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Delta State University (Cleveland, MS 38733-0001)
Luther Brown (Project Director: March 2011 to April 2016)
The Most Southern Place on Earth: Music, History, and Culture of the Mississippi Delta

Two one-week Landmarks workshops for eighty school teachers on the Mississippi Delta's rich history, diverse peoples, and impact on the American imagination.

"The Most Southern Place on Earth: Music, History, and Culture of the Mississippi Delta" consists of two one-week NEH Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops held during summer 2012 for eighty school teachers on the Mississippi Delta region, its rich history, its diverse peoples, and its impact on the American imagination. Project director Luther Brown leads the first day's seminar on Delta history and the Mississippi River, including the documentaries LaLee's Kin: The Legacy of Cotton and Fatal Flood alongside a visit to the site of the levee break in the Great Flood of 1927. During day two, historian Charles Reagan Wilson (University of Mississippi) explores the area's ethnic and religious diversity, including its early Chinese, Russian Jewish, Lebanese, and Italian communities. Music scholar David Evans (University of Memphis) guides the third day on "The Blues: American Roots Music and the Culture that Produced It," featuring a visit to Dockery Farms, the plantation viewed as the birthplace of the Blues. On day four, Delta State faculty member Henry Outlaw presents the Civil Rights movement in Mississippi, with the Emmett Till story as a case study in "oppression, revolution, and reconciliation." Participants travel on day five to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, where they also visit other historical landmarks and cultural institutions (including music-related sites). On day six, geographer John Strait (Sam Houston State University) talks about the diaspora of Delta residents to the cities of the North. Readings include The Most Southern Place on Earth: The Mississippi Delta and the Roots of Regional Identity (James Cobb), Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 (John M. Barry), and Getting Away With Murder: The True Story of the Emmett Till Case (Chris Crowe), among other works.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
U.S. Regional Studies

Landmarks of American History

Education Programs

$178,872 (approved)
$178,872 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2011 – 12/31/2012