Civil Rights

National Park Service considers Mississippi Civil Rights sites for park designation, seeks public input

National Park Service considers Mississippi Civil Rights sites for park designation, seeks public input

The National Park Service (NPS) recently announced it has begun to examine key civil rights sites in Mississippi for possible designation as a national park area and invites the public to weigh-in at the start of the project that could run two years.

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Delta Center, MDNHA and statewide partners present civil rights play at GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi

Delta Center, MDNHA and statewide partners present civil rights play at GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi

Based on interviews, research and reporting by young journalists in Clarksdale, “Beautiful Agitators” is an original play that will explore the history of Vera Mae Pigee’s activism and the legacy that her work left behind.

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Tallahatchie County Courthouse

 

Yesterday, we took a field trip to the newly renovated Tallahatchie County Courthouse in Sumner.  The renovations have taken the courthouse design back as it was during the trial of Emmett Till.  They have done a beautiful job in the restoration and are providing ongoing dialogue for the community and visitors about the tragedy that happened here in 1955.

Visit our Flickr page to see more images.

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Reading program presented with history and culture

Dr. Henry Outlaw presenting at the Como library.

Dr. Henry Outlaw presenting at the Como library.

Former Chair of the Department of Biological and Physical Sciences Dr. Henry Outlaw recently presented a lecture on the murder of Emmett Till as part of the Como Reads program at the Emily J. Pointer Public Library in Como, Miss. Outlaw has also been involved with the Delta Center for Culture and Learning.

The book selection for the discussion was Glory Be by Cleveland native Augusta Scattergood. The main theme of the book is “civil rights in smalltown Mississippi, circa 1964.”  Emmett Till’s murder in Sunflower County in late August of 1955 is often described as one of the events that stimulated the modern Civil Rights Movement.

For more information on the reading program or the Delta Center, please call 662-846-4311.

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Delta Center offers summer workshops for teachers in American History and culture

Dr. Luther Brown, director of the Delta Center for Culture and Learning, with Dr. Julia Nguyen, a program officer at the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington D.C. Nguyen is originally from Natchez.

Dr. Luther Brown, director of the Delta Center for Culture and Learning, with Dr. Julia Nguyen, a program officer at the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington D.C. Nguyen is originally from Natchez.

For the fifth year, Delta State University has received major funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities Landmarks in American History and Culture program. Funding will allow the Delta Center for Culture and Learning to offer two week-long workshops focusing on the Delta’s rich cultural heritage in June and July of 2014. Each workshop will serve 40 K-12 teachers who will come from Mississippi and all over the U.S.

Dr. Luther Brown, director of the Delta Center for Culture and Learning said, “The last time we did this we had over 400 applications, with participants coming from 47 states. This is a very exciting workshop and we hope to draw applicants from all of Mississippi and the rest of the country.”

Classroom teachers and librarians in public, private, parochial and charter schools, as well as home-schooling parents are eligible to participate. They will receive a stipend to assist with expenses and gather with leading humanities scholars and Delta State staff to develop powerful lesson plans relating to the Delta’s heritage and the heritage of their own home regions.

The workshops are titled “The Most Southern Place on Earth: Music, History and Culture in the Mississippi Delta.” Participants will travel throughout the Delta as they visit sites where significant events occurred. They will discuss and learn about issues involving civil rights and political leadership, immigrants’ experiences in the Delta, the Blues, the great migration, agriculture, and the Mississippi River, among other things. They will sample Delta foods, visit local museums and listen to the Blues. Field trips will roam as far as Greenville, Greenwood, Clarksdale and Memphis, with stops in between.

Participants can earn five graduate semester hours upon completion of the workshop.

Workshops will be held the week of June 22 and the week of July 13. Each begins on Sunday evening and runs through the following Saturday afternoon.

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning promotes the understanding of the heritage of the Mississippi Delta. It is the manager of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area, a partnership between the people of the Delta and the National Park Service. The Center will be assisted during the workshops by faculty from the University of Mississippi, Sam Houston State University, the University of Memphis and other institutions of higher learning. Local Delta citizens will also tell their own stories and experiences.

There are only 17 Landmarks in American History and Culture topics offered during 2014. Their topics range from The American Skyscraper, to The Cold War Home Front in Southern California, to Crossroads of Conflict: Contested Visions of Freedom and the Missouri-Kansas Border Wars, with several workshops focusing on the Civil Rights Movement. A complete list can be found at http://www.neh.gov/projects/landmarks-school.html.

For more information about the Landmarks in American History and Culture workshops, visit the center’s website at http://deltacenterforcultureandlearning.com/neh-workshop/ or contact the DSU Delta Center for Culture and Learning at 662-846-4311.

Caption:  Dr. Luther Brown, director of the Delta Center for Culture and Learning, with Dr. Julia Nguyen, a program officer at the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington D.C. Nguyen is originally from Natchez.

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Delta Center Discusses Civil Rights Movement

Delta State’s Delta Center for Culture and Learning recently organized a panel discussion on the murder of Emmett Till as part of a July workshop sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

The discussion was held in Tallahatchie County at the new Sumner Grill Restaurant, right across the street from the Sumner Courthouse where Roy Bryant and J. W. Milam were tried for Till’s murder in 1955.

Caption L to R: Henry Outlaw and Lee Aylward of the Delta Center, Wheeler Parker, Emmett Till’s cousin and witness to his kidnapping, Dale Killinger, FBI agent in charge of the Till investigation, Lent Rice, retired FBI, Bruce Smith, son of Robert Bruce Smith, special prosecutor in the Till murder trial, Luther Brown of the Delta Center, and Jim Powers, Chair of the Mississippi ACLU and former President of the DSU student body.

