November Virtual Table Talk registration open

SMA’s next Virtual Table Talk is scheduled for November 20 at noon CT. Baldwin Chiu, Larissa Chiu, and Emily Jones will be presenting “My Artifact Needs an Agent: How to Celebrate and Be a Good Steward of Popular History.”

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This talk will feature filmmakers Baldwin and Larissa Chiu, producers of the award-winning documentary, Finding Cleveland, and Emily Jones, archivist and curator for the Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum. Over the course of her career, Jones has witnessed researchers “meet” their ancestors through the materials available in the Museum’s collection. For her, these encounters have had a strong impact on how she engages with the collection as well as her community of users, especially since she does not culturally or racially represent the collection for which she stewards. In this talk, attendees will observe and engage in a discussion regarding the importance of cultural awareness and the implications of serving as an advocate and steward of a cultural heritage collection.

Click here to register!

Next SMA Virtual Table Talk

The Society of Mississippi Archivists will be hosting its second Virtual Table Talk entitled “Community Collaboration: The Margaret Walker Center and the Scott-Ford House, Inc.” This talk will be given by Angela D. Stewart and Dr. Alferdteen Harrison on Friday, September 25 at 12:00 pm (CT).

The Margaret Walker Center, located at Jackson State University, is an archive and museum dedicated to the preservation, interpretation, and dissemination of African American history and culture. Founded in 1996 through the efforts of Dr. Alferdteen Harrison, Scott-Ford House, Inc. is devoted to preserving two homes in the Farish Street Historic District of Jackson, Mississippi for use as a historic house museum complex. One of its most recent projects, developing an oral history database, is currently underway with the assistance of the Margaret Walker Center. This presentation will describe the cooperative work between these two institutions and explore collaboration as a means for preserving and celebrating the histories of marginalized communities. The presentation will also discuss how the Margaret Walker Center benefits from the collaboration with the Scott-Ford House, Inc. and how this collaboration can be a template for future community collaborations.

Click here to register. Registrants will receive an invitation to the WebEx event room the week of the event date. Registration will close an hour prior to the event. A recording of the event will be made available via SMA VTT’s YouTube channel.


July 31 Virtual Table Talk recording

Did you miss our first Virtual Table Talk on Friday? Watch the recording here!

Carrie Freshour, Ted Fisher, Arlene Sanders, Sykina Butts, Tyler Wells, Michelle Johansen, and Emily Jones of Delta State University present “‘We have no leaders, we are all leaders!’: Collecting and Celebrating the 1969 Black Student Sit-In at Delta State College.”

Virtual Table Talks kicks off July 31

Please join us for the inaugural Society of Mississippi Archivists Virtual Table Talk featuring “‘We have no leaders, we are all leaders!’: Collecting and Celebrating the 1969 Black Student Sit-In at Delta State College,” a talk given by Dr. Carrie Freshour, Prof. Ted Fisher, Prof. Arlene Sanders, Sykina Butts, Tyler Wells, Michelle Johansen, and Emily Jones of Delta State University.

About this talk: The 1969 Black Student Sit-In Oral History Project is an ongoing, multi-year multimedia project funded by the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and Delta State University. Virtual Table Talk speakers will share how multiple departments across campus have collaborated to collect and preserve the oral histories of students who participated in the March 10, 1969, peaceful sit-in at the President’s office, which resulted in the police arresting fifty-two students who were forced to spend the night at Parchman Penitentiary. The campus and community events leading to the sit-in and the aftermath of the protest will also be highlighted.

This event is FREE and will take place on Friday, July 31, 2020 at 12:00 PM CST.

Visit to register for this event.

For more information, contact Carrie P. Mastley at

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Statement on Confederate Monuments

As archivists, there is nothing we take more seriously than preserving history. The history of our state and its people is not found in statues erected to celebrate people and lost causes, but in the brittle paper of bills of sale for enslaved persons, in the diaries and letters of both enslavers and abolitionists, in the memorabilia of civil rights leaders, and in the protest signs of 2020. History is in our state’s archives and libraries, not on the courthouse lawn. History is not in what we choose to glorify in stone but in the records left behind by the people who lived it. For too long, many histories were erased in favor of a vision of white supremacy. As our state lowers its flag with its Confederate symbolism, there is still much more work to be done.

We support calls to remove Confederate monuments from our public spaces. They do not teach history; rather, they represent a false narrative that distorts the truth of racial injustice in this country.

