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Caruthersville Residents Featured in Historical Collection

At right, seven-month-old Plessie Ellitt IV distracts his mother, Laveta Lockridge, during Sunday morning services at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Caruthersville in 1987.

The image was part of the photo exhibit called Documenting the Black Experience in Small Town Missouri. The images were selected from the archive of the Missouri Photo Workshop (MPW), founded in 1949 by Clifton Edom, a professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia. Over the past 60 years, more than 2,000 photographers have documented 43 Missouri communities at MPW.

“The images touch the chords of universal human experience,” says David Rees, co-director of MPW. “Some pictures will resonate with each person in a very personal way.”

Other scenes captured in Caruthersville include the visual stories of teacher Elna Hill, who had a long teaching career in the Bootheel community. J.J. Bullington, the school superintendent, not only had been Hill’s student but also had taught with her when she returned to Caruthersville to begin her own career in 1982.

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