I am honored to share that The Delta Center at Delta State University and the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area each have been bestowed 2016 National Park Service Centennial Awards for creating the Delta Jewels Oral History Partnership. This is quite an esteemed recognition. To my knowledge, Delta State is the only higher education institution and the MDNHA is the only National Heritage Area in the country that have received 2016 NPS Centennial Awards.
The goal of the National Park Service Centennial is to connect with and create the next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates by delivering activities, programs, and services that honor, examine, and interpret America's complex heritage. The Delta Jewels Oral History Partnership achieved this by engaging over 1,000 Mississippi Delta residents and visitors in honoring the lives and legacies of over 50 African American church mothers featured in Alysia Burton Steele's oral history and portrait collection Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother's Wisdom.
We hope that you will enjoy this special edition of The Delta Center Newsletter dedicated to the MDNHA. As always, thank you for your continued support.
Rolando Herts, Ph.D. Director, The Delta Center for Culture and Learning Delta State University, Cleveland, MS
MDNHA Receives Recognition from National Park Service
The Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area was recently recognized for it's work by the National Park Service. The recognition was
for creating the Delta Jewels Oral History Partnership.
The cultural heritage interpretation project has honored the lives of unsung Mississippi Delta church mothers featured in Alysia Burton Steele's book, "Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother's Wisdom." The MDNHA was the only National Heritage Area to receive a NPS Centennial Award this year.
As part of that recognition, a press release crafted by NPS was sent to media outlets around the world.
The Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area recently hosted administrators for the projects that have received funding through the MDNHA's grant program. The organization has funded over $300,000 over the last two years to cultural heritage development projects throughout the Mississippi Delta.
The funded work celebrates the diversity of the Delta's rich cultural heritage including restoration of historical sites such as the St. Francis Xavier Convent in Vicksburg, establishment of a museum featuring the legacy of Dr. L. C. Dorsey at the Delta Health Center in the historic black town of Mound Bayou, examination of Delta Chinese culture's influence on Delta cuisine, and celebration of the "Chitlin' Circuit Years" during B.B. King Day at Mississippi Valley State University.
For the third year in a row, the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area will be awarding approximately $200,000 in grants to organizations working on cultural heritage development projects in the Mississippi Delta.
Individual grant awards are available up to a maximum of $24,500.
The MDNHA recently installed a series of orientation exhibit banners at the four state welcome centers located throughout the region. This is another key action item from the MDNHA Management Plan that has now been completed.
The exhibits consist of two banners that give visitors general information about the MDNHA. The first banner highlights the MDNHA's five cultural heritage themes.
The second banner features an image of an iconic Mississippi Delta landmark in the area surrounding each of the welcome centers.