Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays
from The Delta Center for Culture and Learning 


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

Dear Colleagues and Friends:

'Tis the season of giving! Over the past few months, The Delta Center has been dedicating time, expertise, and talent toward fulfilling its mission through various projects and initiatives with the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area,  the National Endowment for the Humanities "Most Southern Place on Earth" workshop, and  the International Delta Blues Project. 

The Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area is engaged in two major projects related to giving. In November, the MDNHA launched a Fundraising Partnership Strategy aimed at developing a strategic plan for the organization's long-term sustainability. We invite you to participate by completing the online stakeholder survey. The MDNHA also is preparing to launch its grants program. A series of MDNHA grant information sessions will be held throughout the region in January 2016.

The Delta Center was honored to present at the National Council for the Social Studies annual conference in New Orleans with former NEH Most Southern workshop participants. Our NEH Most Southern alumni network is an engaged national network of over 500 K-12 educators whose passion for the Mississippi Delta make them strong educational and cultural ambassadors for the region. Applications for our 2016 NEH Most Southern workshop are being accepted now through March 1.

The International Delta Blues Project gave a successful Second Annual International Conference on the Blues featuring GRAMMY Award-winner Dom Flemons and internationally renowned Blues scholar Dr. Bill Ferris of UNC Chapel Hill. The Project's Blues Leadership Incubator hosted a pre-conference creative economy lecture featuring Roger Stolle, owner of Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art, at the Coahoma County Higher Education Center in Clarksdale, the Delta's crossroads of Blues tourism. During the Blues conference, a Blues Leadership Incubator Blues Brunch was held in partnership with the MDNHA featuring a panel discussion on the Mississippi Blues Trail, tourism, and the business side of the Blues (pictured below). We were honored to have Blues legends Bobby Rush and James "Super Chikan" Johnson on the panel. The Mississippi Blues Commission also gave a proclamation to the BB King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center designating BB King as "Mississippi's Secretary of the State of the Blues." 

The Delta Center looks forward to extending this season of giving throughout the new year as we continue to promote the Mississippi Delta's rich culture and history through education, partnerships, and community engagement. Happy Holidays!
Rolando Herts, Ph.D. 

This is The Delta Center's very own Lee Aylward and the Delta State Fighting Okra at the Delta State University's "truck or Treat" sponsored by DSU athletics. 

Heather Miller and Stephanie Green, both of the Delta Center, and Whitney Delaney of the Registrar's Office taking two boxes of Thanksgiving donations to the Cafeteria for delivery. The Delta Center participates every year in Delta State University's "Feed a Family at Thanksgiving" program. It is one way that The Delta Center gives back to our community, helping to make someone's holiday a little brighter. 

During the Holiday Season, The Delta Center has a tradition of providing and serving a holiday lunch to the hard working employees of Delta State University's Facilities Management. It is our way of saying "We appreciate you". Pictured here, Heather Miller, Stephanie Green, and Lee Aylward, all of the Delta Center. Not Pictured is our Director, Dr. Rolando Herts who was also in attendance.   

For more information on the Delta Center for Culture and Learning, please visit our website at and for more information on the MS Delta National Heritage Area, please visit the website 



Mississippi Delta  National 
Heritage Area Passport to Your National Parks Program

Thomas from Tuscaloosa, AL, became the first person we know to get every passport stamp in the MS Delta National Heritage Area. For his good work and perseverance in getting all 21 stamps, he received one of our National Park Service Centennial t-shirts. 

For more  information  about these locations please visit our website:  

National Trust For Historic Preservation's PastForward Conference

Dr. Rolando Herts, presented on the "Recognizing our Shared Heritage" Learning Lab panel at the National Trust for Historic Preservation's annual PastForward conference in Washington, DC. The panel was organized by the National Park Service and the Kellogg Foundation. While there, he met with NPS National Heritage Areas Program colleagues Martha Raymond and Heather Scotten (who proudly distributed MDNHA and Mississippi to urism materials at the "Find Your Park" booth). Herts also met Claudia Withers, COO of the NAACP, and Bob Stanton, former director of the NPS. The panel discussion highlighted MDNHA partnerships that have promoted diverse, inclusive stories of the Mississippi Delta region including the Winning the Race conference, the International Conference on the Blues, and the Delta Jewels church mothers. Read the full story.

Delta Jewels Oral History Partnership Program

The Delta Center, the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area, MS Valley State University, and Jackson State University partnered  to host two Delta Jewels Oral History Workshops, one at MVSU and one at JSU. To learn more about the Delta Jewels Oral History Partnership, click here.  
MDTA meeting in Desoto County
On behalf of the MDNHA, The Delta Center staff attended the Mississippi Delta Tourism Association's monthly board meeting at Desoto County Convention and Visitors Bureau. After the meeting, Kim Terrell, MDNHA board member and director of Desoto CVB, gave a tour of Mississippi Blues Trail kiosks and sculptures at the new Tanger Outlet Southaven. Pictured, l to r, are Rolando Herts, Kim Terrell, Heather Miller, Lee Aylward, and Shanitra Finley, director of Yazoo County CVB.  

Historic Black Towns and Settlements Alliance visits 
The Delta Center

The Delta Center and Dr. Herts (center) greeted two special guests from Florida: Deborah Guglielmo (left), museum exhibit design consultant and NY Nathiri (right), Executive Director of The Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community and the Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts & Humanities. This cultural heritage preservation and tourism planning team visited Mound Bayou, the "Jewel of the Delta," as representatives of the Historic Black Towns and Settlements Alliance. To learn more about the HBTSA, visit

National Endowment for the Humanities Most Southern Place on Earth Workshop

The staff of The Delta Center for Culture and Learning presented recently at the National Association of Social Studies Teachers' annual meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana. The presentation, "Transforming Classrooms Through Experiences in the Mississippi Delta," highlighted The Delta Center's National Endowment for the Humanities workshop "The Most Southern Place on Earth, the Music, Culture and History of the Mississippi Delta." Read the full story.
The Delta Center will offer this workshop for the 7th year in the summer of 2016. For information on how to apply, go to