Digital Archives Electronic Records Film

10/10: Electronic Records Day

Chloe Edwards, MDAH Electronic Records archivist, brings us the first post in a new series celebrating Electronic Records Day and Archives Month.

At left, Freedom Rider Helen Singleton is interviewed by host Bill Stoudt. (Credit:
At left, Freedom Rider Helen Singleton is interviewed by host Bill Stoudt. (Credit:

The City at Night

Call number: Disk 0007

Format: DVD

Run time: 48 minutes

In honor of Electronic Records Day, first celebrated on 10/10/10 (can you guess why?), a new blog series will highlight some of the newly available digital content from Electronic Archives: the disk collection. These disks have made their way to Electronic Archives from other sections of the department as well as from outside donors. It runs the gamut, from audio CDs of Mississippi recording artists like Dorothy Moore and Ora Reed, to documentaries on Mississippi history, to CDs containing genealogical resources.

Today we feature one disk in particular: Disk 0007, “The City at Night” is a reformatted copy of an episode of this weekly news program that aired on KTLA in Los Angeles from 1950 to 1960. What made “The City at Night” unique was its premise: the show was filmed live and its topic kept a secret from the host and camera crew until just hours before filming (although the topic was often leaked to audiences prior to broadcast). The show was predicated on the idea that viewers could experience aspects of their city to which they might not otherwise have been exposed. “The City at Night” featured a mix of programming that included university homecomings, Hollywood’s Fire Station 27, the Los Angeles Braille Institute, and in the late summer of 1961, the show covered a Freedom Riders training session. Men and women who participated in the 1961 Freedom Rides tested a recent Supreme Court ruling declaring segregated facilities in interstate transportation unconstitutional. Groups traveled by bus, plane, or train—integrating terminals, restaurants, and restrooms along the way.

MDAH is fortunate to hold a copy of this broadcast, which was donated to the department by Winston Fuller in 2011. The program can be divided into three sections. The first shows experienced Freedom Riders addressing an auditorium of potential volunteers, describing to them in detail what will happen when they are arrested and how they will be treated in the Hinds County Jail and the state penitentiary at Parchman. Then the training moves to a simulated sit-in, showing the kind of treatment volunteers could expect when they demonstrated at a segregated lunch counter. Finally, there are interviews, first with the Freedom Riders who participate in the skit (shown in image above/below), and then with volunteer (and future donor) Winston Fuller, who would go on to participate in his first Freedom Ride to Jackson shortly after the filming. Also included in the broadcast is footage showing the arrest of several Freedom Riders in the Jackson bus station on July 26, 1961.

The training captured by this broadcast is a powerful first-hand account of preparations for the Freedom Rides, as well as their treatment in the city.  Perhaps most importantly, it shows the Freedom Riders as individuals: as kids who could see the humor and horror in Parchman, and as men and women who were determined to act to change the segregated status quo.


To find out more about this disk, search our online catalogue for disk 0007. To browse the disk collection, navigate to the Advanced Search page, check the “Electronic Records” box, and type “disk” into the keyword search bar.

All catalogued disks are available to view in the Media Room; patrons should request disks from media staff using the four digit call number.


If you wish to view this disk, please be aware that there is no fast-forward or reverse capability on the DVD: it can only be watched from beginning to end, although playback can be stopped at any point.


Chambers, Stan. KTLA’s News at 10: Sixty Years with Stan Chambers. Behler Publications, 2008. Accessed on 10/03/2014 through Google Books.

Connor, Michan Andrew. “Creating Cities and Citizens: Municipal Boundaries, Place, Entrepreneurs, and the Production of Race in Los Angeles Count, 1926–1978.” Ph.D. diss., University of Southern California, 2008. Accessed 10/03/2014 at

Image: screenshot at 00:02:11 from

Archives Film

Medgar Evers: A Legacy of Hope

The life of Medgar Evers is synonymous with the civil rights struggle and his strong leadership in the movement. This series, written by Dorian Randall, will explore his life, work, and legacy using related collections at MDAH.

Description: This WLBT newsfilm clip depicts Evers at an unknown location, circa 1959.

The Mississippi Department of Archives and History will host a series of events and exhibits to commemorate the legacy of Medgar Evers. As part of the History as Lunch Series at the Old Capitol Museum, Myrlie Evers,widow of Medgar Evers, and Mississippi State University professor Michael V. Williams will speak about Evers’ life and work. The Eudora Welty House will also feature an exhibit examining the relationship between Evers’ assassination and Welty’s writing.

