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Welcome to the Mississippi Writers Page Newsletter for February 14-20, 2003

In this issue:


The following events all happened during this week in Mississippi history.

1861: Jefferson Davis, a former U.S. senator from Mississippi, was inaugurated the first and only president of the Confederate States of America in Montgomery, Alabama, a month prior to Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration in Washington, D.C. (Feb. 18)

1870: The state of Mississippi was readmitted to the United States after the Civil War, the ninth state to do so. (Feb. 17)

1871: Writer Katherine Sherwood Bonner married Edward McDowell in Holly Springs, Mississippi. (Feb. 14)

1896: Writer Pearl Rivers died in an influenza epidemic in New Orleans. (Feb. 15)

1908: Sportcaster Walter Lanier “Red” Barber was born in Columbus, Mississippi. (Feb. 17)

1913: Lewis W. Walt, a writer and general in the U.S. Marine Corps, was born in Waubaunsee County, Kansas. (Feb. 16)

1925: William Faulkner published “Damon and Pythias Unlimited” in the New Orleans Times-Picayune. (Feb. 15)

1931: Writer Abe M. Tahir, Jr., was born in Greenwood, Mississippi. (Feb. 18)

1932: In Oxford, William Faulkner completed work on his novel Light in August. (Feb. 19)

1935: Novelist Ellen Gilchrist was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi. (Feb. 20)

1938: The Unvanquished, a novel by William Faulkner, was published by Random House. (Feb. 15)

1938: Science fiction writer David Houston was born in Tupelo, Mississippi. (Feb. 16)

1944: Novelist Richard Ford was born in Jackson, Mississippi. (Feb. 16)

1945: Writer Clifton L. Taulbert was born in Glen Allan, Mississippi. (Feb. 19)

1949: Jason Berry, writer and press secretary for Charles Evers during his campaign for the Mississippi governorship in 1971, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Feb. 20)

1954: George F. Paul, a writer and specialist in antique phonographs, was born in Oxford, Mississippi. (Feb. 19)

1956: Tennessee Williams received notification from the Group Theatre in New York City that he had been awarded $100 for three one-act plays under the title American Blues which included “Moony’s Kid Don’t Cry,” “The Dark Room,” and “The Case of the Crushed Petunias.” Williams had listed his birth year as 1914 in order to qualify for the contest limited to those aged 25 and under. He was actually 28 years old at the time. (Feb. 20)

1957: William Faulkner went to the University of Virginia for his second semester as writer-in-residence. (Feb. 15)

1960: English professor and novelist Margaret McMullan was born in Newton, Mississippi. (Feb. 19)

1979: English professor Richmond Pugh Bond died in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Feb. 15)

1979: Crimes of the Heart, a play by Beth Henley, was first produced in Louisville, Kentucky, by Actors Studio. (Feb. 18)

1984: Eudora Welty’s One Writer’s Beginnings was published by Harvard University Press in Cambridge. (Feb. 20)

2002: Hunting Season by Nevada Barr was published. (Feb. 18)


Pulitzer Prize-nominated author Clifton Taulbert reads on University of Mississippi campus Feb. 17

Feb. 13, 2003

By Deidra Jackson
University of Mississippi News Services


Clifton Taulbert

OXFORD, Miss. — Pulitzer Prize-nominated author and lecturer Clifton L. Taulbert, acclaimed for his best seller Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored, reads from his work Feb. 17 at the University of Mississippi.

Free and open to the public, the 7 p.m. reading is scheduled in Old Chemistry auditorium. From 5 to 6 p.m., Square Books in downtown Oxford hosts a book signing for the author. His visit is sponsored by the John and Rene Grisham Visiting Writers Series and the Department of English.

Taulbert, who grew up in the Mississippi Delta community of Glen Allan, writes and lectures about growing up in the segregated South. As president and founder of Building Community Institute in Tulsa, Okla., he speaks throughout the world on the timeless and universal ideas he encountered in his Delta experience.

In Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored, he describes his childhood spent in the “colored section” of the small rural town from 1946 to 1962. Although racial injustice was ever present, it isn’t the focus of his story, shaped from 150 short stories written over 10 years.

“The whole idea of Southern memoirs has been whitewashed,” said Ethel Young-Minor, a UM assistant professor of English and Afro-American Studies. “Taulbert is able to go back and create a culturally-informed memoir.

“The book has moved people because it talks about the South in a way we’re not used to. He critiques the system and records the past without fighting with it.”

His most recent book is The Journey Home: A Father’s Gift to His Son, a tender story about a father determined to help his affluent son understand some of the past’s forgotten values.

