CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Jan. 16, 2009 — The Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II Southeast Missouri Regional Museum will host a lecture “Life at the Crossroads: Thad Snow and the Sharecroppers’ Roadside Demonstration of 1939,” 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10 in the John and Betty Glenn Convocation Center at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus, 518 S. Fountain St., in Cape Girardeau, Mo.
The presentation will be given by Dr. Bonnie Stepenoff, professor of history at Southeast Missouri State University and author of Thad Snow: A Life of Social Reform in the Missouri Bootheel published by University of Missouri Press in 2003. When sharecroppers camped out along the highways in Missouri’s Bootheel in 1939, a landowner named Thad Snow spoke out in support of their protest against economic injustice. The great Sharecroppers’ Roadside Demonstration, led by Owen Whitfield, made history by focusing the world’s attention on the terrible suffering of farm laborers who were evicted from the land during the Great Depression. Snow, a white cotton planter, defied custom and prejudice by befriending Whitfield and praising the peaceful demonstration. “Life at the Crossroads” tells the story of Snow’s Corner, the thousand-acre farm where Snow worked, lived, and thought about history, society, and politics in the early decades of the 20th century.
Stepenoff has been extremely active with public history institutions and works on historic preservation at the local, state and national level. She is an expert in labor history, women’s history and historic preservation, and has an extensive list of publications and presentations to her credit. Her most recent book was released in November 2008, Big Spring Autumn published by Truman State University Press. She has been reappointed by the governor of Missouri to serve on the Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation through 2010. Stepenoff’s lecture is free and open to the public.
Visit the museum’s Web site at www.semo.edu/museum/ to find out more or call (573) 651-2260.