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

SMA Virtual Conference

Though we had to cancel our in-person annual meeting at Jackson State, we will still be holding a virtual conference on April 17 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.

9:00 – Jennifer Brannock
10:00 – Kate Gregory
11:00 – Carrie Mastley
12:00 – DeeDee Baldwin

Webex Meeting Link

Join by phone
+1-415-655-0001 US Toll
Access code: 284 272 058


Mississippi archives – status and hours

Last update: May 13. Due to the rapidly changing nature of the situation with coronavirus precautions, this information is subject to change at any time, and it’s best to call ahead. Please send additions or updates to

Columbus-Lowndes Public Library Archives
The Local History Department (LHD) at the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library is now available for phone calls and email research requests. Temporary hours of operation are Monday-Thursday 9am-5pm and Friday 9am-2pm. You can reach the LHD by calling 662-329-5304 or emailing either or The LHD is closed to in-house patron usage until further notice.

Delta State University Archives & Museum
Museums closed, archives by appointment only. Responding to reference requests.

Margaret Walker Center
Closed to the public.

Mississippi Baptist Historical Commission / McMillan University Archives
Closed, answering emails.

Mississippi Department of Archives & History

Mississippi State University Libraries Special Collections
Closed to the public. Responding to reference requests.

Mississippi University for Women Archives
Closed to the public. Responding to reference requests.

Sunflower County Library System
Closed to the public. Responding to reference requests.

Tippah County Archives
Open to the public 9:00-3:30 on weekdays. Responding to reference requests.

University of Mississippi Libraries Archives
Closed. Responding to reference requests.

University of Mississippi Medical Center Archives
Closed. Responding to reference requests.

University of Southern Mississippi Special Collections
Available by appointment only. Responding to reference requests.

William Carey University Archives & Special Collections
Available by appointment only. Responding to reference requests.

2020 annual meeting to be online-only

Following advisories from doctors and scientists about curbing the spread of COVID-19, the SMA board has made the difficult decision to cancel our annual meeting at Jackson State next month.

We will, however, be planning a day-long digital conference with our presenters. There will be no fees for the virtual conference, and it will have the advantage of being open to anyone, anywhere. Details, including a program, are forthcoming.

All presenters will receive a letter about their proposals being accepted even though the conference was canceled. We know how important those P&T files are!

For more information, or if you have questions, please email SMA president DeeDee Baldwin ( or vice-president / conference planner Jessica Perkins Smith (

Ask an Archivist: Preservation Roadshow at MHS

If you’re attending the Mississippi Historical Society’s 2020 annual meeting in Cleveland tomorrow, be sure to join us at 5:30 for Ask an Archivist: Preservation Roadshow for lightning talks, Q&A, and hands-on advice from Jennifer Brannock, Jenifer Ishee, Emily Jones, Jessica Perkins Smith, Lorraine Stuart, and Mona Vance-Ali. We look forward to seeing you!