Will Campbell Commemorative Sweatshirt

In a New York Times obituary column, native Mississippian Will Campbell, who died on June 3, 2013, was referred to as “hilarious, profound, inspiring and apocalyptic, a bourbon-drinking, guitar-picking, down-home country boy who made moonshine and stomped around his Tennessee cabin in cowboy boots and denim uttering streams of sacred and profane commentary that found their way into books, articles, lectures and sermons.”

Widely known for his 60’s era activism, Campbell stood beside leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., Rev. Ralph Abernathy, James Farmer, John Lewis, and others, in historic moments such as the integration of black students in Little Rock, Arkansas. He was a friend to some of the most influential politicians and entertainers of his era. As a writer he received a National Book Award nomination for his memoir Brother to a Dragonfly, which details Campbell’s coming of age in rural Mississippi.

In 1984, Will Campbell came back to McComb, Mississippi, for a homecoming event at which he was honored for his achievement as a public figure and as a writer. For this event, flyers, t-shirts, and sweatshirts were made. This sweatshirt is located in the Gwen Porter Collection (M474) in Special Collections located in McCain Library & Archives. Gwen Porter was a reader and editor for Will Campbell and collected many items associated with him and his career. Special Collections is also home to Will Campbell’s extensive personal papers which detail aspects of his literary and activist career.

To view this item, visit Special Collections on the 3rd floor of McCain Library. For more information on this item, contact or at 601.266.6765. To see more Items of the Month, click here.

Text by Andrew Rhodes, Special Collections Specialist