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Grant number: BH-50543-13

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BH-50543-13

Delta State University (Cleveland, MS 38733-0001)
Luther Brown (Project Director: 03/07/2013 to present)

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 history and culture of the Mississippi Delta, with music as a focus.

Two one-week Landmarks workshops for eighty school teachers on the history and culture of the Mississippi Delta, with music as a focus. These six-day workshops focus on the history and culture of the Mississippi Delta, described by historian James Cobb as "the most Southern place on earth." 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. With music scholar David Evans (University of Memphis) serving as lead scholar, the third day unfolds around the theme, "The Blues: American Roots Music and the Culture That Produced It." Participants visit Dockery Farms, the plantation known as the birthplace of the Blues, and consider how life in the Delta influenced the music of early Blues musicians like Charley Patton and Robert Johnson. 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, the site of Martin Luther King's assassination; they also visit other historical landmarks, cultural institutions, and music-related sites. On day six, geographer John Strait (Sam Houston State University) lectures on the migration of Delta residents to the cities of the North. Readings include, among other works: James Cobb, The Most Southern Place on Earth: The Mississippi Delta and the Roots of Regional Identity; John M. Barry, Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927; and Chris Crowe, Getting Away With Murder: The True Story of the Emmett Till Case.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
U.S. Regional Studies

Program:
Landmarks of American History

Division:
Education Programs

Total amounts:
$177,601 (approved)
$177,601 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2013 – 12/31/2014