Medgar Wiley Evers was one of the strongest voices in the Civil Rights Movement. Evers was born June 2, 1925, in Decatur, Mississippi, to a large family. After serving overseas in World War II, he was honorably discharged as a sergeant of the U.S. Army. Evers completed high school at Alcorn in 1946 and started college in 1948 where he met his future wife Myrlie Beasely in 1950 and also built leadership skills that he would later use as the first field secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for Mississippi. His work with the NAACP included investigating discrimination and racial violence of all kinds against African Americans across the state. After many years of service working for the equality for all Americans, Evers was mortally wounded shortly after arriving home on June 12, 1963.

For more information about the exhibits and events, visit:



Aviation in Mississippi: The Flying Keys

We will be exploring Mississippi’s rich aviation history in this series. From early flight photographs to the moon landing and beyond, MDAH collections document this exciting part of our past.

Today in 1935, two men from Meridian set a world record. The story of the Key Brothers is documented in a rare MDAH film collection, of which we show short clips below. Special thanks to Preston Everett, Image and Sound section, for writing this post and Cecilia Tisdale, audiovisual curator, and Derrick Cole, webmaster, for formatting the video.

***Due to the way this video is hosted, email and feedreader subscribers will be unable to view it within their email/internet feed. Please click through to the actual Sense of Place website to view the video. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.***

Description: Al and Fred Key with their wives and Al’s daughter. The Keys inspect cat walk on front of plane. Al and Fred shown with parents Dr. Elmore and Mary Key.  Key Field hangar in background.

In 1929 Meridian brothers Al and Fred Key were hired to manage the new Meridian Municipal Airport that opened in November of 1930. The Key brothers managed the daily operations, a flight school, and airmail schedule.  The onset of the Great Depression nearly shut down all aviation operations for the Keys and the Meridian Municipal Airport.  On the verge of shutting down, the brothers had a unique idea that would promote aviation as well as their struggling air field—they would attempt to break the flight endurance record of twenty-three days.

Before they could take off on their record breaking flight, they had several obstacles to overcome, the two biggest being air-to-air refueling and maintenance of the plane’s engine.  The solution for refueling presented itself in the form of an automatic shut off valve invented by Meridian resident A.D. Hunter.  The valve prevented fuel from spraying on the engine once the nozzle disengaged from the air craft’s fuel tank.  The second problem was solved by Dave Stephenson who welded a metal “catwalk” linking the plane’s cockpit to its engine.  This allowed the Key brothers to keep the engine properly oiled and lubed without having to land the plane.

Description: “Ole Miss” taking off from the Meridian Municipal Airport on June 4, 1935.  One of the Key brothers shown during air refueling.  James Keeton and Bill Ward (not shown) operated the refueling plane which made 484 mid-air contacts. Notice the black fuel line on the right side of the frame.

The Key Brothers took off in the “Ole Miss” on June 4, 1935 and stayed in the air for twenty-seven consecutive days, breaking the previous record by several days.  Their wives and families stayed at the air field during the flight and cooked their meals, which were taken up to the brothers in the refueling plane. When they landed on July 1, 1935, the national press and enormous crowds were there to greet them. They became local heroes. The Meridian Municipal Airport was later renamed Key Field in their honor.

Description: “Ole Miss” lands on Key Field July 1, 1935.  Estimates showed the plane flew 52,320 miles a distance that would have circled the earth twice—the record has never been broken by an airplane.

Description: After landing, Fred Key standing up in plane holding his son while his wife sits next to him.  Fred Key is carried away.  Fred and Al Key speak in hangar about the flight.

During World War II, Key Field was used as a training field for pursuit and bombardment groups.  Both Fred and Al volunteered and flew missions in the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico.  The Key brothers were recognized by the Smithsonian Institution in 1955 when their plane, “Ole Miss,” was placed in the National Air and Space Museum.

Today Key Field in Meridian is a base for the Mississippi Air National Guard.  The field from which the Key Brothers took off for their twenty-seven day flight is also the headquarters of the Mississippi Air National Guard 186th Air Refueling Wing.  This wing is dedicated to refueling aircraft during flight, a duty made possible by a group of aviators in Meridian over seventy-six years ago.

The entire Key Brothers Film Collection, 1933-1935 (MP/1978.02) may be viewed in the library at the William F. Winter Archives and History Building in Jackson.

Sources and Further Reading:

186th Air Refueling Wing website. (accessed June 22, 2011).

Martin, Nathan. “37,843,200 minutes of fame … and counting.” Meridian Star. June 30, 2007. (accessed June 22, 2011).

Owen, Stephen. The Flying Key Brothers and Their Flight to Remember. Meridian, Miss.: Southeastern Print. Co., 1985. On file at MDAH.

Park, Edwards. “They Flew & Flew & Flew.” Smithsonian Magazine, (October 1997). Abstract at (accessed June 22, 2011). On file at MDAH.