pride Screening: Upstairs Inferno – 6 to 8 p.m., Powerhouse Community Arts Center. The film highlights the Up Stairs Lounge, a New Orleans gay bar that was set afire June 24, 1973. It was the largest gay mass murder in U.S. history for 43 years. A discussion follows.

Code Pink: Rainbow Birthday Bash – 9:30 p.m., Proud Larry’s. OutOxford invites everyone to dance the night away and celebrate individuality. Code Pink will feature drag queen shows and other special performances. The cover charge is $7 at the door for the first 100 people and $10 for the rest of the night. The event is for ages 18 and older.

Friday (May 4)

Lavender Graduation – 4 p.m., Ole Miss Student Union Ballroom. This third annual ceremony is a cultural celebration to recognize the achievements and contribution of LGBTQ students.

Pride Concert: Beach House – 7 p.m., The Lyric Oxford. General admission tickets are $25, and $1 per ticket will go toward the Isom Center. They can be purchased at https://www.thelyricoxford.com.

Saturday (May 5)

Oxford Pride Parade – 2 p.m., downtown Oxford. Participants will meet at the University-Oxford Depot parking lot at 12:30 p.m. to line up. The parade will begin at Presidential Debate Way, travel along University Avenue to South Lamar, around the Square and end at the Depot. All are welcome to line up along the parade route or march to show their support.

Pride Fundraiser: Let’s Make a Wheel of Bingo and Drag Show – 7:30 p.m., The Lyric Oxford. The comedy show features New Orleans Todd Thunder followed by a drag show with New Orleans artist Coca Mesa, Miss Oxford Pride 2017 Baby Holliday and Tupelo’s Kiera Mason. Tickets are $40 at https://www.thelyricoxford.com. Students tickets are $25 at the Lyric box office with a student ID.

For more information, visit https://www.oxfordpride.rocks/.

Student-curated Exhibit Open at J.D. Williams Library

Display of artifacts spanning 10,000 years available for viewing through summer

The artifacts, which span 10,000 years of native life in Mississippi, will be available for viewing throughout the summer. Photo by Marlee Crawford/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi anthropology students have curated an exhibit of stone artifacts that are on display at the J.D. Williams Library.

The exhibit features a grasshopper effigy bead, arrowheads, chunky stones, axes and a ceramic human effigy from the Calvin S. Brown Collection, managed by the university’s Center for Archaeological Research. Brown, a modern languages professor at UM in the early 1900s, acquired objects from archaeological sites across the state for the university.

The curated objects are in a display case in the reading room of the library’s Department of Archives and Special Collections. The exhibit will remain through the summer.

Students curated the exhibit during the fall semester as part of Anthropology 309: Archaeology of the Southeast and Mississippi. They chose each object to display, worked on descriptions for each and designed the display.

Maureen Meyers, assistant professor of anthropology, taught the course to give students a more hands-on learning experience.

“Unlike a traditional paper, this project allowed students to use these valuable collections by identifying the objects and researching each, then learning how to present that information to the public,” Meyers said. “Students found the experience both unique and invaluable because it allowed them to learn about how items displayed and also how they used by native peoples.”

The items on display span 10,000 years of native life in Mississippi.

“When Dr. Meyers approached me with this idea, I felt it was a perfect fit for the department and would showcase an extremely important subject through rare artifacts,” said Jennifer Ford, head of special collections. “In addition, having UM students work on the exhibit was a wonderful experience for us, as it is one of the first student-curated displays held in special collections.”

Ford and Meyers presented the students with information about how to create an engaging exhibit by telling stories and making people want to learn more.

Brandon Fassinger, a senior from Phoenix who is double majoring in history and anthropology, said he enjoyed how the course incorporated real archaeological work in a classroom setting.

Students worked in the archaeology lab when not in the classroom to determine the use and function of the artifacts that would eventually be in the exhibit. Fassinger and his classmates used digital scales and calipers to precisely determine the dimensions and weight of each artifact.

“This part was really my favorite because it was really hands-on and engaging,” he said.

