Telisha Dionne Bailey, a post-doctoral teaching fellow at the University of Virginia, has been named the 2018 Medgar and Myrlie Evers Research Scholar. Bailey’s research examines the complex and often overlooked history of the imprisonment of African American women in Mississippi between 1890 and 1980.
While at the Mississippi state archives, Bailey will work in the papers of Medgar Evers from his time as field secretary for the NAACP to develop a clearer understanding of Evers’s involvement in the Freedom Rides in Mississippi.
“I would especially like to discover whether the organization did anything to aid incarcerated female Freedom Riders,” Bailey said. “While at the archives I’ll also research clemency and pardon requests for African American women and complaints against law enforcement from civil rights workers.”
Bailey is in the middle of a two-year post-doctoral research and teaching fellowship at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia. She holds a bachelor’s from Reinhardt University in Waleska, Georgia, and a master’s and doctorate in U.S. history from the University of Mississippi. While at the University of Mississippi, Bailey organized the inaugural Biennial Conference on Rethinking Mass Incarceration in the South, won the Georgia Nix Miller Women’s Activism Award from the Sarah Isom Center, and was a William Winter Student Scholar at the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation.
Bailey’s manuscript is titled “’Please Don’t Forget About Me’: African American Women, Mass Incarceration, and the Business of Black Women’s Bodies in Mississippi’s Parchman Penal Farm, 1890-1980.” The manuscript was developed from her dissertation, which won the Mississippi Historical Society’s Riley Prize.
Bailey will use the $4,000 award to cover travel, housing, and other expenses while doing primary research at the state archives during the month of June.
“We’re delighted to partner with the Evers Institute and the Kellogg Foundation on this scholarship,” said David Pilcher, director of the MDAH Archives and Record Services Division. “Our goal is to facilitate new and exciting research using the tremendous resources here at the state archives.”
The Medgar and Myrlie Evers Research Scholars Program, a collaboration between MDAH and the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Institute supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, encourages work in the history of civil and human rights using the state archives’ holdings to publish original research.
The Evers Papers may be accessed at the William F. Winter Archives and History Building, 200 North Street, Jackson. For more information on the Evers Scholar program or about the Evers Papers, contact Laura Heller at 601-576-6850 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.