tour

DCCL immerses Swedish tour group in Mississippi Delta's culture

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning's experiential learning component continues to introduce diverse groups of visitors to the vibrant cultural heritage of the 18-county Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area.

Recently, The Delta Center hosted a Swedish tour group visiting the Mississippi Delta during Juke Joint Festival. This is the third year that The Delta Center has hosted this international group of traveling music enthusiasts.  

Organized and led by Anders Roddar and Klaus Engstrom, the group came to the Mississippi Delta to be immersed in the “Birthplace of the Blues.” During this particular visit, the group also learned about and experienced more of the Delta region’s various cultural heritage assets including African American worship practices, civil rights landmarks, and soul food.

“We try to vary our trips each year. This year’s trip is called ‘Rock Your Blues’ and we started in Woodstock, NY before making our way down here,” said Engstrom. “We have been in Clarksdale several times before, but this is our first time here for the Juke Joint festival."

"The culture here in the Delta is so rich and so real. We love the music, the food, the places, and most of all the people. This time, we wanted to do something that we had not done before, so I said let's see if we can go to an African American church service," explained Roddar. "We are so happy that The Delta Center did this for us. The church was so welcoming and the members there embraced us. It felt like coming home."

During the week, the group visited the “Cast of Blues” exhibit at The Delta Center, Dockery Farms, GRAMMY Museum Mississippi, and Po Monkey’s Lounge, the world famous rural juke joint in Merigold. They crossed the Emmett Till Memorial Highway to gather at Robert Johnson’s gravesite at Little Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Greenwood. The group dined on fried catfish and BBQ at The Senator’s Place and Airport Grocery in Cleveland. On Sunday, they attended worship service at New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Clarksdale.

For many on the trip, this was their first visit to Mississippi. Peggy Sempler-Boccalini now makes her home in the south of France and attends music festivals regularly. For her, Clarksdale's festival was one of the best she has attended anywhere.

“The feeling is all about the festival. I’ve never seen anything like it," she said. "I live in France now, and we have a lot of festivals and they’re very nice, but there’s something different here. The communication, the being together. You speak with everyone. You are friends. It’s just a very nice feeling here.”

Several of The Delta Center’s experiential learning sites are included on the Top 40 Places to Visit in the Mississippi Delta website. The website was launched recently by GRAMMY Museum Mississippi in partnership with the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area to promote the entire Mississippi Delta as a cultural heritage tourism destination. To learn more, visit http://msdeltatop40.com/.

The mission of The Delta Center is to promote greater understanding of Mississippi Delta culture and history and its significance to the world through education, partnerships and community engagement. The center serves as the management entity of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and is the home of the National Endowment for the Humanities “Most Southern Place on Earth” workshop and the International Delta Blues Project.

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Delta Center hosts Lehrhaus Judaica

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning recently hosted "Jews, Blues, and Jazz Tour" from Lehrhous Judaica of Berkeley, Calif.

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning recently hosted "Jews, Blues, and Jazz Tour" from Lehrhous Judaica of Berkeley, Calif.

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning recently conducted a day-long learning experience for Lehrhaus Judaica from Berkeley, Calif. 

The 33-person tour from the Bay Area was billed as “Jews, Blues, and Jazz,” and the group was on its way from Memphis to New Orleans, with stops in Cleveland, Greenwood, and Natchez.

The tour was led by Fred Rosenbaum, an educator and historian who founded the organization in 1974. Rosenbaum has been a faculty member at the University of San Francisco, San Francisco State University and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, where for five years he taught a semester-long course on the Holocaust to Christian seminarians.

Rosenbaum has lectured across the United States and abroad and has been the traveling scholar on numerous Lehrhaus-JCCSF study tours — to Eastern and Western Europe, Israel and the Middle East, South America and Cuba, and his native New York.

The Delta Center’s Lee Aylward introduced the group to the area, many on their first trip to the region. This was the group’s second year to visit the Delta.

Learn more about the group at www.lehrhaus.org.

