About 50 people enjoyed a program about Eudora Welty at the August Museum Moments Thursday in the auditorium of the Union County Heritage Museum on Cleveland Street.
Dr. Elizabeth Crews, a faculty member at Blue Mountain College, was the speaker. Dr. Crews is a Welty scholar and is assistant editor of the Welty Review.
Welty won a Pulitzer Prize for her 1973 novel The Optimist’s Daughter and was the recipient of a Presidential Medal of Freedom Award in 1980.
She was a novelist, short story writer, playwright and photographer.
Dr. Crews said that although Welty traveled widely, the author “worked best in Mississippi. She was a lifelong resident of Jackson, and her home near Belhaven College is open to those interested in her work. Welty was born in Jackson in 1909 and died there in 2001.
Crews said the things Eudora Welty saw and photographed inspired the stories she wrote. Experiences as diverse as observing a caterpillar on a cotton stalk, buzzards roosting, an “egg-shaped” Delta sunset and a ride on the “Yellow Dog” train gave her thoughts for her stories.
Welty worked for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the 1930s as a publicity writer and started taking photographs during that time.
Crews said Welty believed writers should not be “crusaders” but should “help people see things as they are.
However, after the assassination of Medgar Evers in 1963, when she was asked to speak at Millsaps College, Welty insisted that all people, regardless of color, be encouraged to attend her speech. Prior that time black people had been turned away from events at the private college.
Welty was among the foremost American writers of her generation. Her novels were widely read. Among other prestigious publications, her short stories were published in the New Yorker and the Atlantic Monthly.
Dr. Elizabeth Crews is a native of New Albany and a graduate of New Albany High School.
For information about th Eudora Welty home: http://www.mdah.ms.gov/welty/