The Board of the Society of Mississippi Archivists

(See also: SMA’s statement on Black Lives and Archives – June 3, 2020)

Statement on Black Lives and Archives

We, the board of the Society of Mississippi Archivists, condemn in no uncertain terms the systemic violence perpetrated by police officers in this country against the black community and specifically those actions which recently led to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. As archivists, we work to provide access to history. As archivists in Mississippi, the historic material of which we are stewards is frequently disturbing. Often, it is related to the long violent history of government-sanctioned racism against Black Mississippians in our state, from slavery to lynching to Jim Crow. Our collections contain images of Tougaloo College students being attacked at a segregated Woolworth’s lunch counter in Jackson and images of the bodies of murdered Civil Rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner in Neshoba County. They contain correspondence, photographs, and speeches of segregationists like Governors Theodore Bilbo and Ross Barnett. It is deeply important to collect this history of Mississippi’s troubled past and to continue to ensure access to it. We are wholeheartedly committed to that endeavor. However, as archivists, we realize our place and privilege, many of us at institutions that were formerly segregated, and we acknowledge that archives in Mississippi (and this nation) have failed to provide equal representation and documentation to Black Americans and other communities of color. This is a failure we seek to remedy because the archival record is an essential tool in safeguarding the civil liberties of all. We have a lot of work to do to be trusted to preserve the work, words, and history of the lives of Black Americans. We also must be committed to inclusion in our own archives and stand with Black archivists and archival staff and student workers in our state. One day in the not so distant future, archivists will preserve and provide access to digital images related to the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor as well as video and social media posts of the protests that currently envelop this nation. Our way of advocating for Black people in our communities that continue to endure systemic racism is to actively collect and share their stories and to ensure that researchers and students have access to their voices.

We believe that Black Lives Matter.

The Board of the Society of Mississippi Archivists

Virtual discussion about archival reference and instruction during Covid-19

Jennifer Brannock will be leading a virtual meeting about how we can move forward with archival reference and instruction in the coming months:

I thought it would be a great idea for Mississippi archivists/librarians to get together to talk about our ideas on these topics, since we may all have similar timelines for returning to the office.

Some of the topics we could talk about include:

* Are we going to reopen the reading room in the summer/fall? Will it be appointment only? Will masks be required?

* Are you planning on conducting instruction in the library, or will all instruction be online for the fall?

* What tools are you going to use if you are going to teach online?

* Is your lesson plan going to change for the sessions since it will be online?

* Will you have protective shields for people in service areas?

The meeting will be online on June 11 at 10:00am CST. Registration is required. To register, go to

On the form, there’s a space for anything you want to discuss. Please feel free to include all of the topics that interest you. I think we are all trying to figure things out, and I want this to be a place where we can try to figure things out together.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Jennifer Brannock at

Call for Presenters: SMA Virtual Table Talks

SMA’s Virtual Table Talks are one-hour informal discussions to promote the sharing of knowledge between archivists working in Mississippi galleries, libraries, archives, and museums. Each talk will feature a speaker who will share their experience and knowledge on a given topic. For the 2020-21 season, SMA is looking for presenters who can speak to what activities or projects their institutions are completing in relation to Social Justice in the Archives. Presentations unrelated to Social Justice will also be considered, but preference will be given to topics directly related to the theme. Presentation ideas include, but are not limited to:

  • Promoting Inclusion in the Archival Profession
  • Seeking, Collecting, and Promoting Collections from Marginalized Groups
  • Developing Collection Policies that Promote Inclusion
  • Including Marginalized Histories in Instruction
  • Creating Anti-Racist Descriptive Practices
  • Celebrating Cultural Histories of Marginalized Communities
  • Researching Marginalized Communities or Social Justice Topics

If you are interested in serving as a speaker for a Virtual Table Talk, please contact Carrie P. Mastley ( no later than June 5, 2020. Please include your name, institution, presentation title, and a description of your presentation (description not to exceed 200 words). In your description, you may wish to include how your activity/project originated, how you instated or completed the activity/project, why it is important to our profession and patrons, what problems or issues it might resolve, and any insights or lessons learned. Final presentations should be no longer than 45 minutes in length.

Tentative Series Schedule:

Summer 2020 Session
Friday, July 31st, 12:00 pm CST

Fall 2020 Sessions
Friday, September 25th, 12:00 pm CST
Friday, November 20th, 12:00 pm CST

Spring 2021 Sessions