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The Most Southern Place on Earth: Music, History, and Culture of the Mississippi Delta

Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops for School Teachers

Postmark Deadline: March 1, 2012

“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.

Dates: Cleveland, MS: June 24–30 or July 8–14
Grantee Institutions: Luther Brown and Lee Aylward, Delta State University
Location: Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, the heart of the Mississippi Delta, with regular trips throughout the region and one trip to Memphis; Greenville, Dockery Farms (birthplace of the blues), the B.B. King Museum, the Mississippi River, Indianola, Sumner, Money, Clarksdale, Memphis, National Civil Rights Museum, Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Highway 61 (the Blues Highway), Robert Johnson’s grave, Fannie Lou Hamer’s grave

About NEH Landmarks of American History: Workshops for School Teachers

The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent grant-making agency of the federal government. As part of the NEH’s We the People program, we offer the following Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops for School Teachers. NEH Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops provide the opportunity for K-12 educators to engage in intensive study and discussion of important topics in American history and culture. These one-week programs will give participants direct experiences in the interpretation of significant historical and cultural sites and the use of archival and other primary evidence. Landmarks Workshops present the best scholarship on a specific landmark or related cluster of landmarks, enabling participants to gain a sense of the importance of historical places, to make connections between what they learn in the Workshop and what they teach, and to develop enhanced teaching or research materials.

Amount of Award

Teachers selected to participate will receive a stipend of $1,200 at the end of the residential Workshop session. Stipends are intended to help cover living expenses, books, and travel expenses to and from the Workshop location.


These projects are designed principally for classroom teachers and librarians in public, charter, independent, and religiously-affiliated schools, as well as home schooling parents. Other K-12 school personnel, including administrators, substitute teachers, and classroom professionals, are eligible to participate, subject to available space.

Teachers at schools in the United States or its territorial possessions or Americans teaching in foreign schools where at least 50 percent of the students are American nationals are eligible for this program. Applicants must be United States citizens, residents of U.S. jurisdictions, or foreign nationals who have been residing in the United States or its territories for at least the three years immediately preceding the application deadline. Foreign nationals teaching abroad at non-U.S. chartered institutions are not eligible to apply.

Applicants must complete the NEH application and provide all of the information requested to be considered eligible.

New this year: An individual may apply to up to two NEH Summer Programs in any one year (Landmarks Workshops, Summer Seminars, or Summer Institutes), but may participate in only one. Please note that eligibility criteria differ significantly between the Landmarks Workshops and the Seminars and Institutes Programs.

How to Apply

Please e-mail, telephone or send by U.S. Post a request for application information and expanded Workshop descriptions to the Landmarks directors listed here; in many cases, these materials will also be available on project Web sites. You may request information about as many Workshops as you like, and, as noted above, you may apply to up to two programs but participate in only one.