On Tuesday, I had the honor of helping surprise my doctoral advisor, John Marszalek, with news that several of his former graduate students had produced a festschrift. A group of approximately thirty family, friends, former students, and colleagues gathered in Starkville to unveil a new book, entitled Of Times and Race: Essays Inspired by John F. Marszalek. This edited collection of essays includes contributions by seven of John’s former doctoral students, as well as one close friend and colleague, Edna Greene Medford.

Mike Ballard, one of John’s first students and currently professor and coordinator of the Congressional Collection at Mississippi State University Libraries, initiated and spearheaded this project. He solicited the contributions that will appear as chapters and did the vast majority of the interaction with Editor-in-Chief Craig Gill and the University Press of Mississippi. As co-editor, I provided moral support and helped edit the contributions.

The evening at Three Generations in Starkville was filled with fond memories, laughter, and good food. The Cheerful Assassin truly received his due.

L-R: Mark Cheathem, Mike Ballard, John Marszalek, Jeanne Marszalek, Tim Smith, Horace Nash, Tom Cockrell

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