BSU Alumni Dr. J. Lee Annis Jr. will have his book, “Big Jim Eastland: The Godfather of Mississippi” published in Spring 2016. He is currently serving as the Chair of the Department of History and Political Science at the Rockville Campus of Montgomery College in Maryland. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in History from Ball State in the mid-1970s, and Dr. Tony Edmonds was his advisor. Dr. Annis dedicated this work to Dr. Edmonds who’s college experience inspired this book.
“A balanced biography of a powerful Mississippi Senator rife with contradictions
For decades after the Second World War, Senator James O. Eastland was one of the more intransigent leaders of the Deep South’s resistance to what he called “the Second Reconstruction.” And yet he developed, late in his life, a very real friendship with state NAACP chair Aaron Henry, one of the true giants of the civil rights revolution in the annals of Mississippi. Big Jim Eastland provides the life story of this savvy, unpredictable powerhouse.
From 1947 to 1978, Eastland wore that image of resistance proudly, even while recognizing almost from the beginning his was the losing side. Biographer J. Lee Annis Jr. chronicles such complexities extensively, but delves into many facets lesser-known to the general public. Born in the Mississippi Delta as part of the elite planter class, Eastland was appointed to the U.S. Senate in 1941 by Democratic Governor Paul B. Johnson, Sr. Eastland ran for and won the Senate seat outright in 1942 and served in the Senate from 1943 until his resignation in 1978.
A blunt man of few words but many contradictions, Eastland was an important player in Washington, from his initial stint in 1941 where he rapidly salvaged several key local projects from bungling intervention, to the 1970s when he shepherded Supreme Court nominees of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford to Senate confirmation. Annis paints the full picture of the man, describing the objections Eastland raised to civil rights proposals, and the eventual accommodations he needed to make after the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”
Ken Hall wrote the introduction to the collected volume The Millennial Generation in Vietnam: Lock and Load, Rock and Roll, which includes essays by five Vietnam War veterans and 10 Ball State University Honors College students, subsidized by the Ball State Honors College and published by Amazon.com. The volume results from a 2013-2014 Immersive Learning project led by Ken and Gerald Waite of the Ball State Peace Studies Center, which included a 3-week field study in Vietnam shared by the students and the War veterans, during and follow which the students collaboratively created a new vision of the war, the country, and its people as “this text generates a new look at history, the present, and what may be to come in the developing world of Vietnam.” Prior to the book’s publication the students made a series of collective presentations of their project at regional, national, and international conferences on Innovative and Immersive Learning.
In mid-July Ken presented a research paper on “Religious Identities and Islamic Conversions in 15th and 16th Century Java” at a University of Hong Kong hosted workshop on Early Indian Ocean Maritime Networking, followed by a paper presentation on “International Trade and Upstream-Downstream Networking in 16th and 17th Century Banjarmasin in Southeast Borneo” at an international Comparative Religious and Trade Networks in Southeast Asia conference hosted by the Asia Research Institute at the National University of Singapore. Ken is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore during the during the fall term.