1949: Burnita Shelton Matthews of Hazlehurst appointed to U.S. District Court

Burnita Sheldon Matthews (MDAH Collection)
Burnita Sheldon Matthews

She was the first woman in U.S. history appointed as a federal judge.

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1949: Opera by William Grant Still debuts in New York City

1965 League of Allied Arts program honoring Still (MDAH Collection)
1965 League of Allied Arts program honoring Still

Performed by the New York City Opera Company, Troubled Island was the first opera by an African American to be performed by a major company. Born on May 11, 1895, in Woodville, Still became an accomplished classical composer. He was the first African American to conduct a symphony orchestra, to have a symphony of his own performed by a leading orchestra, and to have an opera performed on national television.

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1949: William Faulkner wins Nobel Prize for Literature

William Faulkner
William Faulkner

Faulkner received his prize in 1950. His acceptance speech continues to be reprinted and read today.

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