In addition to Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored, which was made into a feature film in 1996, Taulbert wrote Pulitzer-nominated The Last Train North, Watching Our Crops Come In, Eight Habits of the Heart and three children’s books illustrated by E.B. Lewis—Little Cliff and the Porch People, Little Cliff’s First Day of School and Little Cliff and the Cold Place.

An inspiring motivational speaker, Taulbert has delivered his concepts on the role of community to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Library of Congress and Harvard University, as well as to corporate clients such as Lockheed Martin, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and Ford-Mazda Auto Alliance.

He has received numerous writing awards, including the 27th annual NAACP Image Award for Literature. He was one of the first African-American writers to win the Mississippi Arts and Letters Award for Nonfiction and was named one of America’s outstanding black entrepreneurs by Time magazine.

He received a graduate degree from Southwest Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University and a bachelor’s degree from Oral Roberts University.

“Today I wear a label called ‘successful,’ but I would not be so if not for them, the leaders of my ‘colored’ community in Glen Allan, Miss., in the 1950s,” Taulbert wrote in an article for USA Weekend magazine. “Because they cared, shared their lives and trusted each other, they showed me the future. I never want to forget the basic ideals they practiced.”

For more information or assistance related to a disability, call the Department of English at 662-915-7439. This event is held in conjunction with “Open Doors,” the University of Mississippi’s yearlong observance of the 40th anniversary of its integration. View a full schedule on the Internet at

Do you have a news item about a Mississippi writer? Please send your information to


The following article was recently added to the Writer Listings:

NEW BOOKS by Mississippi Writers

The Journey Home The Journey Home: A Father’s Gift to His Son

By Clifton L. Taulbert

Council Oak Distribution (Hardcover, $15.95, ISBN: 157178117X)

Publication date: October 2002

Description from the publisher:

Clifton Taulbert wanted to give his twenty-year-old son Marshall a present that would carry lasting meaning. But how could he surpass the possessions and experiences Marshall already enjoyed—nice cars, spring break in Cancun? All light years from his own humble childhood in the rural south, recalled in his bestselling memoir, Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored.

The gift Taulbert decided to give his son wasn’t the one most twenty-year-olds would immediately appreciate: he would take his son on a journey home to meet the people of rural Glen Allan, Mississippi—neighbors and friends whose insights and kindnesses had nurtured Taulbert through his childhood.

This is the tale of a caring father determined to help his affluent son understand some of the meaning of family, community and love.

Little Cliff and the Cold Place Little Cliff and the Cold Place

By Clifton L. Taulbert, illustrations by E. B. Lewis

Dial Books for Young Readers (Hardcover, $16.99, ISBN: 0803725582)

Publication date: September 2002

Description fromSchool Library Journal:

(Kindergarten-Grade 2) Little Cliff loves to look at maps and hear about places far away from his small, rural Mississippi town. His imagination is especially captured by his teacher’s description of the Arctic. He begs his great-grandfather to take him there so that he can see the snow houses, the children riding on sleds pulled by dogs, and people fishing in the ice. Poppa Joe explains that the few inches on a map can represent a great distance, shows him a book about the Arctic, and takes him to visit Mr. Jacob, who shows him photographs of his long-ago trip to Alaska. The next day, Poppa takes him to the one cold place in town-an icehouse. He puts several live fish in a bucket and gives Little Cliff a string and hook. “Now you can fish, jest like them boys in Alaska,” he says. “And you’ll be able to tell yore teacher that yore Poppa took you to the cold place after all.” The warm intergenerational relationships and the encouragement of intellectual curiosity and imagination are engaging. The ending is humorously satisfying with Poppa’s clever solution to the boy’s desire to go ice fishing. Lewis’s fresh watercolor illustrations are especially effective in evoking the loving relationship between the dignified African-American Poppa Joe and his great grandson. This sequel to the earlier “Little Cliff” titles stands well on its own. —Adele Greenlee, Bethel College, St. Paul, MN. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Separate but EqualSeparate, But Equal: The Mississippi Photographs of Henry Clay Anderson

By Henry Clay Anderson, with an essay by Clifton L. Taulbert

PublicAffairs (Hardcover, $35.00, ISBN: 1586480928)

Publication date: November 2002

Description from Publishers Weekly:

“I received my first camera when I was about nine years old,” Anderson writes in one of the five essays accompanying this collection of his work. “I tried to catch pictures of people, cats, trees, houses, whatever was interesting to me as a little boy.” After studying photography on the GI Bill, Anderson opened a studio in Greenville, Mississippi, in 1948. This slim volume presents 130 or so straightforward but affecting photos of a conservative, respectable, and separate African-American world during the Jim Crow years. Anderson documents children in their Sunday best, a postman, a majorette, a white-frocked girl posing next to a birthday cake with six candles, teenaged bathing beauties parading in front of a crowd, a group shot of the Rabbit Foot Minstrels (“The Greatest Colored Show on Earth”) and weddings and funerals. The pictures show a way of life that, for obvious reasons, will not inspire nostalgia, but which certainly had its share of dignity and beauty. And to young would-be photographers, Anderson advised: “Try to show not the picture only, but show the person who had the ambition. And if he’s showing it, he shows himself.” —Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Jackpot BayJackpot Bay

