Leesha Faulkner


Sihya Smith and I believe our readers are the best in the world. Case in point: a couple of weeks ago we wrote about Scouting in the Tupelo area and sought help from our readers. We were overwhelmed.

The Oren Dunn City Museum soon will begin taking oral histories of former Scouts and Scout leaders, thanks to the assistance of Rick Wise, assistant Scout executive at the Yocona Council office in Tupelo. Rick dropped in the other day and we planned to gather some folk to talk about the growth of Scouting in Tupelo and Northeast Mississippi.

We had mentioned we needed a copy of “Yakni,” a book specific to Scouting in this portion of Mississippi. Many of you responded with offers, including Randall Long, president of Long Distribution in Corinth, who popped one in the mail. Thanks so much for the other offers and thanks to Randall Long for his willingness to part with one of his copies. This gift has enabled Sihya and me to get deep within the history, especially with accurate dates.

There are so many others who responded as well, and we are grateful to all of you for wanting to share this story of how many of our young men have developed over the years. And, yes, we are soon to include Girl Scouting as well.

The scouting response is just an example of how Oren Dunn City Museum works. The Tupelo Story is a shared one. Many people, past and present, have contributed to this unique tale of a frontier community that has developed into a leader among municipalities in Mississippi.

As we set up interviews with older Scouts and volunteers who worked with Scouts, we’re also working on other stories.

For example, recently we talked to Shanta Jones, a proud Delta Sigma Theta, who is working with the museum to gather oral histories of the local alumni chapter of that sorority. We look forward to working with these women and gathering their stories. We also plan an exhibit at some point in the future – either a virtual one or, once we reopen, a stunning one inside the Oren Dunn Museum.

Other stories wait on the horizon.

Sihya and I beam every day we come into our offices. We love the history, and we appreciate you all who have great ideas and stories to tell. Please. Keep them coming. Our children and grandchildren need to know their roots. They need to appreciate the struggles, the victories, the people, and places that make up the All-America City.

Leesha Faulkner is curator at the Oren Dunn City Museum. You may reach her at leesha.faulkner@tupeloms.gov.

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