THE DELTA CENTER NEWSLETTER

The mission of The Delta Center is to promote greater understanding of Mississippi Delta culture and history and its significance to the world through education, partnerships, and community engagement.
Message from the Director

In academic circles, summer generally is viewed as a time to relax, recharge, and prepare for the beginning of the fall semester. Here at the The Delta Center, summer represents so much more.

For the past six years, The Delta Center has organized and hosted the "Most Southern Place on Earth" workshops funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). These workshops have exposed over 450 K-12 educators from throughout the United States to the Mississippi Delta's rich history and cultural heritage. NEH alumni take what they have learned back to their schools and communities. They essentially  have become a national network of educational and cultural ambassadors for the Mississippi Delta. Many participants return to the Delta after their NEH workshop experience, touring the region with family members, students, colleagues, and fellow NEH workshop participants.

This summer's NEH workshop participants represented 33 states, including Alaska, California, Florida, New Hampshire and Indiana. Several teachers from Mississippi participated as well. This fall, a group of NEH alumni - led by a participant from Alaska - will present at the National Council for the Social Studies conference in New Orleans. The Delta Center has been invited to participate in the panel discussion, which will include the Emmett Till traveling exhibit. This is an example of how busy summer seasons at The Delta Center yield even greater opportunities to fulfill its mission.

While hosting NEH workshops in June and July, The Delta Center simultaneously made significant progress implementing the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area (MDNHA) Management Plan. The completion of the region-wide National Park Service Passport Program in the spring led to requests for two additional MDNHA passport stations in Leland: one at the the Kermit the Frog Museum and another at the Highway 61 Blues Museum.

The MDNHA continued to host community events with Alysia Burton Steele and the Delta Jewels church mothers. The largest Delta Jewels community gathering occurred in July as part of Mound Bayou's 128th Founders' Day celebration weekend. Over 300 guests from across the country gathered to honor the Delta Jewels, hearing them share authentic Delta stories about faith, education, sharecropping, culinary traditions, and the Civil Rights Movement in a historic Delta community (Mound Bayou, founded by African American slaves in 1887, is included on the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places). This community gathering and an oral history workshop hosted at Delta State's Coahoma Higher Education Center in Clarksdale helped formalize the MDNHA's Delta Jewels Oral History Partnership that will launch during the fall semester.

The Delta Center also marked the completion of a successful first year administering the International Delta Blues Project. Through campus and community partnerships, the Project has seen great progress, including the launching of a  Blues studies minor at Delta State this fall. The Second Annual International Conference on the Blues will be hosted at Delta State on Monday, October 5 and Tuesday, October 6, and will feature preeminent Blues scholar and folklorist, Dr. Bill Ferris, from the Center for the Study of the American South at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. The conference also will feature GRAMMY Award-winning Blues artist, Dom Flemons, and a panel discussion on the the internationally renowned Mississippi Blues Trail. For more information, see the 2014-15 annual report .   

NEH recently announced continued funding for "Most Southern" workshops in 2016. Indeed, summer will continue to be a busy time at The Delta Center: promoting greater understanding of  Mississippi Delta culture and history is an ongoing labor of love.
  
Warm regards,
  
Rolando Herts, Ph.D. 
Director

The Second Annual International Conference on the Blues
will be held October 5-6, 2015. 
Topics of general interest to scholars and enthusiasts alike will be presented, including the African American musical tradition and its influence on American music and culture; the Blues; folklore; history; ethnicity; and the Delta.
Special guest artists and presenters will include
Dom Flemons (pictured on the left) and Dr. William Ferris (pictured on the right). 


  T he International Delta Blues Project hosted a faculty retreat at Leo's at the Levee, on August 11, 2015.  This was a forum for the newly implemented Blues Studies faculty to meet, share, and brainstorm news ideas for the program. For  more information on the Blues Studies Minor please contact blues@deltastate.edu
 or The Delta Center at 662-846-4311







The Delta Center  hosted a Landmarks in American History and Culture workshop again this year. The workshop is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and is titled "The Most Southern Place on Earth:  Music, History and Culture of the Mississippi Delta."

For more information please visit:   NEH: The Most Southern Place on Earth



The National Endowment for the Humanities also announced recently that it will continue funding national programs such as The Delta Center's Most Southern Place on Earth workshops.

For the complete article please go to:  NEH announces funding



For more information on the DeltaCenter for Culture and Learning, please visit our website at 
http://deltacenterforcultureandlearning.com/ and for more information on the MS Delta National Heritage Area, please visit the website   www.msdeltaheritage.com

Recent News


UPDATES ON THE 
MISSISSIPPI DELTA 
NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA


The MDNHA  is pleased to announce two new  additions  to its National Parks Service Passport Program. The picture on the left is the Jim  Henson  Museum (Home of the Frog) and the picture on the right is the Highway 61 Blues  Museum , both located in Leland, MS. 
  For more  information  about these locations please visit our website:  


National  Alliance of Heritage Areas 



Dr. Rolando Herts, director of The Delta Center and the MDNHA, attended the spring meeting of the Alliance of National Heritage Areas. The meeting was hosted by the Kenai Mountains - Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area in Alaska.
For the complete article please go to: 

 Delta Jewels
 

The Delta Center, the MDNHA, and Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church of Mound Bayou jointly sponsored Alysia Burton Steele's "Gathering of the Delta Jewels."  This historic gathering celebrated all of the Mississippi Delta church mothers who were photographed and interviewed for Steele's book "Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother's Wisdom." 
For the complete article please go to:

 
The Delta Center and the Coahoma County Higher Education Center recently hosted an oral history session in Clarksdale. The session featured University of Mississippi photojournalism professor Alysia Burton Steele, author of "Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother's Wisdom," a collection of oral histories and photographs of African American church mothers from the Mississippi Delta.  

For the complete article please go to: 

Dr. Rolando Herts served as a community judge for U.S. Congressman Bennie Thompson's annual Congressional Art competition held at Greenville High School. Mayor David Cox of Greenville attended this event that celebrates the artistic talent of Delta youth. The Delta Center appreciates Congressman Thompson, as well as U.S. Senator Thad Cochran, U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, and all of our state and local elected officials, for their continued support of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area, the National Park Service, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. 
 
DELTA CENTER NEWS



The Delta Center recently provided a heritage tour for the Williamson family reunion. The 10 Williamsons grew up on the Sunflower Plantation in Sunflower County, the children of Audra and Ollice. Since the death of their parents in 1981 and 1982, they have gathered each summer in a central location to honor the memory of their parents.
For  the  complete  article  please go to:



The Delta Center once again invited participants from its NEH workshops to donate bedding they used in campus dorms to the St. Gabriel Mercy Center in Mound Bayou, Miss.
For the complete article please go to:

Dr. Rolando Herts, director of The Delta Center, recently gave a presentation at the "Blues Got A Soul" Technology Conference sponsored by the Jus Blues Music Foundation. The conference was held July 31, at the Horseshoe Casino & Hotel in Tunica, MS
For the complete article please go to:

For over ten years, Dr. John Strait has brought his cultural geography class to the Delta for a week of research. Each year the class comes to Delta State University for an overview of the Delta. We loved being with them yesterday, and if you are at Monkey's tonight, I bet you will run into them. Dr. Strait first brought his classes when he was teaching in Louisiana. Today and for the past few years, he has been teaching at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX.



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