The students then decided which pieces represented cultural aspects of Mississippian society to put on display.

Fassinger said the experience gave him extensive knowledge of Southeastern archaeology and ancient Native American people and was a major factor in his decision to add anthropology as a second major.

“I learned more about archeology from this class than I ever had before,” he said. “I really felt like I was learning how the research was done, and I’ve come to respect the man hours put into these large-scale projects and curation in general.”

For more information on research, educational and outreach programs in archaeology at Ole Miss, visit http://car.olemiss.edu.

Art Students Display Emotions of ‘Macbeth’ in Video Installation

Project is available for viewing through the end of the week

OXFORD, Miss. – The Department of Art and Art History at the University of Mississippi is hosting a collaborative video installation this week at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

Students in a digital video course created “The Color of Tragedy,” which was themed around the Ole Miss Theatre production of “Macbeth.” The students focused on the variety of emotions found in “Macbeth” and created a looping video to convey those emotions.

“The students really committed to this project, and we were all thrilled to be able to show their efforts within the Ford Center,” said Valerie Guinn Polgar, art and art history instructor.

Each video is displayed in a grid format, inspired by the Rubik’s Cube, and will be available for viewing in the Ford Center lobby through the end of the week (April 27).

University Launches New IMC Online Graduate Degree Program

Students can enroll in graduate degree program this fall

Students can earn an IMC graduate degree online through a new program. The application deadline is July 31. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Interested professionals can earn a graduate degree in integrated marketing communication completely online through the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi starting in August.

This program is designed to give mid-career professionals an opportunity to learn how to use communication to connect people and organizations, without having to uproot their lives to become full-time students on a college campus. It also is opening the school’s programs to students around the world.

The master’s program in integrated marketing communication allows online students to take the same courses as residential students, with the only differences being the flexibility of delivery and the sequence of the courses.

“Demand is high for advanced study in how to integrate communication efforts to influence people’s behavior, but moving to Oxford to complete a graduate degree is quite difficult for people who are working full time and have other obligations,” said Robert Magee, program director and assistant professor of IMC.

Students can complete the 36-credit-hour degree program in two years by taking courses throughout the fall, spring and summer semesters.

“Because the online program is designed for people who are working full time, courses will be offered one at a time in the half-semesters and summer sessions,” Magee said. “This will enable a student to focus energy on each course and advance in a systematic way.”

The curriculum combines theory, insight and real-world application in the areas of audience research, analytics, creative production and brand strategy.

The demand for more education in the constantly changing industry of IMC is national and international, and this is the most effective way for professionals to pursue this degree, said Will Norton, UM journalism dean.

“We have partnerships in other nations with universities and schools that would like their graduates and students to be able to pursue our graduate degree program in integrated marketing communication,” Norton said.

Graduates are prepared for leadership roles in advertising and public relations agencies, corporations, media, nonprofit organizations, health care, political communication and sports.

The university’s IMC program was introduced in 2012 for undergraduate and graduate studies. Ole Miss is one of just a few institutions to offer this type of specialized degree, which has resulted in tremendous increase in student enrollment within the journalism school during the last six years.

Faculty members hope this program will offer unique opportunities for students, no matter where they live.

“People around the world will gain access to the knowledge and skills they need to influence behavior,” Magee said.

The application deadline is July 31. To apply for the program, click here. To learn more about the journalism and IMC programs at Ole Miss, visit https://meek.olemiss.edu.

UM Native American Artifacts on Display in New Orleans

Six pots from campus collection are part of the Historic New Orleans Collection's exhibit

These ceramic objects from UM’s Davies collection, dating back to 1400, were used by Native Americans in the Mississippi Valley. The objects are on display at The Historic New Orleans Collection. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology has loaned six ceramic vessels from its collection to The Historic New Orleans Collection for an exhibit about this region of the country.

This is the first time the department has loaned these objects for display by a non-university entity. Each artifact is part of the “New Orleans, the Founding Era” exhibit, which celebrates the 300th anniversary of the founding of the city beginning with Native American groups of the area through European arrival and the forced migration of enslaved people.

