Black History Month Events

All throughout February, the City of Hattiesburg-Government and local organizations like the African American Military History Museum and the Library of Hattiesburg, Petal and Forrest County will host many events to celebrate Black History Month.
To help make sure you don't miss a single thing, here is a list of all Black History Month events in Hattiesburg
 Feb. 1-28 
Mississippians Forever Free Gallery Exhibit at Library of Hattiesburg, Petal and Forrest County
“Mississippians Forever Free” is a collection of photographs and quotes pulled from the more than 400 interviews conducted with ex-slaves in Mississippi from 1936 to 1938. The interviews afforded aged ex-slaves an unparalleled opportunity to give their personal accounts of life under the “peculiar institution” – to describe in their own words what it felt like to be a slave in the United States.
Saturday, Feb. 3 
Keeping in Touch: Communications During World War II, 11 a.m. at Library of Hattiesburg, Petal, and Forrest County
This special family program will focus on communications throughout World War II with a focus on African American soldiers. A plethora of post cards, posters and other means of communication culled from the collection of the African American Military Museum will be on display. This event will be especially good for school age children.
Shuntasia Coleman is the Programs and Events coordinator at the African American Military History Museum.
Tuesday, Feb. 6
Celebration of Soul Food
6 p.m. at the Historic Train Depot, hosted by City of Hattiesburg-Government
This community pot luck event was created to celebrate Black History Month through food, fellowship and entertainment. Guests are  encouraged to bring their best soul food dishes for sharing, participate in a friendly food competition, listen to entertainment and hear Dr. Brinda Willis discuss “Why We Call It Soul Food” through a partnership with the Library of Hattiesburg, Petal and Forrest County and the Mississippi Humanities Council. For a full list of suggested foods for the pot luck and more information about the event, visit
Wednesday, Feb. 7 
Mississippi's Newest Great Author - Jesmyn Ward, by Dr. Sherita L. Johnson - 6 p.m. at Library of Hattiesburg, Petal, and Forrest County
A native of DeLisle, Jesmyn Ward has won National Book Awards for Salvage the Bones (2011) and Sing, Unburied, Sing (2017). Her 2013 memoir Men We Reap was a National Book Critics Circle Award winner.
Sherita Johnson is an associate professor in the Department of English at the University of Southern Mississippi, where she specializes in  19th Century African American literature, black women writers, Jim Crow literature and cultural studies.
Friday, Feb. 9, Feb. 16 and Feb. 23
Story Time with a Soldier at African American Military History Museum, 10 a.m. 
Ages K- 5. By appointment only. To reserve, call 601-450-1942.
Monday, Feb. 12 
Camp Van Dorn, World War II Mobilization, and Black Troops in the Deep South by Dr. Charles Bolton, 6 p.m. at Library of Hattiesburg, Petal, and Forrest County
Like other aspects of mobilization during World War II, the creation of military camps across the country generated numerous problems for nearby communities. In the Deep South, black soldiers training for the war threatened the region's racial status quo in a way not seen since Reconstruction. Camp Van Dorn, located near Centreville, Mississippi, became one of many sites of conflict between white civilians and African American soldiers.
Charles Bolton is professor of History and Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. He specializes in the history of the U.S. South.
Thursday, Feb. 15
Double Victory: African Americans in the Military Presented by Dr. Krewasky Salter, curator for Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture's Double Victory Exhibit. February 15th at 6PM. Located at African American Military History Museum.
Monday, Feb. 19 
Book Club, "Sing, Unburied, Sing" by Jesmyn Ward, Moderated by Adam Singletary, 6:30 p.m. at Library of Hattiesburg, Petal, and Forrest County
Sing, Unburied, Sing grapples with the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power, and limitations, of the bonds of family. Rich with Ward's distinctive, musical language, this novel is a majestic new work and an essential contribution to American literature. A limited number of copies are available for checkout.
Adam Singletary is associate director of The Library of Hattiesburg Petal and Forrest County
Thursday, Feb. 22 
1940s Wartime Cooking: Recipes and Rationing Presented by Dr. Andrew P. Haley, Associate Professor of American Cultural History at the University of Southern Mississippi. 
Learn about 1940s food history and indulge in sweet treats. 6 p.m. Feb.  22, African American Military History Museum.
Monday, Feb. 26 
The WPA Slave Narratives: Giving Voice to Freedom, by Sean Farrell, 6 p.m. at Library of Hattiesburg, Petal, and Forrest County
Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States (often referred to as the WPA Slave Narrative Collection) was a massive compilation undertaken by the Federal Writers’ Project of the New Deal Works Progress Administration from 1936-1938. It was the simultaneous effort of writers across seventeen states working largely separately from each other. The total collection contains more than 10,000 typed pages representing more than 2000 interviews.
Sean Farrell is director of the Library of Hattiesburg, Petal and Forrest County. He curated the exhibit, “Mississippians Forever Free.”