James Andrew Whitaker
- Hinds Community College
This project is focused on past and present connections between Mississippi and West Africa with an emphasis on Liberia. During the nineteenth century, formerly enslaved persons from Jefferson County, Mississippi, were sent to Liberia by the Mississippi Colonization Society as part of a colony called Mississippi in Africa. Many of their descendants continue to live in Liberia today and have knowledge of these historical connections with Mississippi and the broader United States. Using open-ended interviews, the project’s methodology centers around fieldwork to collect data on historical memory, oral histories, and enduring symbolism of Mississippi in Sinoe County, Liberia. Photography provides documentation of physical markers related to Mississippi in Liberia. The fieldwork data will be used to produce academic peer-reviewed publications. The project also consists of student-assisted public education initiatives focused on links between Mississippi and West Africa. These include a public exhibition and a seminar series at Hinds Community College.