CATEGORY: Tupelo Stories
HED:Tupelo residents to take part in oral history project
By Jennifer Ginn
Tupelo and four other cities have been selected to kick off a statewide oral history project Monday in Jackson.
A 10 a.m. program at the Capitol's Old Supreme Court Chamber will include representatives from Tupelo, Macon, Laurel, Cleveland and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
The project, which will document remembrances from residents of those five areas, represents a joint effort of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, the Mississippi Humanities Council and the University of Southern Mississippi.
In each city being documented, local organizations have been selected to choose who will be interviewed and who will conduct the 50 interviews at each site.
In Tupelo, the oral history project will be spearheaded by the Northeast Mississippi Historical and Genealogical Society.
Bill Lyle, president of the society, said it's a perfect project for the group to pursue.
"If we don't hurry up and get these things on tape or recorded in some manner, all this information is going to be lost," he said. "We certainly feel this is a vital part of our heritage. We just want to do everything we can to preserve history."
Lyle said the society will start contacting Tupelo residents in the near future.
"Obviously, the major things get down in the minutes of town meetings," said Barbara Carpenter, executive director of the Mississippi Humanities Council. "Important people get in the history books. So many of us never do that - never make that cut so to speak - yet we have a lot to contribute to the texture, the culture of Mississippi.
"We have all kinds of people who were involved in World War II. Those folks are getting pretty elderly at this point. Every time a person dies, a library of information dies."
The original taped interviews will be sent to USM for preservation. Transcripts of the tapes will be made and plans call for making them accessible on the Internet eventually, Carpenter said.
Copies of the interviews will be given to each of the five selected sites.
Lyle said the tapes probably will be kept in the Lee County Public Library for easy, public access.
The Oral History Project is being funded through $150,000 from the state Legislature.