Briscoe Center Co-Sponsors Journey Stories, 2009 Historic Natchez Conference
The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History will co-sponsor Journey Stories, the upcoming Historic Natchez Conference, to be held in Natchez, Mississippi, October 8–10, 2009. The Briscoe Center's extensive Southern history collections include the Natchez Trace Collection, one of the most important archives documenting the history of the lower Mississippi River Valley during the antebellum era.
"As the Briscoe Center holds one of the most extensive archive collections on the history of the American South, we are pleased to continue our involvement Historic Natchez Trace Conference," said Don Carleton, executive director of the Briscoe Center. "This conference brings welcome attention to the preservation and study of this historically significant region, and gives the academic community an opportunity to learn more about recent research and acquisition activity in the Center's Natchez Trace Collection."
The 2009 Historic Natchez Conference shares the title of the Smithsonian traveling exhibit, Journey Stories, one of several exhibits that will be featured at the conference. The Smithsonian has created a traveling exhibit that illustrates the critical roles travel and movement have played in building our country. The exhibit includes accounts of immigrants coming in search of promise to a new country; individuals moving within our country to seek a better life; the forced migration of American Indians and African Americans; and journeys related to war and the civil rights movement.
Programming for the 2009 Historic Natchez Conference reflects themes addressed in the exhibit. Scholars will discuss such topics as the early mapping of the Lower Mississippi River Valley, the diaspora of the Natchez Indians, African enslavement, the Civil War, immigrant Jews finding a home in the South, and the civil rights movement in Natchez. Don Carleton, executive director of the Briscoe Center, will moderate the panel "Confronting Jim Crow," and Brenda Gunn, associate director for research and collections at the Briscoe Center, will give a presentation on "New Collections and New Sources on the Natchez Region at the Briscoe Center."
Conference programming also includes the grand opening of comprehensive new exhibits at the Natchez Visitor Center. Natchez National Historical Park will unveil new exhibits that provide visitors and local residents with a broad overview of Natchez history and culture. The grand opening of these new exhibits coincides with the twenty-year anniversary celebration of the creation of Natchez National Historical Park. A conference session will address the influence of the National Park Service in interpreting the history of Natchez. For full details on the conference programming, please consult the registration form (pdf).
The purpose of the Historic Natchez Conference is to foster the study, preservation, and appreciation of the history of the Natchez region by providing a forum for established scholars, graduate students, representatives from major archival collections, and the general public to share research, resources, and ideas.
All conference lectures and the opening cocktail reception at the Natchez Visitors Center are free. For registration information, please contact the Historic Natchez Foundation:
In addition to the Briscoe Center, the conference has the support of the following sponsors: California State University, Northridge; the Historic Natchez Foundation; Louisiana State University Libraries, Special Collections; Mississippi Department of Archives and History; Mississippi Humanities Council; Natchez National Historical Park; Southern Historical and Folklife Collections, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and the University of Southern Mississippi.