Historical Society hears Berard
by Anne Hart Preus
Aug 12, 2014 | 2666 views | 0 0 comments | 59 59 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Clay Rayner (left) talks to Adrienne Berard about her book, "When Yellow Was Black," at the Bolivar County Historical Society's meeting Monday.
Clay Rayner (left) talks to Adrienne Berard about her book, "When Yellow Was Black," at the Bolivar County Historical Society's meeting Monday.
slideshow
The Bolivar County Historical Society met Monday at the Capps Achieves Building on Delta State's campus.

Emily Jones, president of the Bolivar County Historical Society, announced an upcoming exhibit of Debra Ferguson's artwork for two weeks beginning Aug. 24 and introduced the day's speaker, Adrienne Berard, writer-in-residence at the University Archives and Museum.

Berard who received her master's degree in journalism from Columbia University, will be at the Capps Building until December doing research for her book, "When Yellow Was Black."

Her research is made possible by a grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council.

The book is a character driven account of two fourth grade girls, Martha and Bertha Lum, who were turned away from elementary school in Rosedale in 1924 because they were Chinese.

Their father, Gong Lum's, fight to have them attend the white school went all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

The family lost its battle resulting in an exodus of Chinese from the Delta and an upheaval in Chinese culture.

The Lum's supporters helped to finance their court battle and helped to establish the Cleveland Mission School in Cleveland for Chinese students.

Berard strives to re-create the Mississippi Delta in the 1920's and wants to represent what the world was like at that time in her book.

The Chinese Exclusion Act was re-passed and other legislation that was ignored, came up again to relegate the Chinese to the other side of the Jim Crow south.

"When Yellow Was Black" is scheduled for publication next year by Beacon Press.

The third floor of the Capps Center houses a permanent display of the role Chinese grocers played in the Mississippi Delta.

In October, the Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum and Delta State will host Delta Chinese Reflections and Reunion.