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Southern Spaces
A journal about real and imagined spaces and places of the US South and their global connections

Mourning Medgar: Justice, Aesthetics, and the Local

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Published March 11, 2008


Speaking at Emory University on February 19, 2008, Dr. Gwin considers how attention to historical location and to locally-embodied experiences raises questions about justice, aesthetics, and memory. She examines the 1963 assassination of Medgar Evers in Jackson, Mississippi, through writings by James Baldwin, Anne Moody, Eudora Welty, and Margaret Walker.


Part 2: Gwin explores temporal and spatial dimensions of mourning, posing questions of how to mourn and celebrate Evers

Part 3: Gwin situates aesthetic and ethical responses from Baldwin, Moody, Welty, and Walker, highlighting attention to the local

Part 4: Gwin recounts how Evers’s death spurred Baldwin, as emissary to Mississippi and as reporter, to write a play (see excerpt)

Part 5: Contrasts Walker’s location in a black neighborhood in Jackson with Welty’s location in a white neighborhood 3.6 miles away

Part 6Gwin locates Anne Moody’s work within the landscape of Jackson, Mississippi in the summer of 1963

Texts Referenced

James Baldwin, Excerpt from Blues for Mister Charlie (1964)

Margaret Walker, "Micah" (1970)

Eudora Welty, Excerpt from "Where is the Voice Coming From?" (1963)

Anne Moody, Excerpt from Coming of Age in Mississippi (1968)

About Minrose Gwin

Dr. Minrose Gwin is Kenan Eminent Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and co-editor of the Southern Literary Journal. She received both her MA and PhD in English from the University of Tennessee and is the author of Wishing for Snow: A Memoir (2004), The Woman in the Red Dress: Gender, Space, and Reading (2002), and The Feminine and Faulkner: Reading (Beyond) Sexual Difference (1990), and Black and White Women of the Old South: The Peculiar Sisterhood in American Literature (1985), and numerous essays, and coeditor of The Literature of the American South: A Norton Anthology (1997). Currently, she is working on multiple projects about racial violence, trauma, and cultural memory situated in the period of the civil rights movement. Dr. Gwin also writes creative nonfiction, poetry, and fiction, and has taught many courses related to her interests in race and gender, history and memory, location and cultural space, women's writing, American literature, and the US South.