Daily Workshop Assignments

Each day of our workshop will have central theme, and for each theme, we have chosen a short text, a single song, and a food item.  We think of these three things as being “icons” for the day.  Icons in this sense are devices that summarize complex patterns and relationships and stick in our minds.  We can use them to help us remember complicated issues more easily, and we hope that they remind us of our experiences in the Delta whenever we run across them elsewhere.  Hopefully, the meanings of the icons we’ve chosen will become clear during the workshop, but our desire is that once they do become clear, you will think of certain issues and events every time you hear a particular song or taste a certain food.

Day 1:  The River, Creator and Destroyer of the Delta

Richard Wright’s Down by the Riverside

William Faulkner’s Old Man

Song:  “When the Levee Breaks” by Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe McCoy

Food:  Fried Catfish


Day 2.  Immigrant Stories

A ruling by the US Supreme Court in the case of Gong Lum vs. Rice, 1927:  http://supreme.justia.com/us/275/78/case.html

Song:  “Sail Away” by Randy Newman, sung by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee

Food:  Delta Chinese


Day 3.  The Blues:  American Roots Music and the Culture that Produced it.

The Weary Blues by Langston Hughes

Song:  “Crossroads Blues” by Robert Johnson

Food:  Hot Tamales


Day 4.  The Story of Emmett Till

The Shocking Story of Approved Killing in Mississippi by William Bradford Huie:  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/till/sfeature/sf_look.html

Other information at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/till/

Also check out http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14904083

Song:  “The Death of Emmett Till” by Bob Dylan

Food:  Koolickles


Day 5.  The Civil Rights Movement

The Voter Registration form Fannie Lou Hamer had to fill out

Song:  “Green Onions” by Booker T. and the MG’s

Food:  Soul Food


Day 6.  The Delta in Diaspora

Letters back and forth from the South to the North:  http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5332

Song:  “Sweet Home Chicago” by Robert Johnson

Food:  Fried Chicken and Pound Cake