The native objects loaned by the university are from the Walls site in northwest Mississippi and date back to around the year 1200. Other items in the exhibit come from museums in Spain, France and Canada as well as from other U.S. institutions, including the Peabody Museum at Harvard University.

“We are very excited to be part of The Historic New Orleans Collection’s exhibit on display in the French Quarter,” said Robbie Ethridge, professor of anthropology. “We hope this will allow our collection to gain some exposure to generate interest and let people know what we have here at the university.”

Ethridge was instrumental in allowing these objects to be on display at THNOC. She was initially contacted to write descriptions of several artifacts already in the exhibit and suggested THNOC also exhibit these pots, which were most likely used as part of rituals and religion for Native Americans.

“This exhibition offers visitors an opportunity to reflect on the complicated and often messy nature of New Orleans’s birth and early years,” said Erin M. Greenwald, historian and exhibition curator. “It examines the lived experiences of the settlement’s earliest inhabitants, a majority of whom – including French and Canadian soldiers, French convicts and enslaved Africans – were unwilling participants in France’s colonization of the lower Mississippi Valley.”

These ceramic effigy vessels are on loan to The Historic New Orleans Collection by UM’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology. The vessels are on display through the end of May. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

The Center for Archaeological Research at UM houses an extensive collection of 1,300 boxes filled with objects from more than 500 sites, many of which are Native American. The collection also includes Inuit artifacts, baskets and beadwork from Native Americans in the Southwest and military objects from the Civil War and World War I, among other items.

“It is exciting for the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Center for Archaeological Research to share these incredible resources with a wider audience,” said Maureen Meyers, assistant professor of anthropology. “We hope it spurs more interest in Mississippi’s native past and present communities and is the first of many more exhibits of our collection.”

The exhibit is on display through May 27 at The Historic New Orleans Collection, at 533 Royal St. Hours of operation are 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays and 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m Sundays.

For more information about the exhibit, visit https://www.hnoc.org/exhibitions/new-orleans-founding-era.

‘Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella’ Comes to Ford Center Tuesday

Tony Award-winning show features dazzling costumes and scenes from the classic fairy tale

Featuring dazzling costumes and musical numbers, the national touring production of ‘Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella’ comes to the Ford Center for a performance at 7:30 p.m. April 24. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts will host “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella” for one performance at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday (April 24).

The Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, from the creators of “The Sound of Music,” puts a contemporary twist on the classic fairy tale. Featuring dazzling costumes and scenes, the performance transports viewers back to their childhood through memorable moments, including the pumpkin, the glass slipper and the masked ball.

A live orchestra will perform some of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s most beloved songs, including “In My Own Little Corner” and “Ten Minutes Ago.”

Kate Meacham, Ford Center marketing director, said she is excited to bring this funny and romantic Broadway experience to Oxford.

“Cinderella is such a fun story, and this is the same production that won a Tony when it was on Broadway in 2013,” she said. “We are sure that our audiences will enjoy it and have a magical time.”

Tickets are available at the UM Box Office inside the Ford Center or online at https://olemissboxoffice.com/.

They are $75 for orchestra/parterre and tier 1 box levels, $69 for mezzanine and tier 2 box levels and $63 for the balcony level. A 10 percent discount is available for UM faculty, staff and retirees when tickets are purchased at the box office. UM student tickets are $25 for the orchestra/parterre level and $17 for the mezzanine/balcony level.

Ole Miss Theatre Presents ‘Macbeth’ this Weekend at the Ford Center

Performance is directed by Cynthia White of the Orlando Shakespeare Theater

UM students Riley McManus, as Macbeth, and Karen Ann Patti, as Lady Macbeth, perform in the Ole Miss Theatre production of ‘Macbeth’ this weekend at the Ford Center. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi theater students will bring Shakespeare’s tragedy “Macbeth” to life this weekend with a performance at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

The classic Shakespeare tale, set in medieval Scotland, chronicles the rise and fall of the warrior Macbeth and his wife, Lady Macbeth, as they lust for power and grab an easy opportunity to kill the reigning king, leading to a civil war in the kingdom.

