Document Type


Publication Date



The broadcast complex that houses WLBT-TV remains today where it has always been, a few blocks outside the modest cluster of skyscrapers that defines downtown Jackson, Mississippi. Built in the 1950s a short distance from prominent businesses and seats of government, the center's managers have long enjoyed proximity to political and economic power. But as the years have passed, station planners have faced the problem of updating the center's aging physical plant and technologies. The architectural results are an eclectic mix- a layering of the new upon the old- as a consequence of repeated remodeling projects. While the station's original brick facade remains at the public entrance, behind it the furnishings have been dramatically changed to reflect contemporary needs and concerns. Familiar spaces remain but have been transformed: the cramped dressing rooms and viewing areas built to keep "Negro performers" apart from white audiences have been radically redesigned for contemporary uses. Traces of a past station remain, reconfigured for the present.


Orginally published as the introduction to Watching Jim Crow: The Struggles Over Mississippi Television, 1955-1969. Durham, North Carolina: Duke UP, 2004.

ISBN: 978-0-8223-3329-6

Posted by permission of Duke University Press.