Billy Graham Center

Interview with Melvin R. Anderson - Collection 370

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Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biography of Melvin R. Anderson

An Essay on the Contents of the Collection (Scope and Content)

List of Audio Tapes in This Collection (Location Records)

Brief Description.
One interview about Anderson's work with Voice of Calvary Ministries in Jackson, MS, particularly as director of Peoples Development Incorporated and its housing ministry to rennovate and make homes available to the economically disadvantaged in Jackson. Anderson also discusses the influence of John and Vera Mae Perkins on him, his education, racial and economic conditions in Mississippi, and the early ministry of Voice of Calvary in Mendenhall, MS.

Collection 370 [May 8, 2000]
Anderson, Melvin R.; 1955-
Interview; 1987


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.


Melvin Anderson was born in Mendenhall, MS, in 1955 and grew up there, in Biloxi and nearby Dilo as well, raised primarily by his grandmother. While growing up he was influenced by the presence of John and Vera Mae Perkins, and Voice of Calvary (VOC) which John Perkins founded in Mendenhall. Anderson was educated in Mendenhall, and attended high school at the time the town's school system was integrated in the early 1970s. He participated in an economic boycott (late 1969 to early 1970) coordinated by community blacks (John Perkins called for the boycott of white-owned businesses in Mendenhall during the Christmas shopping season of 1969 to respond to local discrimination). After graduating from high school, he went to Jackson State College in Jackson, MS, on a sports scholarship, majoring in physical education. He also worked six years for the YMCA in youth sports and as a construction worker. During that time he maintained his contact with the Perkins and VOC, which had relocated to Jackson with a more urban emphasis. In ca. 1985, Anderson joined the VOC staff as director of the People's Development Incorporated (PDI). (PDI, started in 1974 by VOC as a real estate investment division, bought, renovated and resold homes in the poorest section of Jackson.) In 1989 Voice of Calvary's president, Lem Tucker, died. Anderson then became acting executive director. In 1992, he was named VOC's president.

Scope and Content

Melvin R. Anderson was interviewed by Paul A. Ericksen at the Voice of Calvary offices in Jackson, MS, on June 19, 1987. The time period covered by the interview is 1955-1987. The index is keyed to a cassette copy and not to the reel-to-reel original.

T1 - side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape
00:05 Introduction to interview on June 19, 1987
00:30 Growing up in Mendenhall and Dilo: grandmother who raised him, influence of Voice of Calvary in Mendenhall, relationships with John Perkins' family, racial tension, being refused service at a restaurant, contemporary use of "nigger" and "colored," grandmother's nurture in place of mother
07:30 Voice of Calvary: first contact, child evangelism, bus driver Herbert Jones
09:00 John Perkins' family: model of complete family, outreach to children, love he felt, Vera Mae Perkins like a mother to him
13:00 Education in Mendenhall: good teachers, in-school Bible instruction, integration during 9th grade, mandatory integration during 10th grade, incidents illustrating difference and ongoing discrimination, racial pressure from adults not students, contribution in sports
19:15 Involvement in and recollections of Mendenhall boycott, pressure on Anderson's grandmother because of his participation, John Perkins' beating and subsequent departure of Perkins family to Jackson
25:00 Continuation on education in Mendenhall: relationships between white and black students, principal's negative influence, good coach and teacher
29:15 College, continued contact with the Perkins, distance, attraction to and joining Voice of Calvary, becoming director of People's Development Incorporated
34:45 People's Development Incorporated (PDI): housing ministry, philosophy, buying and reselling homes, origins and activity, homes as collateral for new homes, role in the community, volunteer participation, original condition of homes
41:15 End of side 1

T1 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape
01:45 Continuation on PDI: use of volunteers and donated material, increased home value, serving as a bank.
05:30 Jackson's Lynch St./Pasagula area: social conditions, housing, drugs, evangelistic and nurturing ministry through the housing program, needs and survival mentality, VOC's commitment to change community
11:15 PDI difficulties: living off reputation without making progress, staff needs
15:15 End of interview


The tapes in this collection were given to the Center by Melvin Anderson in June 1987.

Acc.: 87-79
November 3, 1993
Paul A. Ericksen

Accession: 87-79
Type of Material: Audio Tapes

The following items can be found in the AUDIO TAPE FILE:

T1 - Reel-to-reel, 3-3/4 ips, 60 minutes, one side only (transferred from original recorded cassette to reel master). Oral history interview with Melvin R. Anderson by Paul A. Ericksen, recorded on June 19, 1987. Topics covered include Anderson's youth in Mendenhall, MS, John and Vera Mae Perkins, Voice of Calvary, racial conditions, education, integration of public schools, boycott of white businesses, Voice of Calvary's People's Development Incorporated and its renovation of homes in Jackson, MS.

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