From the Delta Center for Culture and Learning 

The staff of The Delta Center at 
Delta State University's Christmas Tree Lighting
Left to right: Lee Aylward, Heather Miller, and Dr. Rolando Herts
Seasons Greetings! 
We are pleased to share with you our Holiday 2014 edition of The Delta Center Newsletter. 

The November and December holiday season is a much cherished time of year, as many gather with family, friends, and colleagues to give thanks and to celebrate life. Time honored traditions abound throughout the Mississippi Delta that reflect the rich diversity of our region's cultural heritage. Indeed, one can find Chanukah (or Hanukkah) services and Christmas programs co-existing in Delta communities. African Americans in the region observe both Christmas and Kwanzaa, a secular festival that pays homage to African cultural heritage and values, as well as participate in traditional watchnight services on New Year's Eve. Watchnight services also are observed by Southern Baptists, Methodists, and Presbyterians in the Delta, along with Anglicans and Roman Catholics who participate in Midnight Mass. And who can forget the array of holiday dinners prepared and served with pride and love from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day (greens and black-eyed peas, anyone?).  

In this issue, The Delta Center highlights work and events that reflect common themes among our diverse holiday celebrations. The joys of giving and serving are displayed in a holiday appreciation meal and in toy drive donations at Delta State. The virtues of learning and sharing are revealed in National Heritage Area meetings with community leaders as nearby as Greenville and as far away as Puerto Rico. The importance of gratitude is expressed in the launching of our National Park Service Passport Program and a Delta Business Journal cover story. And the excitement of renewing connections is captured in a visit to the historically significant Amzie Moore house, as well as visits from friends who stopped by The Delta Center for a spell (visiting is a most Southern holiday tradition).

Finally, David Cohn, author of Where I Was Born and Raised, famously wrote, "The Mississippi Delta begins in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis and ends on Catfish Row in Vicksburg." We have included a special holiday message for you that pays homage to these iconic gateways to our region. 

We hope that you have experienced a wonderful holiday season so far and look forward to being in touch with you again in the new year!

Best Holiday Wishes,

Rolando Herts, Ph.D.
The Delta Center for Culture and Learning
Delta Center News
Holiday appreciation for DSU Facilities Managememt
The Delta Center sponsors and hosts a Christmas Luncheon every year for Delta State University's Facilities Management department. This year, the staff once again served a delicious meal of fried chicken, vegetables, dinner rolls, and homemade cookies. Beverages were provided by Nehi Bottling. 

The annual tradition is The Delta Center's way of acknowledging the Facilities Management Team for helping to create a positive and pleasant work environment. To our friends at Facilities Management, we THANK YOU for all that you do! Happy Holidays!
The Delta Center donates toys
Delta State University's Staff Council hosted its annual toy drive for deserving families this holiday season. The Delta Center donated 3 new toys to the cause!

The Delta Center and Delta Business Journal 




Dr. Rolando Herts, Director of The Delta Center, is featured on the December 2014 cover of Delta Business Journal magazine


The cover story, entitled "Renaissance Man," highlights key aspects of Dr. Herts' professional and personal journey that led him to The Delta Center. To read the full article, click here.

 Historic Amzie Moore house under renovation

The Delta Center stopped by the Amzie Moore house in Cleveland, Mississippi. It is undergoing a renovation and will be used to tell Mr. Moore's civil rights story to the world. Our friend Charles McLaurin calls himself and Amzie Moore "Foot soldiers for freedom"; ordinary men doing extraordinary things in the fight for civil rights. Will Hooker, Bolivar County Administrator, greeted Dr. Herts at the front door of the Amzie Moore house (right photo) and invited The Delta Center team inside to learn about impressive progress on the renovations. Dr. Herts, Heather, Lee, and Mr. Hooker are pictured with Cynthia Blockett, project contractor (bottom left photo).

The Delta Center manages the Amzie Moore/Sam Block Fund for civil rights and race relations, which supports Delta State University's Winning the Race diversity conference. To learn more about Amzie Moore's life and contributions to the Civil Rights Movement, click here.  
Updates on the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area
National Heritage Area goals shared with Greenville leaders
As management entity for the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area, The Delta Center visits with community leaders throughout the Delta region promoting greater understanding of the NHA and its goals, which include education, regional engagement, cultural heritage preservation, and economic development. 

On November 7, staff from The Delta Center traveled to Greenville, MS, to learn about natural and cultural preservation efforts at Winterville Mounds State Park. Winterville Mounds is an official state historic site listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is maintained by the Historic Properties Division of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Greenville leaders in attendance (pictured with Dr. Herts, left to right) were Greenville Mayor John Cox; Jesse Amos, President of the Washington County Board of Supervisors; Dr. Mark Howell,  Director, Winterville Mounds State Park; and Mrs. Lynn Cox, First Lady of Greenville. 

