Two University of Mississippi events set for Tuesday, Sept. 27 will explore civil rights history through the eyes of participants.

Traces of Elaine: The Lone Black Female Staff Photographer for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Elaine Tomlin broke gender and race barriers by being the first Black female staff photographer for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in the 1960s during the Civil Rights Movement. Most of her life’s work was stolen, but those who attend will learn about her career and work.

A reception and mini photo exhibition of Tomlin’s published work will be held Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 6 p.m. at the Powerhouse at 413 S. 14th Street on the corner of S. 14th and University Ave.

The poster for An Evening of Conversation with Elaine Tomlin's Family & Friends event.

The poster for the event.

Ph.D. history candidate, Alysia Steele, an associate professor of journalism with the School of Journalism and New Media, will share some of her dissertation research about Tomlin. Tomlin’s family and friends will be present.

Steele has reconstructed Tomlin’s career and family history through interviews and limited information via archives. Most of Tomlin’s life’s work was stolen from her home, but her son had stored approximately 5,000 negatives in a basement for 35 years and never looked at them.

What’s been discovered in Tomlin’s work: Dr. King and Stokely Carmichael marching in the Meredith March Against Fear in 1966, the Poor People’s Campaign with Rev. Ralph Abernathy, Shirley Chisholm’s 1972 run for president, Jesse Jackson and Operation Breadbasket, Coretta Scott King at a memorial service four days after her husband’s assassination (she’s wearing the same veil from the funeral) and singers like Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, and Nina Simone, to name a few.

Alysia Steele


Steele will share what she has learned in her research, how she “found” Tomlin and her family, traced their roots back to the coal mines of Alabama, and share thoughts from the Abernathy family, who have been instrumental in helping Steele.

The event is sponsored by several University departments, including the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies, the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, the College of Liberal Arts, the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, the Department of History, the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, and the School of Journalism and New Media.

For assistance related to a disability for this event, contact Kevin at 662.915.5916 or

Meredith & the Media: The Legacy of a Riot

The Overby Center will host Meredith and the Media: The Legacy of a Riot Tuesday, Sept. 27, at 5:30 p.m., featuring Dr. Kathleen Wickham, Curtis Wilkie and Sidna Brower, the Daily Mississippian editor in 1962. Journalist Jesse Holland will moderate.

Copies of the commemorative book “James Meredith: Breaking the Barrier” will be available for purchase after both events.

The book, edited by Wickham, is also available for purchase at Barnes and Noble for $15. It features chapters written by Meredith, Brower, Wilkie, Marquita Smith, Holland, William Doyle, Dorothy Gilliam, William Winter, Henry Gallagher and Wickham.

Kathleen Wickham


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For assistance related to a disability for this event, contact Michelle Martin at 662-915-7146 or

Written by LaReeca Rucker

Posted in: General News, Lectures