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Friday Forums

Fall 2015 Schedule

All Forum events are free.
Gertrude C. Ford Academic Complex, Room 215 at 12:30pm
Unless otherwise noted.

For more information about the Forums, please contact
Kenneth Townsend via email at Kenneth.Townsend@millsaps.edu, or 601-974-1061. 

The Loving Story – Judge James Graves
Friday, Sept. 18, 2015, 12:30 PM - AC 215

When Mildred and Richard Loving were arrested in July 1958, in Virginia, for violating a state law that banned marriage between people of different races, such laws had been on the books in most states since the seventeenth century. But the Lovings never expected to be woken up in their bedroom in the middle of the night and arrested. This documentary brings to life the Lovings’ marriage and the legal battle that followed through little-known filmed interviews and photographs shot for Life magazine.

Judge James Graves, a Millsaps alumnus and trustee and a judge on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, will lead the audience in viewing and reflecting upon clips from this powerful documentary.  This program will constitute Millsaps’ celebration of Constitution Day 2015 and is made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities Created Equal Initiative. 

Contact: Kenneth Townsend

Margaret Walker: Her Life and Times -- Robert Luckett, PhD
Friday, Oct. 2 2015, 1:00 - 2:00 PM - AC 215

In a 1968 journal entry, Margaret Walker listed the “Five Black Creative Prose Writers Who Have Influenced Black Thought and Expression” and who “have left an indelible and profound impression on the American people.” Her list was impressive and included W.E.B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and Ralph Ellison.

In part because of her own writing, including the great poem For My People and the Civil War-era novel Jubilee, Margaret Walker deserves to be lifted into the national consciousness as part of that elite group, but her scholarship, teaching, and mentorship were equally impressive. This talk, which will be led by Dr. Robby Luckett, Director of the Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State, looks at the remarkable life of a woman who found herself immersed in the 20th Century black arts movement and who took the opportunity to lift up the great artists of her generation and those of the next, particularly through an institution that she founded while on the English Department faculty at Jackson State College: the Institute for the Study of the History, Life, and Culture of Black People. She did all of this while staring down patriarchal, Jim Crow Mississippi. This Millsaps Forum happily coincides with the celebration of the Margaret Walker Centennial in 2015.

Contact: Kenneth Townsend

Race War and Genocide: A Historical Perspective From the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement –  Rev. Ed King
Friday, Oct. 16 2015, 12:00 PM - AC 215

Ed King's Mississippi: Behind the Scenes of Freedom Summer features more than forty unpublished black-and-white photographs and substantial writings by the prominent civil rights activist Reverend Ed King. The images and text provide a unique perspective on Mississippi during the summer of 1964. Taken in Jackson, Greenwood, and Philadelphia, the photographs showcase informal images of Martin Luther King Jr., Andrew Young, Mississippi civil rights workers, and college student volunteers in the movement. Ed King's writings offer background and insights on the motivations and work of Freedom Summer volunteers, on the racial climate of Mississippi during the late 1950s and 1960s, and the grassroots effort by black Mississippians to enter the political arena and exercise their fundamental civil rights.

Ed King, a native of Vicksburg, a Millsaps alumnus, and a Methodist minister, was a founder of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and a key figure in the civil rights movement in the state in the 1960s. As one of the few white Mississippians with a leadership position in the movement, his words and photographs offer a rare behind-the-scenes chronicle of events in the state during Freedom Summer.

Contact: Kenneth Townsend

Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of Millsaps’ Desegregation – A panel discussion
Friday, Oct. 30, 2015, 1:30 PM - AC 215
Note: this program will start at 1:30 pm.

Starting in the 1930s, Millsaps and Tougaloo began hosting integrated underground meetings on each other’s campuses, but it was not until the summer of 1965 that Millsaps formally integrated its student population, making it the first institution of higher education in Mississippi to desegregate voluntarily.  This special Homecoming Forum will feature Millsaps faculty and students who experienced Millsaps’ desegregation first-hand.  The panel will reflect on the opportunities as well as the challenges encountered by those brave early students who challenged the status quo and made personal sacrifices in the pursuit of justice.

Contact: Kenneth Townsend

Jewish Culture in Post-War Poland -- Rabbi Jeremy Simons
Monday, Nov. 2, 2015, 12:30 PM - AC 215
Note: this is a Monday program.

Jews in Eastern Europe historically faced prejudice, marginalization, and violence which reached a horrifying peak in the Holocaust.  Ninety percent of Poland’s Jewish population were killed by the Nazi regime.  Since the end of the Cold War, however, the Polish people have embraced Jewish faith and culture.  Rabbi Jeremy Simons of the Institute for Southern Jewish Life will offer reflections on this phenomenon and what it means for how Poles and Jews understand their mutual history.

Contact: Chris Donald

Poetry and Non-Poetry, or The Name and Nature of Poetry -- Gaston Hall, PhD
Friday, Nov. 6, 2015, 1:00 PM - AC 215

A description from the speaker:

The titles of this Forum, borrowed respectively from Benedetto Croce & A. E. Housman, are meant to introduce my efforts to write poetically about things not normally considered poetic – Reptile Rhymes, for instance - and to explain my unfashionable preference for rhyme and traditional meters, largely neglected in English by the mid 20th century.  Such titles as these could introduce discussion of notions as distinct as “pure poetry” and satire.  I have enjoyed both as a reader and attempted both (among other effects) as a writer in Quadruped Octaves, Alphabet Aviary, Sonnets, Domestic Tales, Sketches, Quatrains, and As the Days Draw in, and also as a translator of poetry from French, German, Italian, Spanish, and other languages.  These titles also permit consideration of the rhetorical structures on which poetry depends for its styles and the effects it produces. But mainly they provide a framework for an un-theoretical poetry reading in which, mercifully, the examples will not all be my own, but include reminiscence of poems that prompted my wish to write poetry in the first place.  Poets cannot, like Shelley’s skylark, produce “unpremeditated art”, something would-be non-poets need to learn.  But some poets, like Shelley (and some would say his widow, metaphorically) have managed to sing

hymns unbidden,
Till the world is wrought
To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not.

Dr. Hugh Gaston Hall is Millsaps’ Scholar in Residence and graduate of the 1952 class. He was named Freshman Scholar in 1949 and awarded the Founders Medal and B.A. in 1952. He continued his academic career as a Fulbright and Rhodes Scholar, received his M.A. from the University of Oxford; Ph.D from Yale; visiting professor at City University of New York and others, and long-time Reader in French Studies, University of Warwick, United Kingdom, where he retired as Emeritus Reader. He was given Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by Millsaps College in 2009.

Contact: Kenneth Townsend

How Dante Changed My Life – Rod Dreher
Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, 12:00 PM - AC 215

According to author Rod Dreher, “How Dante Can Save Your Life is a spiritual memoir and a work of bibliotherapy. I think of it as a self-help book for people who need help but who don’t want to buy a self-help book. It’s also a book that I believe will make the glories of the Divine Comedy come alive for high school and college students.”

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative and has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. His commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC.

Contact: Kenneth Townsend

Student Humanities Symposium
Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, 1:00 PM - AC 215

Contact: Anne MacMaster