The Martha Swain Speaker Series

The Martha Swain Speaker Series brings a distinguished person to campus each spring to address issues important to women’s interests, lives, and experiences. The series is funded with a gift made in honor of Dr. Martha Swain, a scholar of Southern women’s history.

2024 Swain Speaker

Cassie S. Turnipseed

Cassie S. Turnipseed, Ph.D.

This year, we are delighted to welcome Dr. Cassie Turnipseed to campus for a lively and engaging discussion of the life and legacy of Mississippi's fearless daughter, Ida B. Wells-Barnett. Dr. Cassie Turnipseed is an Assistant Professor of History at Jackson State University and has spent much of her career highlighting Black history in the Delta, from her work with the Cultural Arts program and the B.B. King Museum to research uncovering the contributions of the Gullah Geechee people and collaborations to memorialize the history of cotton pickers and sharecroppers. As a member of the Mississippi Humanities Council Speakers Bureau, Dr. Turnipseed frequently speaks about the legacy of Ida B. Wells-Barnett to audiences across the state. Ida Wells Barnett was born in Holly Springs, Mississippi and single-handedly launched an international campaign to stop lynching. A woman who helped found both the NAACP and the National Association of Colored Women, she campaigned for suffrage and race and gender equality throughout her life.

Nissan Auditorium, Parkinson Hall
Mississippi University for Women
March 07, 2024
6:00 p.m.

Photograph of Ida B. Wells-Barnett
Ida Bell Wells-Barnett: In History & Her Own Words

In case you missed the event or just want to hear it again, we've excerpted the highlights for you in this video. Enjoy!

Past Speakers
Dr. Anastasia C. Curwood is professor of history and director of African American and Africana studies at the University of Kentucky. Her scholarship focuses on the interface between private life and historical context for black Americans in the twentieth century. In particular, she studies the workings of gender in African Americans' social, cultural/intellectual, and political history. In 2023, Dr. Anastasia C. Curwood spoke about the life and experiences of Shirley Chisholm, whose 1972 bid for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party made history and paved the way for a new era of women’s political activism. Curwood is the author of the 2023 biography, Shirley Chisholm: Champion of Black Feminist Power Politics and of Stormy Weather: Middle-Class African American Marriages between the Two World Wars.
Dr. Sally Palmer Thomason and Jean Carter Fisher discuss their book The Power of One, about Sister Anne Brooks, a Catholic nun and doctor of osteopathy, who for 34 years served Tutwiler in the Mississippi Delta, one of the nation’s most impoverished towns. Starting with only two other nuns and regularly working 12-hour days, Brooks’ patient load—in a region where seven out of ten patients that walked in her door had no way to pay for care—grew from 30-40 individuals per month to more than 8,500 annually. Thomason and Fisher tell her powerful story, including her tumultuous childhood, how she overcame crippling arthritis in early adulthood, and her near-unprecedented decision to attend medical school at the age of forty.
Dr. Ebony Lumumba is currently Chair of the English Department at Jackson State University. Ebony received her Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Mississippi. She was named the Eudora Welty Research Fellow in 2013 and Tougaloo’s Humanities Teacher of the Year in 2014. Dr. Lumumba specializes in post colonial literatures of the Global South and cultural equity in film culture in her research and instruction. In her lecture on March 3, 2020 she discussed her most recent publication “Demonstration of Life: Signifying for Social Justice in Eudora Welty’s ‘The Demonstrators’" a chapter in New Essays on Eudora Welty, Class, and Race.

Dr. Martha Swain

Martha Swain is a graduate of Starkville High as well as Mississippi State College. She gained a M.A. and Ph.D. in History from Vanderbilt University. She is the author of two books, Pat Harrison: The New Deal; Years (1978) and Ellen Woodward: New Deal Advocate for Women (1995). She was a co-author of Lucy Somerville Howorth: New Deal Lawyer, Politician and Feminist from the South (2003). She is a co-editor of two volumes of essays, Mississippi Women: Their Histories, Their Lives (2003, 2009). She was the winner of the 1994 Eudora Welty Book Prize at Mississippi University for Women, the 2002 Dunbar Rowland Award from the Mississippi Historical Society for lifetime contributions to Mississippi History, as well as the 2004 Mississippi Humanities Council's Chair's Award for contributions to public humanities programs. She was president of the Mississippi Historical Society 2005-2006 as well as being a former member of the board of review of the Journal of Southern History, and a long-time member of the review board of the Journal of Mississippi History.