The Ole Miss Theatre production opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday (April 20), but there are multiple chances to catch the show throughout the weekend. Performances are also set for 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

The production is led by guest director Cynthia White, from the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, whose expertise in Shakespearean tragedies creates a unique opportunity for both the student actors and audiences. White has directed several Shakespearean plays at regional theatres and universities across the country.

“I think it’s especially great that Ole Miss brought in a woman director for this large production at the Ford Center, since it’s important to give the students the opportunity to work with a wide range of professionals in their field – and after many years in the field, it still seems to be of note that I am a woman director,” White said.

Joe Turner Cantu, Ole Miss professor of theatre arts, taught White many years ago at Southern Methodist University. She has since directed him in two Shakespeare productions, and he recommended her to the department as a guest director because of her extensive knowledge.

“Last year I recommended Cynthia, first, because she is an exceptional director and, second, because I felt it would be great for our students to work with a professional female director,” Cantu said.

White hosted on-campus auditions in January and has cast 21 students in the production. The performance stays true to the story itself, but the design, costumes and lighting are influenced by the HBO drama “Game of Thrones.”

“In Shakespeare’s time, all the actors were men and costumes were basically their everyday Elizabethan clothing,” she said. “For our production, some of the warriors are women because some of the women in the theatre department are very good at working with the period weapons and because our world is more diverse than Shakespeare’s world was.”

White said she is creating a hybrid world that has strong elements of medieval Scotland, including violence, manipulation and immorality, all of which reflect the present day.

“It is nearly impossible to tell the tale of Macbeth without noticing certain similarities with our current world,” she said. “And that’s what makes theatre powerful: we tell old stories that shed light on our contemporary lives.”

Tickets are available at the UM Box Office inside the Ford Center or online at https://olemissboxoffice.com/. They are $21 for orchestra/parterre and tier 1 box levels, $18 for mezzanine and tier 2 box levels and $15 for the balcony level. A 20 percent discount is available for UM faculty, staff and retirees when tickets are purchased at the box office. All Ole Miss student tickets are $7.

Journalism Professor Releases Book Examining RFK’s Delta Visit

Ellen Meacham to sign copies new work Wednesday at Square Books.

Ellen Meacham

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi journalism professor Ellen Meacham details Robert F. Kennedy’s visit to the Mississippi Delta in 1967 in her new book “Delta Epiphany: RFK in Mississippi.”

Meacham’s book, published by University Press of Mississippi, examines the history, economics and politics of the Delta and how those factors influenced the lives of people whom Kennedy met there during that visit. She will sign copies at 5 p.m. Wednesday (April 18) at Square Books in Oxford.

The book was inspired by a description from fellow journalist Curtis Wilkie’s memoir of Kennedy in a dark shack trying to speak to a toddler who was paying more attention to crumbs on the floor.

“I wondered about the impact it had on Kennedy, because it’s mentioned as an important moment in all of his biographies,” Meacham said. “The next question I had was, ‘What happened to the baby?'”

After seven years of searching, Meacham found and interviewed children from the four families Kennedy encountered on his visit, including that toddler.

“As I got into the research, I realized pretty quickly that there was a big part of the story that had not been told,” she said. “Most of the contemporary news accounts and later historians had only looked at RFK on the stage. The people who were living the lives that moved him so were more of a ‘poverty stage set.'”

Meacham wanted to tell the stories of those people.

“It became very important to me to bring those families into the light and find out how they came to be in that place at that time, what struggles they faced and their accomplishments since,” she said. “I think it brings more balance.

“It’s not just a story of a hero or a saint, it’s about a real person meeting real people.”

The book also features about a dozen photos, including the cover, that are published for the first time.

“The photographs were essential to telling this story,” Meacham said. “They brought such a vivid realism that showed the impact of the visit on Kennedy in a powerful way.”

A working journalist for more than two decades, Meacham used her experience as a newspaper reporter in Mississippi, which gave her access to contacts within both politics and journalism in the state, putting her in a unique position to tell these stories.

