DCCL observes cultural celebration

  L-R: Rabbi Harry Danzinger, Lee Aylward, Nate, Emily, and Zoe Rubenstein, children of Tammy and David Rubenstein of Oxford, and Dr. Rolando Herts.

L-R: Rabbi Harry Danzinger, Lee Aylward, Nate, Emily, and Zoe Rubenstein, children of Tammy and David Rubenstein of Oxford, and Dr. Rolando Herts.

Dr. Rolando Herts and Lee Aylward of the Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University recently participated in the Chanukah (or Hanukkah) observance at Temple Adath Israel in Cleveland. They attended the service to celebrate the holiday with community members, as well as to represent the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area.

“The National Heritage Area promotes and celebrates various aspects of the Delta’s living culture, including religious, racial, national, and ethnic diversity,” said Herts, director of The Delta Center. “Jewish people came to the Delta in the late 19th and 20th centuries seeking economic opportunity. They developed businesses here and brought their rich culture with them, which includes expressions of faith. While Jewish congregations are not as large today as they once were, one can still find temples operating in Cleveland, Greenville, Vicksburg, and Clarksdale.”

Temple Adath Israel is a Reform Jewish synagogue in Cleveland, Miss. The Congregation was organized in 1923; a Hebrew school had been started the previous year. The congregation’s Byzantine Revival synagogue was built in 1927. An annex, designed by architect Harold Kaplan of Greenville, Miss., was completed in 1949-1950. The Temple was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.

Chanukah is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the re-dedication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire of the 2nd century B.C. Chanukah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar. This is Jewish Year 5775, and Chanukah is observed from sunset on Dec. 16 until nightfall on Dec. 24, 2014.

The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of a unique candelabrum, the nine-branched menorah or hanukiah, one additional light on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night. The typical menorah consists of eight branches with an additional visually-distinct branch. The extra light is called a shamash and is given a distinct location, usually above or below the rest. The purpose of the shamash is to have a light available for practical use, as using the lights themselves for purposes other than publicizing and meditating upon Chanukah is forbidden.

The Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area is a partnership between the people of the Mississippi Delta and the National Park Service. The MDNHA was designated by U.S. Congress in 2009, and its management plan was approved in August 2014. More information about the MDNHA, including the complete approved management plan, is available at www.msdeltaheritage.com.

The mission of the DCCL 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 MDNHA 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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Rochester, NY visitor

Lee Beaulac from Rochester, N.Y., was a visitor to the Delta today!

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DCCL hosts Puerto Rican organization

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning staff members Dr. Rolando Herts (right) and Lee Aylward (third from right) recently met with representatives from PathStone Puerto Rico Rural Innovation Fund and Mississippi Action for Community Education, Inc. of Greenville.

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning provided consultation to a group of representatives from PathStone Puerto Rico Rural Innovation Fund on Dec. 9 regarding their interest in the National Heritage Area designation process. The group was hosted in the region by Mississippi Action for Community Education, Inc. (MACE ) of Greenville. 

“We are pleased that this delegation from Puerto Rico tapped the Delta Center as a resource regarding the National Heritage Area designation process during their visit to the Delta region,” said Dr. Rolando Herts, DCCL director. “The Mississippi Delta was designated a National Heritage Area by U.S. Congress in 2009, which is a major accomplishment. Our management plan was approved in August of this year by the Secretary of the Interior after a quite rigorous review process. We are happy to provide information and guidance to organizations based on the collective knowledge and experience of Delta Center staff members and community stakeholders.”

Established in 1969, PathStone is a private, not-for-profit regional community development and human service organization providing services to farmworkers, low income families and economically depressed communities in Puerto Rico, as well as throughout New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Indiana, Vermont and Virginia. PathStone has successfully operated a wide array of programs funded by federal, state, local, faith-based and private sources.

The Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area is a partnership between the people of the Mississippi Delta and the National Park Service. It includes 18 counties: Bolivar, Carroll, Coahoma, DeSoto, Holmes, Humphreys, Issaquena, Leflore, Panola, Quitman, Sharkey, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, Tunica, Warren, Washington and Yazoo.

The MDNHA is governed by a board of directors representing agencies and organizations defined in the congressional legislation and is managed by the DCCL at Delta State University. More information about the MDNHA, including the complete approved management plan, is available at www.msdeltaheritage.com.

The mission of the DCCL 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 MDNHA 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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Visitors from Santa Fe

Dan and Jerry from Santa Fe stopped by the office today; they are big Delta fans and say that they will be back!  We like to hear that!

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National heritage Area passport stamped!

We had an early morning visitor from Chicago who wanted her National Park Service Heritage Area passport stamped. We were able to accommodate her!!!

