Mary Ann Edwards Hoover
Museum Founder & Curator
The Back in the Day Museum, located at 208 Young Street, Greenwood, MS, 38930, in the heart of the Baptist Town District, is a community-based effort designed to replicate, as closely as possible, the unique aspects of Black family life in Mississippi during the pre-Civil Rights Movement era. Since its inception on January 1st, 2005, the museum has served as a showcase of material & visual highlights of the cultural lifestyle and heritage of African-Americans in the Mississippi Delta.
My own family, for example, worked on the Wade Plantation located on the bank of the Tallahatchie River. In the early 1950s times were very different than they are today. We lived in a home near the plantation that was similar to the size and space of the Back in the Day Museum. My father worked from sun up to sun down driving a tractor on the fields of the plantation. As a young child, I endured the many hardships and trials of plantation life with my mother, father, and my ten sisters and brothers. There wasn't much time to play during my childhood, and few opportunities for a quality education for African-Americans. We had to take and share what we could to make do.
Over the years, I developed and nurtured a personal vision that included the need to create, maintain and promote what is now the Back in the Day Museum. I feel compelled to show young people how life really was back in the day. I’m driven by the need to show them that life hasn't always been as easy-going as they see it now. I’m convinced that there are important lessons for them to learn from visual depictions of the challenges their ancestors had to endure and the tools they had to work with to manage their daily affairs. In sum, I believe my museum offers our youth a true mirror image of their past. They can see things for themselves and lay hands on the stark realities that black children had to face during my childhood. It’s a true historical wake-up call!
I’m a firm believer in how extremely important it is for our children to understand their history and cultural heritage, and all the difficulties that I, my family, and others families in the Delta struggled with to maintain pride and dignity. This understanding should be a genuine source of motivation for our children, encouraging them to strive for excellence in all that they do. With a commitment to hard work, academic achievement, respect for family values, and above all else, keeping God first in their lives, I’m certain they can attain all their dreams. The Back in the Day Museum is living proof of the strength of our cultural heritage and a testament of our families’ fortitude. While it symbolizes my life and my own humble beginnings, it also sends out my message to today’s youth - If I can rise up from these conditions and overcome insurmountable odds, surely with all the advantages you have in life, you can too!
Mary Ann Edwards Hoover
The Back In The Day Musuem
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