Anthropology students and residents of Hattiesburg's historic Mobile-Bouie
Street area will share findings of a joint ethnographic project
March 12 at The University of Southern Mississippi.
The forum will
feature at least 20 residents, eight Southern Miss anthropology
students, and two professors who spent months studying the people,
places and events associated with one of Hattiesburg's most storied
held in the Gonzales Auditorium in the Liberal Arts Building, begins
at 3 p.m. and is open to the public. Residents from the Mobile-Bouie
Street area attending the discussion will be arriving on campus
via trolley car, courtesy of the university and the city of Hattiesburg.
The panel will
discuss the facts, events, attitudes and perceptions that are behind
Mobile-Bouie Street residents' search for a connection to past struggles
dawn of integration," anthropology professor Dr. Jeffrey Kaufmann
said, "Mobile Street and its immediate surroundings still flourished
as a segregated 'town within a town.' Nowadays, the street appears
more like an historical cul-de-sac than one of Mississippi's historical
Some of the
issues to be discussed, Kaufmann said, are the district's earliest
formations during frontier days, ways of making a living among long-term
residents and the impact of World War II. Panelists will also share
their experiences with the local civil rights movement, discuss
the area's urban ecology and address the deterioration of the local
The forum and
yearlong ethnographic study that produced it is a vital component
of the university's mission, said Dr. James Flanagan, chair of the
Department of Anthropology and Sociology. "It is very important
that Southern Miss cultivates relationships with the city of Hattiesburg,
just as it is important for Hattiesburg to take ownership of the
university, because it belongs to them," Flanagan said.
has this been a wonderful project--the way Dr. Kaufmann and his
students brought the university and the community together--but
what's just as laudable is the welcome he and the students got from
the community and their generosity in cooperating with the project."
He added, "And
now they are coming to hear the students' papers. We expect a great
afternoon for the anthropology and sociology department, as well
as for the community."
Work on the
project began last summer and entailed students interviewing residents
and doing in-depth historical and anthropological research in the
area. One of the papers produced from the project is titled "Across
the 'Color Line:' An Examination of Population, Economy, and Community
Resources in the First Half of the 20th Century," authored
by Amber Huff. In it, Huff uses census data, historical documents
and ethnographic information to demonstrate major factors influencing
migration to and from this part of Hattiesburg.
paper, by Anna Warren, focuses on the role of Lillie McLaurin, known
affectionately as the "Mother of Mobile Street."
the most remarkable people in the Mobile-Bouie Street community
is a woman entrepreneur, the owner of the largest distributorship
of the Hattiesburg American newspaper," Warren said of McLaurin,
who still sells papers from her home. Warren's paper examines McLaurin's
role as a businesswoman and role model during the last 60 years.
Pood, dean of the College of Arts and Letters, said the project
is an "amazing example" of the university finding innovative
ways to partner with the surrounding community. "This research
provides an opportunity to document and understand a cultural heritage
that played a significant role in making Hattiesburg what it is
today. At the same time, our students have been given the opportunity
to participate in real world professional research, as opposed to
a simulated environment in the classroom. The results of this 'town/gown'
partnership will continue to resonate for many years to come,"
For more information
about the panel discussion or about the Department of Anthropology
and Sociology, contact (601) 266-4306.