Fred Rosenbaum (left), traveling scholar; Lee Aylward, the Delta Center; Vernita Lyons, tour coordinator; and Ariel Goldstein, tour director.

Fred Rosenbaum (left), traveling scholar; Lee Aylward, the Delta Center; Vernita Lyons, tour coordinator; and Ariel Goldstein, tour director.

The mission of the Delta Center is to promote greater understanding of Mississippi Delta culture and history and its significance to the world through education, partnerships and community engagement. The Delta Center serves as the management entity of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and is the home of the International Delta Blues Project. For more information, visit http://www.deltastate.edu/academics/delta-center-for-culture-and-learning/.

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Delta Center tours with Mississippi State students

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University recently provided an experiential learning tour to Mississippi State University's Alternative Spring Break group.

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University recently provided an experiential learning tour to Mississippi State University's Alternative Spring Break group.

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University recently provided an experiential learning tour of the Mississippi Delta region to Mississippi State University’s Alternative Spring Break group, which is sponsored by the Office of Student Leadership and Community Engagement at MSU.

The group was led by student volunteers and were housed for the week at the North Greenwood Baptist Church. They were treated to an introduction to Delta history by the Delta Center’s Lee Aylward.

Delta Center director Dr. Rolando Herts provided an overview of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area. The group travelled throughout the week around the Delta experiencing cultural heritage sites, agricultural sites and educational groups.

The group spent their evenings watching movies about the Delta and reflecting on lessons learned throughout the day.

The mission of The Delta Center is to promote greater understanding of Mississippi Delta culture and history and its significance to the world through education, partnerships and community engagement. The Delta Center serves as the management entity of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and is the home of the International Delta Blues Project. For more information, visit http://www.deltastate.edu/academics/delta-center-for-culture-and-learning.

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Delta Center welcomes Mississippi State and Ole Miss students

The Delta Center recently provided Mississippi State University and University of Mississippi students an introduction of the Delta's cultural heritage.

The Delta Center recently provided Mississippi State University and University of Mississippi students an introduction of the Delta's cultural heritage.

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University recently provided an introduction of the Delta’s cultural heritage to a combined class from Mississippi State University and the University of Mississippi.

This is the second year a combined service-learning class has visited the Delta.

The class was designed by Dr. Cade Smith from Mississippi State and accompanied by Dr. Albert Nylander, former dean of Graduate and Continuing Studies at Delta State and now director of the McLean Institute for Partnerships and Community Engagement at University of Mississippi.

Brie Bajus, AmeriCorps VISTA worker at Mississippi State University, provided logistic support for the class, and the Delta Center’s Lee Aylward led the tour.

For information about the National Heritage Area, contact the center at 662-846-4311.

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Florida School Returns to the Delta

 The St. Stephens Episcopal School Delta Heritage Class, in front of “A Cast of Blues,” the collection of life-masks of Blues musicians created by sculptor Sharon McConnell, outside the offices of the Delta Center in Ewing Hall. Group leader William Southerland is on the far right, next to Luther Brown of the DSU Delta Center. Photo by Lee Aylward.

 The St. Stephens Episcopal School Delta Heritage Class, in front of “A Cast of Blues,” the collection of life-masks of Blues musicians created by sculptor Sharon McConnell, outside the offices of the Delta Center in Ewing Hall. Group leader William Southerland is on the far right, next to Luther Brown of the DSU Delta Center. Photo by Lee Aylward.

The DSU Delta Center for Culture and Learning recently provided an overview of the Delta’s cultural heritage to a class from St. Stephen’s Episcopal School of Bradenton, Florida. The class was organized by William Sutherland, a specialist in Southern literature who participated in one of the Delta Center’s workshops in 2010. He has returned to the Delta with two high school classes since then. The workshops are titled “The Most Southern Place on Earth, History, Music and Culture of the Mississippi Delta.” They are offered to teachers annually, and are funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Several former participants have brought their own classes to the region to introduce them to the Delta’s important cultural heritage. The St. Steven’s class spent a week in the Delta, flying in and out of Memphis.

 

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