Skip to main content

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 4, 2013

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.

Dates: June 16–22 or July 7–13
Director(s): Luther Brown and Lee Aylward
Grantee Institutions: Delta State University
Location: Cleveland, MS

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.