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Released May 13, 2003


HATTIESBURG - A University of Southern Mississippi history professor and prize-winning author has been named the new editor-in-chief of the online publication Mississippi History NOW.

Dr. Greg O'Brien, an expert in ethnohistory and American Indian culture, gained unanimous approval on May 3 from the Mississippi Historical Society, replacing former editor-in-chief Dr. Ray Skates, Southern Miss emeritus.

"I am grateful for the trust placed in me by the Mississippi Historical Society," said O'Brien, who won the 2003 McLemore Prize for the best book published on a Mississippi history topic in 2002. Published by University of Nebraska Press and released in March, the book is titled "Choctaws in a Revolutionary Age, 1750-1830."

The Mississippi History NOW Web site ( is an innovative and award-winning project published by the Mississippi Historical Society since August 2000. Its goal is to increase knowledge about all aspects of Mississippi's past for students and the public. Each month a new article by a historian is presented along with a corresponding lesson plan designed by a Mississippi educator.

In the near future, fund raising to keep the site going will be a top priority, O'Brien said. "We are looking for foundation and corporate sponsorship. In addition, I plan to continue the accomplished work of my predecessor and of the editor (Peggy Jeanes) in bringing a wide array of Mississippi history topics to the public's attention," he added.

O'Brien, whose specialty courses at Southern Miss include American Indian History and Colonial America, also won the prestigious Fletcher M. Green and Charles W. Ramsdell Award last fall as author of the best article published in the Journal of Southern History during the two preceding years. The article was titled "The Conqueror Meets the Unconquered: Negotiating Cultural Boundaries on the Post-Revolutionary Southern Frontier."

News of the Web site's effectiveness is already filtering in, O'Brien said. "Just last week I heard from a teacher on the Gulf Coast who used one of my articles for MHN in his class, and he said that his students successfully learned about the removal of the Choctaw Indians in the 1830s in an easily accessible and engaging format," he said.

A member of the Southern Miss faculty since 1998, O'Brien became a tenure-track assistant professor at Southern Miss in 2000 and was promoted to the rank of associate professor last year. He earned a bachelor of arts at Randolph-Macon College in 1988, a master's degree at James Madison University in 1994 and a doctorate at the University of Kentucky in 1998.

O'Brien's research fields also include American environmental history, the American Revolution and early U.S. history.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM