Two one-week workshops for eighty school teachers on the history and culture of the Mississippi Delta, with music as a focus.
Two 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, to include 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 known as the birthplace of the Blues, and a discussion of 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, where they also visit other historical landmarks and cultural institutions, including music-related sites. On day six, geographer John Strait (Sam Houston State University) lectures on the diaspora of Delta residents to the cities of the North. Readings include the following, 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.