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Vickburg

Dr. Herts was in Vicksburg yesterday and snapped these spectacular views of the Mississippi River from the Louisiana Circle at the Vicksburg National Military Park, National Park Service. Vicksburg is a great weekend excursion. Below is a link to the Louisiana Circle as well as a links to haunted house tours. Have fun!!!

http://www.nps.gov/vick/historyculture/lacircle.htm

http://www.hauntedvicksburg.com/http://www.mcraventourhome.com/Hauntings.asphttp://www.hauntedhouses.com/states/ms/cedar_grove_mansion.htm

Visit our Flickr page to see more photos.

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Dr. Outlaw and Emmet Till

Dr. Henry Outlaw, with the Delta Center for Culture and Learning, recently presented his research on the Emmett Till case to three ninth grade classes at Southaven Middle School in Southaven. Outlaw spoke on his research during the 50th anniversary of the Chicago youth’s death. The program was a part of the students' study of the Civil Rights Movement in their Mississippi History class. They also watched the PBS show "Eyes on the Prize."

In addition to aiding the students, Outlaw’s research also formed the basis of Delta State University’s traveling exhibit on the Emmett Till case.

The original Emmett Till exhibit was sponsored by the Mississippi Humanities Council and was developed from an oral history project Outlaw conducted that was also sponsored by the council.

With the popularity of the original exhibit, the traveling exhibit was developed by Delta State University Graphic Designer, Laura Walker and Delta State Archivist Emily Jones with editorial assistance from Outlaw. It has since travelled all over the United States and can be checked out on loan.http://www.deltastate.edu/academics/libraries/university-archives-museum/traveling-exhibit/exhibit-info/

The Delta Center serves as the managing entity of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area . If you are interested in knowing more about the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area visit http://www.msdeltaheritage.com/ or to find out more about the Delta Center, you can go to www.deltacenterforcultureandlearning.comor contact us at 662-846-4311.

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2015 NEH Workshop to be offered

Good News! The National Endowment for the Humanities, through its Landmarks in American History and Culture Program, will support two week-long workshops celebrating the heritage of the Mississippi Delta.  The Most Southern Place on Earth:  Music, Culture and History in the Mississippi Delta will explore the region’s impact on America’s music, foodways, civil rights, literary heritage, and political landscape.  Workshops will be offered to thirty seven participants each between June 21-17 and July 12-18, 2015.  They are open to K-12 teachers, including public, private, and home school, and librarians.  Five graduate credit hours may be earned.  This will be the sixth year of NEH support for this exciting workshop. Stipends of $1200 are available. Complete information and application materials are available from the Delta Center for Culture and Learning athttp://deltacenterforcultureandlearning.com/southern-place-workshop/   and additional information is provided by NEH athttp://www.neh.gov/projects/landmarks-schools.html. The Directors of the workshop are Dr. Luther Brown (lbrown@deltastate.edu and Lee Aylward (laylward@deltastate.edu.) A special participant will be Dr. Rolando Herts (rherts@deltastate.edu,) the new Director of the Delta Center for Culture and Learning.

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Delta Center provides a tour for a Jewish group

 The Delta Center recently gave a tour to the TENT group.

The Delta Center recently gave a tour to the TENT group.

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University recently provided an introduction to the Delta for the TENT group sponsored by the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life in Jackson.

The TENT program is a series of week-long seminars that immerse 21-30 year old Jews in full impact experiences of culture, cuisine and community. This group was led Rachel Myers of the Institute who described the week- long program as “beginning in New Orleans and spending a week travelling the Delta exploring the Jewish experience in one of this nation’s most distinctive, complicated, and fascinating regions, discovering the best that the South has to offer.

Music, art, food, and visits to Jewish communities large and small made this a week the participants will never forget. On their stop in Cleveland, they were introduced to the Delta by Dr. Rolando Herts and Lee Aylward of the Delta Center. They enjoyed a meal with the congregation of Temple Adath Israel and topped the evening off with a visit to Po Monkey’s, one of the last surviving rural juke joints or “jook” houses, as documented by Harlem Renaissance writer Zora Neale Hurston and blues folklorist Barry Lee Pearson.

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Delta Center celebrates French connection

The Highway 66 Blues Association from Cahors, France, recently made a stop on their Delta tour in Cleveland.  The group enjoyed barbeque at Sweets and live music at Po Monkey’s with Big A and his band.  This visiting blues group was responsible for raising the money and working with the Mississippi Blues Commission to install a Mississippi Blues Trail Marker in Cahors in July.  According to the marker, French enthusiasts spurred international interest in Black American music by releasing records, arranging tours, and conducting pioneering research on jazz and blues. The Cahors Blues Festival, first staged in l982, has built upon the long tradition through its presentation of hundreds of musicians, including many from the state of Mississippi.  The Cahors marker is the second marker that is outside of the United States.  There is also a Mississippi Blues Trail Marker in Notodden, Norway.

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