After the meeting, Dr. Herts and Delta Center staff members Lee Aylward and Heather Miller joined Dr. Howell and Mrs. Cox for a tour of Winterville Mounds. The group exchanged ideas about strategies for promoting the park as an educational and recreational destination for both local residents and tourists. 

National Heritage Area hosts board meeting in Vicksburg
The November board meeting of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area was held in beautiful and historic Vicksburg, MS. The day began with a tour of Vicksburg National Military Park led by park ranger, Dr. David Slay, and arranged by National Park Service liaison, Mike Maddell. Dr. Slay, a scholarly expert on 19th centery African American history, provided valuable insights about roles of African Americans in the Battle at Vicksburg, particularly the U.S. Colored Troops. Here, Dr. Rolando Herts and Dr. Slay stop along the tour route to enjoy one of several reflective vistas within the park. 

The board meeting took place at the Portofino Hotel overlooking Vicksburg's Catfish Row, which is known as the southern-most tip of the Mississippi Delta. The board discussed implementation of the MDNHA Management Plan which was approved in August of this year. One of the first projects that the board agreed to initiate is the expansion of the National Park Service Passport Program throughout the region. Each of the 18 counties served by the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area will feature a location where visitors can collect a unique passport stamp to add to their booklets. Below is a visitor from Chicago getting her passport stamped at The Delta Center in October. 

As of this date, passport cancellation stations are available now at The Delta Center, at the Vicksburg Visitor Information Center, and at the
Yazoo County Convention and Visitors Bureau. A full list of locations where visitors can get their MDNHA passport stamps will be released in 2015. Stay tuned!
National Park Service passport cancellations available in Yazoo County

The National Park Service's Passport program has expanded to include the MS Delta National Heritage Area, an area which encompasses 18 counties in Mississippi and was designated by Congress in 2009. You can obtain a Passport by visiting www.eparks.com. According to the eparks.com website: 


Spaces in each region are designated for you to collect rubber stamp cancellations at each national park site you visit. The cancellations, similar to those received in an international passport, record the name of the park and the date you visited.


Click here for more information  

Puerto Rican delegation learns about National Heritage Areas

On December 9, The Delta Center provided consultation to a group of representatives from PathStone Puerto Rico Rural Innovation Fund regarding the National Heritage Area designation process.  The group was hosted in the Delta region by Mississippi Action for Community Education, Inc., of Greenville. For more information, click here.

A member of the delegation expressed gratitude on behalf of PathStone, "Thank you again for the warm hospitality you offered me and our group from Puerto Rico.  Our discussion yielded exactly the information we were looking for.  The process that you described is certainly a rigorous one but one that we feel is appropriate to seeking such an important federal designation.  We also came away from our afternoon with you feeling that we are on the right track.  We are excited about sharing what we learned with our stakeholders and partners." 
Jewish holiday heritage in the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area

On Friday, December 12, Dr. Rolando Herts and Lee Aylward of The Delta Center were participants in the Chanukah (or Hanukkah) observance at Temple Adath Israel in Cleveland.  They attended the service to celebrate the holiday with community members, as well as to represent the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area. 


Pictured in the left photo are (left to right) Dr. Herts; Rabbi Harry Danzinger of Temple Israel in Memphis, Tennessee; Lee Aylward; Geri Adams of Congressman Bennie Thompson's office in Mound Bayou, Mississippi; Barbara Levingston, congregation member; and Janet Bordelon of the Institute of Southern Jewish Life in Jackson, Mississippi. The service included a menorah lighting ceremony (top right photo) and a community dinner (bottom right photo). To learn more, click here.

Delta Center Holiday Season Visitors 
Dan and Terry from Santa Fe, New Mexico, stopped by The Delta Center. They are big Delta fans and say that they will be back! We like to hear that!
On the left, Dr. Pat Crawford of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and on the right, Dr. Wimp Nichols of Gainesville, Florida, visited campus for Homecoming to help their good friend, Dr. Henry Outlaw, all Class of '61 at Delta State University, celebrate the establishment of The Dr. Henry Outlaw Faculty/Staff Service Award. 

Dr. Namita Sharma from Ann Arbor, Michigan, visited the Mississippi Delta for the first time in her life before Thanksgiving. She was most impressed with the Delta's cypress bayous, the quaint downtowns of Tunica and Cleveland, and signs of cultural revitalization in Clarksdale.

 A Holiday Wish from the Delta Center

From the lobby of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis . . . 

to Catfish Row in Vicksburg . . . 

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning wishes the entire 
Mississippi Delta region and all of our 
partners, family, and friends a Happy Holiday Season!

Dr. Rolando Herts, Director



Lee Aylward, Program Associate



Heather Miller, Program Associate



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

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