By Martin Hegwood

St. Martin’s/Minotaur (Hardcover, $23.95, ISBN: 0312280963)

Publication date: November 2002

Description from Publishers Weekly:

The “Redneck Riviera,” aka the Mississippi coast, provides the sultry setting for Jackpot Bay, the fourth Jack Delmas novel (Massacre Island, etc.) from Martin Hegwood, senior attorney for the secretary of state’s office of Mississippi. With a deadly gun battle at the Jackpot Bay casino, a sexy security auditor and a rock concert besieged by fundamentalists, Jack has plenty to straighten out in this fast-paced, hard-edged thriller. Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Mississippi: An Illustrated History Mississippi: An Illustrated History

By Edward N. Akin and Charles C. Bolton

American Historical Press (Hardcover, $32.95, ISBN: 1892724332)

Updated edition; first published in 1987

Publication date: November 2002


This updated history of Mississippi chronicles the saga of the Magnolia State through all of its trials and triumphs, bringing to life the colorful events and personalities that have shaped the life and character of Mississippi. From its exciting past to its vibrant present, this book traces the state’s development from its earliest times, through the expedition of Hernando De Soto, the bloody Civil War, the devastating flood of 1927, through today’s challenges, to form an unequalled portrait. The book features more than 350 photos, drawings, etchings, and paintings collected and captioned by Bolton and Patti Carr Black.

AUTHOR EVENTS: Book Signings, Readings, and Appearances

Feb. 17: Old Chemistry Auditorium, University of Mississippi campus, Oxford, Mississippi, 7 p.m.

Clifton L. Taulbert, author of the acclaimed classic Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored, will speak. This event is in conjunction with Open Doors, the University of Mississippi’s yearlong observance of the 40th anniversary of the integration of higher education. Sponsored by the John and Renee Grisham Visiting Writers Series and the English Department. For more information, contact the department at (662) 915-7439, or online at

Feb. 17: That Bookstore in Blytheville, Blytheville, Arkansas

Novelist John Grisham will sign copies of his latest novel, The King of Torts. For details, visit the bookstore web site,

Feb. 20: Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi, 5:30 p.m.

Mystery writer Nevada Barr will appear to read from Flashback as part of Thacker Mountain Radio. Also appearing will be poet Sterling D. Plumpp. For more information, visit the Thacker Mountain web site,

Feb. 21-22: The University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi

“The Blues Today: A Living Blues Symposium” will take place at the University of Mississippi to honor “the year of the blues” and the anniversary of Living Blues magazine. Among those who will participate are critic Stanley Crouch, blues artists Bobby Rush and Willie King, and poet Sterling D. Plumpp. For complete details and registration information, visiti the symposium web site,

If you know of upcoming literary events by or about Mississippi writers, please let us know by writing us at 


NEH Summer Seminar: Faulkner and Southern History

Historian Don H. Doyle at Vanderbilt University is leading a six-week seminar for college and university instructors at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, from June 9-July 11, 2003. The seminar will culminate with a two-day tour of Oxford and Lafayette County. Deadline for applications is March 3, 2003. For full information and application instructions, visit the seminar web site:

Call for Papers: “Sideshow Wonders: Carnivals, Parades, Pageants, and Fairs in Eudora Welty’s Works.”

South Atlantic Modern Language Association Convention, Nov. 14-16, 2003. Deadline for submissions in March 1, 2003. For more information visit this news article:

Jerry Clower’s car for sale

One of our readers has for sale a 1974 Lincoln Continental that was purchased by Mississippi writer and comedian Jerry Clower in 1977. If anyone would like to purchase this car, please contact Marian Haire at


The following events are planned for the coming weeks and months. You may wish to begin planning now to attend or participate.

March 25, 2003

Poetry Reading by Andrew Hudgins, Bondurant Hall Auditorium, The University of Mississippi campus, in Oxford.

March 26-30, 2003

Seventeenth Annual Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival, New Orleans, Louisiana. For information, visit their web site at

April 10-13, 2003

Oxford Conference for the Book, Oxford, Mississippi.

July 20-24, 2003

30th Annual Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference, The University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi. Information and registration forms available at

If you know of additional news items for this newsletter or if you have suggestions, please write us at

For more information about events in the Oxford and University of Mississippi community, see the Ole Miss Community Calendar:

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