Event Details

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Book Signing

Discussion and Reading

The Mississippi Encyclopedia

Join us on Saturday, July 22nd as we continue to celebrate the Bicennential of Mississippi! This free gallery event will feature Blue Magnolia State Documentaries, and a discussion and reading of The Mississippi Encyclopedia! And… Greenhouse on Porter will be on hand with their amazing biscuits and The Mary C bar will be open for sales…

5:30 pm – Concessions Opens
5:45 – 6:45 pm – Film Screenings

Blue Magnolia Films & Corner To Corner Productions commemorates 100 community voices for the Mississippi Bicentennial, linking the historic memory of people and places to the themes of creativity, resilience and the magic of place. 

“Faith, Food and Family” A Photo Story by Hema Denham (TRT: 3:24)

Hema Denham tells the story of beloved Ocean Springs restauranteur, Jocelyn Mayfield, in the seafood business for over 60 years. 


“Oldfields” A Photo Story by Mary Anderson Pickard (TRT: 4:14)

Mary Anderson Pickard, eldest daughter of artist and naturalist, Walter Inglis Anderson, retraces her journey to her childhood home where the family lived in the 1940’s, in hopes of saving the property.


“(Then) Now” A Photo Story by Diane Stevenson (TRT: 3:42)

Ocean Springs poet, Diane Stevenson, recounts the vestiges of her home in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the loot, loss and redemptive qualities of the storm. 


“Finding Johanna” A Photo Story by Melanie Allen (TRT: 3:35)

Melanie Allen explores the artist-in-residency program at Twelve Oaks, tracing patterns of leaves and trails that lead her to Johanna Baker Smith Blount (1830-1902), a land-owning slave, who founded the property. 


“Quilters: Legacy Keepers” (TRT: 3:53) A Photo Story by Twyla Johnson

Twyla Johnson records the disappearing tradition of handmade quilting at Mississippi Cultural Crossroads in Port Gibson, featuring Master Quilter, Geraldine Nash. 


“Prospect Hill” A Photo Story by Harry Claudius Ross (TRT: 4:20)

Harry Claudius Ross, a Liberian descendant of Prospect Hill Plantation in Lorman, Mississippi, visits the property for the first time, to reconcile with the memory of his ancestors and the legacy of his name.


“Two Men, A Chair and Forgiveness” A Photo Story by Hugh B. Jones (TRT: 4:09)

Hugh B. Jones tells the story of his family’s historic home, A.K. Shaifer House, the site of the first skirmish of the Battle of Port Gibson, and a rocking chair that became an enduring symbol of friendship between his great-great grandfather and a Union soldier.


“In The Sanctuary of the Oak” A Photo Story by Johnnie Bernhard (TRT: 3:55)

Johnnie Bernhard’s portrait of a live oak tree, bearing witness to the passage of time, points to the rediscovery of what is meaningful in one’s own back yard.


“Steps”  A Photo Story by Henry Furr (TRT: 4:34) 

Ocean Springs architect, Henry Furr, tells the story of what it means to be and optimist from Mississippi, leaving and returning, with hopes of making it better.


“Biscuit Springs” A Photo Story by Carmen Lugo (TRT: 3:13)

Greenhouse on Porter is a cafe and “third place” in Ocean Springs, serving up warm, buttery Southern biscuits and a space for people to meet and thrive. 

Made possible with support from: Mississippi Arts Commission, Mississippi Humanities Council, Mississippi Heritage Trust, The Selby and Richard McRae Foundation, Chisholm Foundation, Ron Feder, The City of Ocean Springs, The Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center of Arts and Education, Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce-Main Street-Tourism Bureau, Gulf Hills Hotel & Conference Center, Lola Fleur Catering and Events and The Greenhouse on Porter.

7:00 pm – Encyclopedia Reading and Book Signing

The Mississippi Encyclopedia, published in 2017 by the University Press of Mississippi, is the state’s first encyclopedia in over 100 years. Over 600 authors contributed to the 1450-page volume. Coeditors Ted Ownby and Charles Reagan Wilson and associate editor James Thomas, all from the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, will discuss the book and the process of organizing, writing, and editing it. Contributing authors Deanne Stephens Nuwer from the Katrina Research Center at the University of Southern Mississippi and Tonya Thames Taylor from West Chester University will discuss their entries.

Thank you to the Center of Southern Culture and our Sponsor The R&B Feder Foundation.


Work on a Center project that began in 2003 is at long last winding up. The Mississippi Encyclopedia—a mammoth collaboration that includes over 1,600 entries, 1,451 pages, and features more than 700 scholars who wrote entries on every county, every governor, and numerous musicians, writers, artists, and activists—will be in print and for sale this May. This is the first encyclopedic treatment of the state since 1907.

The volume will appeal to anyone who wants to know more about Mississippi and the people who call it home. It will be especially helpful to students, teachers, and scholars researching, writing about, or otherwise discovering the state, past and present.

The Mississippi Encyclopedia is the successful result of numerous collaborations—between the University Press of Mississippi and the Center for the Southern Culture, among the numerous supporters who contributed to or helped organize the project, among the thirty topic editors from around the state and far beyond it, and among the authors, an intriguing mixture of scholars. The Mississippi Humanities Council and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History helped a great deal, and the University of Mississippi History Department and Law School joined the Southern Studies program in encouraging advanced students to write for the project. Early support came from the University of Mississippi and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Each entry in The Mississippi Encyclopedia provides an authoritative but accessible introduction to the topic discussed. It also features long essays on agriculture, archaeology, the civil rights movement, the Civil War, contemporary issues, drama, education, the environment, ethnicity, fiction, folklife, foodways, geography, industry and industrial workers, law, medicine, music, myths and representations, Native Americans, nonfiction, poetry, politics and government, the press, religion, social and economic history, sports, and visual art.

The Mississippi Encyclopedia includes solid, clear information contained in a single volume, offering with clarity and scholarship a breadth of topics unavailable anywhere else. “We hope everyone who picks up the book will find surprises,” said coeditor Ted Ownby. “Any good encyclopedia, and we think this one is exceptionally good, has detailed, thorough, smart information on topics people want to find. So, from a journalist or traveler to a scholar or teacher to a kid doing a school project, everyone should find ways to use the book. But holding it in their hands, they should find all sorts of things they hadn’t thought to look up. We think it’s revealing that the work starts with ‘Abdul-Rauf, Mahmoud (Chris Jackson)’ and ends with ‘Ziglar, Zig,’ and both of those entries seem likely to surprise a lot of readers.”

Guest Speakers

Ted Ownby, Charles Reagan Wilson, and James Thomas: Discussion of organizing and editing The Mississippi Encyclopedia

Deanne Stephens Nuwer and Tonya Thames Taylor, discussion of individual entries on Six Sisters of the Gulf Coast, Gambling, Hurricane Katrina, the Old Spanish Trail, and Ida B. Wells-Barnett.

Time for Questions and Answers.

Day/Date: Saturday, July 22nd

Time: 5:30p.m. – 8:30p.m.

Price: Free