Caption L to R: Henry Outlaw and Lee Aylward of the Delta Center, Wheeler Parker, Emmett Till’s cousin and witness to his kidnapping, Dale Killinger, FBI agent in charge of the Till investigation, Lent Rice, retired FBI, Bruce Smith, son of Robert Bruce Smith, special prosecutor in the Till murder trial, Luther Brown of the Delta Center, and Jim Powers, Chair of the Mississippi ACLU and former President of the DSU student body.

The focus of the NEH workshops is on the history and culture of the Mississippi Delta. Each day, participants are guided through documentaries, information, experiences and tours of historical landmarks and cultural institutions.

Delta State alumni (’61), Chair Emeritus of the Department of Physical Sciences and Professor Emeritus of Chemistry Henry Outlaw leads the topic of the civil rights movement in Mississippi. The Emmett Till story is used as a case study for discussing oppression, revolution and reconciliation.

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning works throughout the region to serve as a “Center of Excellence” at Delta State. It is an interdisciplinary program that is focused on the humanities and environmental sciences related to the Delta.

The NEH is among the nation’s largest funders of humanities programs. It promotes excellence in humanities and delivers historical lessons to Americans in an effort to serve and strengthen the nation.

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Delta Center Welcomes Teachers for National Endowment for the Humanities Workshop

Photo: The opening reception of The Most Southern Place workshop, in the Martin and Sue King Railroad Museum. Photo by Rachel Anderson.

Photo: The opening reception of The Most Southern Place workshop, in the Martin and Sue King Railroad Museum. Photo by Rachel Anderson.

The Delta State University Delta Center for Culture and Learning recently welcomed 40 teachers from across the country to its June workshop entitled The Most Southern Place on Earth:  History, Music and Culture of the Mississippi Delta.  These scholars will be in the Delta for six days, studying aspects of its heritage from the Blues and the Flood of 1927 through the Civil Rights Movement, the Great Migration, and the Delta’s literary and religious heritage.  They will sample Delta foods from hot tamales to Kool-Aid pickles, and listened to visiting lecturers. Most of these teachers include Delta stories in their curriculum and some teach classes focused on the Blues, Civil Rights History, or other Delta themes. 
 
This workshop is made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities, through their Landmarks in American History and Culture Program.  K-12 teachers from any American school are eligible to participate, and each year, applications come from the entire country.  Twenty states are represented in this group including teachers from Mississippi and the Mississippi Delta. The opening reception for this workshop was held at the Martin and Sue King Railroad Museum in Cleveland, and was supported by the Cleveland Nehi Bottling Company, Cecil’s Liquors, Cleveland/Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce, the Parlor Purlers of Calvary Episcopal Church, Rachel Tate and Gregory Cole, Lee Aylward, and Bonnie Brown. The Delta Center for Culture and Learning is the manager of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area.  For information about the Center, the National Heritage Area, or NEH workshops, contact the Delta Center at 662-846-4311.

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Delta Center provides heritage tour for Mississippi State and Ole Miss students

PHOTO: The combined classes from Mississippi State University and the University of Mississippi at Dockery Farms. Photo by Cade Smith, Student Leadership and Community Engagement Director at Mississippi State University.

PHOTO: The combined classes from Mississippi State University and the University of Mississippi at Dockery Farms. Photo by Cade Smith, Student Leadership and Community Engagement Director at Mississippi State University.

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University provided an introduction to the Delta’s cultural heritage for a combined group of students from Mississippi State and the University of Mississippi during their Alternative Spring Break.  The students spend a week in the Delta, combining service projects with visits to attractions like Delta State University, the Quapaw Canoe Company, the Delta Blues Museum, McCarty’s Pottery, the Levee Run Farm, Dulaney Seed Company, and Po’ Monkey’s Lounge.  The students stay at the North Greenwood Baptist Church and dine in restaurants throughout the Delta.  The academic aspect of the course focuses on the Blues and Civil Rights heritage of the Delta.  The Mississippi State group was organized by Alternative Spring Break Co-Directors Courtney Allen and Chris Turner.  The University of Mississippi class was organized by AmeriCorps VISTA workers Ryan Parsons and Erin Mauffrey, and accompanied by Dr. Albert Nylander, formerly Dean of Graduate and Continuing Studies at Delta State and now Director of the McLean Institute for Partnerships and Community Engagement at Ole Miss.

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Delta Center Assists in Planning Mississippi Freedom Trail Tour

PHOTO: The students on the Jack and Jill tour, in the chapel at Tugaloo College in Jackson. Photo by Joli Cooper.

PHOTO: The students on the Jack and Jill tour, in the chapel at Tugaloo College in Jackson. Photo by Joli Cooper.

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University recently helped Jack and Jill of America, Inc., a nation-wide African American family organization, plan its Mississippi Freedom Trail Tour.  This was the group’s first tour in Mississippi, and their eighth annual tour of America.  Parents and children spent time in Jackson, the Delta, and Philadelphia, MS.  While in the Delta, the group learned about the murder of Emmett Till at the Emmett Till Historic Intrepid Center in Glendora; talked with Mr. Charles McLaurin about the life of Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer, and learned about Amzie Moore’s life from Mrs. Margaret Block.  They also toured Mound Bayou.  

Joli Cooper, organizer with Jack and Jill said “We arrived in strong numbers and experienced an unbelievable journey through our rich and sometimes tough Civil Rights history.”  Commenting specifically about the Delta portion of the trip, she said “ Everything was fantastic.”

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