“Ellen Meacham is a talented and perceptive journalist who recognized, nearly a half-century after the fact, the great impact of Robert Kennedy’s brief trip to the Mississippi Delta in 1967,” said Wilkie, a UM associate professor of journalism and fellow of the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics.

“It was a mission that changed his life, the tortured history of that region and the nation’s attitude toward hungry people in America. Though Ellen was not old enough to have been there, her investigation of the story has brought it back to life, and it is an example of her valuable work.”

Group Brings Discussions of Slavery, Historic Preservation to UM

Several events set for students, faculty, staff and community members

The UM Slavery Research Group is hosting Joseph McGill to talk about the preservation of slave dwellings. McGill will host an overnight stay in the old kitchen behind Rowan Oak for select students and faculty members. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Slavery Research Group will host several events April 18-22 that explore the stories of enslaved people in north Mississippi.

“Slave Dwellings: Rediscovering the Enslaved in North Mississippi” aims to discuss the narratives of the lives of enslaved people and the houses in which they lived.

“The goal of these events is to bring attention to the issue of slavery as it relates to the history of our campus,” said Jeffrey Jackson, UMSRG co-chair and associate professor of sociology. “We also hope to emphasize the importance of historical preservation and the need to preserve existing slave houses in the area.”

Jobie Hill, historic preservation architect, will deliver a lecture during a brown bag lunch on saving slave houses. Hill has conducted research to examine the homes of American slaves and started a database in 2012 to protect these structures and the information they provide to historians.

Slave Dwelling Project founder Joseph McGill also will deliver a presentation. The project’s mission is to raise awareness of these dwellings and assist with their preservation.

McGill, a descendant of slaves, had traveled to nearly 100 historic sites in more than 18 states to give lectures and spend the night in the slave dwellings.

“Now that I have the attention of the public by sleeping in extant slave dwellings, it is time to wake up and deliver the message that the people who lived in these structures were not a footnote in American history,” he said.

McGill will host an overnight stay for 12 Ole Miss history, sociology and anthropology students and faculty members in the old kitchen behind Rowan Oak.

“We hope that students who will be sleeping over with Joseph McGill will develop a deeper appreciation of what life was like for the enslaved and that this event will help us remember the legacies of slavery for our campus and our nation,” Jackson said.

This will be McGill’s fifth visit to the UM campus.

“He is looking forward to the opportunity to discuss preserving structures where slaves lived,” said Chuck Ross, UMSRG co-chair and director of African American studies. “His visits to these locations are helping to facilitate discussions about the institution of slavery, more importantly and specifically about the lives of the slaves themselves.”

The Slavery Research Group also will conduct a campus tour, detailing the history of slavery on campus.

The UMSRG has also partnered with the city of Holly Springs for this year’s “Behind the Big House” programming. The preservation initiative is aimed at interpreting the legacy of slavery through educational efforts and examination of historic sites.

This year’s focus is the Hugh Craft House, its slave quarters and kitchen on Memphis Street in Holly Springs. McGill will return to the site to spend the night in the structures.

Carolyn Freiwald, assistant professor of anthropology, will take students to the site to conduct an excavation of the slave quarters and kitchen area. A table exhibit of past finds at the site will be on display for the public.

The events are sponsored by the UM Slavery Research Group, Center for the Study of Southern Culture, Preserve Marshall County, Holly Springs Inc. and the Whiting Foundation.

Here is a full schedule of events that are free and open to the public:

Wednesday (April 18)

Saving Slave Houses – Noon, Barnard Observatory Tupelo Room

Slavery on Campus History Tour – 2 p.m., meet at the Department of Archives and Special Collections on the third floor of the J.D. Williams Library

The Slave Dwelling Project – 4 p.m., Barnard Observatory Tupelo Room

Friday (April 20)

Slavery in Antebellum North Mississippi – 4 p.m., Holly Springs Depot, 540 Van Dorn Ave., Holly Springs. Max Grivno, University of Southern Mississippi professor and historian, will deliver a lecture on his research.

For more information, visit http://slaveryresearchgroup.olemiss.edu/.