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Oxford celebrates bicentennial

By Christina Steube

University of Mississippi

The Department of Archives and Special Collections at the University of Mississippi’s J.D. Williams Library will host an opening reception for the exhibit “Mississippi: 200 Years of Statehood” Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m.

The exhibit features a wide variety of items that defined Mississippi over the course of its history, including historical Mississippi textbooks, early territorial documents, 18th-century maps of the South by European cartographers, materials related to the women’s suffrage movement and civil rights movement in the state, sound recordings, Mississippi-themed sheet music and photographs of the state throughout the years.

The reception includes a welcome from Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter, a video statement from former Mississippi Gov. William Winter and a keynote address by W. Ralph Eubanks, Ole Miss alumnus and author. The event will be held in the Faulkner Room within Special Collections on the third floor of the library. It is free and open to the public.

“The UM Libraries are deeply honored to participate and host an event on such an important anniversary for the state,” said Cecilia Botero, dean of libraries.

The opening reception is one of many events of the week that celebrates Mississippi’s bicentennial in the northern part of the state.

Today, the library hosted a brown bag luncheon at noon in Special Collections featuring the publication of The Mississippi Encyclopedia with remarks by editors Ted Ownby, Charles Reagan Wilson and Jimmy Thomas, in addition to several contributors from the library.

“The week of June 19th in North Mississippi is a very special one for the region, and Special Collections is proud to be able to contribute to the exciting programming schedule,” said Jennifer Ford, head of special collections. “We are deeply indebted to the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, former Gov. William Winter and W. Ralph Eubanks for helping us to create such a great lineup of events in the archives that week highlighting the state’s bicentennial.”

On Saturday, the Governor’s Concert in celebration of the bicentennial will be held on the Grove Stage headlined by country and Americana artist Marty Stuart. In addition, Special Collection’s bicentennial exhibit will have special public viewing hours on Saturday from noon to 4:30 p.m. in honor of the festivities.

For more information about events at the J.D. Williams Library, contact Jennifer Ford at 662-915-7408 or archivesdept@olemiss.edu.

The official bicentennial exhibit for the library was made possible by a grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council, through support from the Mississippi Development Authority.

To learn more about Mississippi’s bicentennial celebration, visit 200.visitmississippi.org.