Library seeks help in identifying 1950s Biloxi

 There’s an old black-and-white government-created documentary floating around on the internet that should have special appeal to Biloxi residents, and the city is embarking on a project to give the short film new life and new meaning.

“Social Change in a Democracy,” an almost half-hour documentary created by the U.S. Army in 1951, discusses the values of the democratic way of life and how laws can be enacted to protect communities.

The documentary appears to have been filmed in Biloxi, offering glimpses of downtown Biloxi at the time, along with several other since-demolished landmarks, including the old Biloxi City Hall and old Biloxi High School.

A number of locals — students, fishermen, and city leaders of the time — make cameo appearances in the documentary, which tells the story of the community rallying to enact laws to protect local water quality and the livelihoods of local fishermen.

And now Jane Shambra, head of the Local History and Genealogy Department at the Biloxi Public Library, is asking for help in identifying people and locations in the documentary.

Shambra will have an online viewing of the clip at the Biloxi Public Library on Friday from 2 to 4 p.m.

The city’s Public Affairs Office, meantime, is working to obtain a quality version of the documentary from the National Archives.

“It’s fascinating to see video of old Biloxi and the people of old Biloxi,”  Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich said. “What we want to do now is identify as much as we can, and, using the National Archives issue, create a ‘pop-up’ version of the documentary, with informative subtitles. It should be a fun and educational little project.”
See the documentary online, from King Rose Archives
See the library notice


News and notes

Podcasting from the Breakfast:  This week’s installment of the “City Desk” podcast takes place on the heels of the Biloxi Chamber’s “Breakfast with the Mayor” this morning. Guests include Mayor Andrew “FoFo”Gilich recapping events du jour, and Parks & Recreation Superintendent Jaime Lee, who speaking about the upcoming Mississippi Senior Olympics.  To hear the podcast, click here.

Photos from the Breakfast:  To see images from the Biloxi Chamber of Commerce’s Breakfast with the Mayor this morning at the IP Casino, click here.

Meeting with students:  Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich this morning met with a group of students visiting from Iowa.  To see images from the gathering, click here.  

Accolades for Biloxi Police:  The presentations and awards have been lining up lately for Biloxi Police Chief John Miller.  For a look at the honors, click here

Painting for a good cause:  Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich signed his name to a painting that he and artist Tonya Hebert have completed for CASA of Harrison County’s event, P’CASA.  The work will be auctioned when the gathering takes place Thursday evening at the Beau Rivage.  To see images of the signing, click here