Delta Center hosts ninth year of NEH Most Southern Place on Earth

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June 2018 NEH Most Southern Institute participants gather with Delta Center staff members Dr. Rolando Herts and Lee Aylward at the Martin and Sue King Railroad Museum, Cleveland, Mississippi (Photo credit: Mike Fagans/Lawton Ives/Jake Sheridan)

The Delta Center’s Most Southern Place on Earth Institute began its ninth year this week with an opening reception at the Martin and Sue King Railroad Museum in downtown Cleveland on Sunday evening.

The Most Southern Institute attracts 36 K-12 educators from across the United States. Participants will spend a week in the Delta immersed in the music, history, and culture of the region, interacting directly with Delta people and places. The institute is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Toni Dringman, a high school American history teacher from the Kansas City metro area, was so excited to be participating that she donated a guitar to The Delta Center made by her husband.

NEH Most Southern Institute participant Toni Dringman (center) from Kansas donating a guitar made by her husband to The Delta Center.

“To be here in the Mississippi Delta is phenomenal,” said Dringman. “As a college student at University of Missouri – Kansas City, I took several African American studies courses. My students don’t know as much as they should about African American history. The opportunity to be here in the Delta meeting people who lived that history and being in the places where major events happened means the world to me. My husband and I are both music fans, so the guitar is a way for us to thank The Delta Center for offering this educational program.”

During this week, participants will travel around the Delta experiencing historically and culturally significant people and places in the region. Landmarks they will visit include the Chinese Cemetery in Greenville, Dockery Farms in Sunflower County, the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola, and the Emmett Till INTREPID Center in Glendora.

Participants also will have unique opportunities to experience historic cultural events happening in the Mississippi Delta this week.

On Wednesday, they will attend a reading of the civil rights play “Beautiful Agitators” at GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi. Written and performed by Mississippi Delta residents, the play explores the civil rights activism of Vera Mae Pigee, a Clarksdale-based beauty shop owner who worked with youth to register thousands of African Americans to vote. The event is free and open to the public through support from Mississippi Humanities Council, Mississippi Today, The Delta Center, Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area, and Coahoma Collective.

NEH Most Southern Institute participants walk to the Mississippi River at the historic Flood of 1927 levee break site.

On Thursday, participants also will attend a special, one-time re-dedication ceremony for the Emmett Till river marker. The marker made national news last year when it was vandalized by bullets. Wheeler Parker, Emmett Till’s cousin, will give remarks along with Dr. Timla Washington of Congressman Bennie Thompson’s office. The event is co-sponsored by the Emmett Till Interpretive Center and The Delta Center.

The Most Southern Institute has created a national network of over 500 educational and cultural ambassadors for the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area. Participants take what they have learned from the workshop back to their school communities, sharing stories and lessons from the Delta with students, colleagues, family and friends, both nationally and globally.

Learn more about the Delta Center’s Most Southern Institute at http://deltacenterdsu.com/mostsouthern.

The mission of The Delta Center for Culture and Learning 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 and the National Endowment for the Humanities “Most Southern Place on Earth” workshops.

Fireside Chat – June 18, 2018 – Zack Shannon Completes Stellar Career with DSU Baseball

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Joining President LaForge is Zack Shannon, who just wrapped up a stellar career as the first baseman with the Statesmen baseball team.

The Cincinnati, Ohio native racked up numerous awards over the course of two years with the Green-and-White, including Gulf South Conference Player of the Year, South Region Player of the Year, National Player of the Year, Tino Martinez Award, a finalist for the C-Spire Ferriss Trophy, and being named to the American Baseball Coaches Association All-American First-Team.

Zach made history recently when it was announced that he was a semifinalist for USA Baseball’s Golden Spikes Award. While Zack would not be the first non-Division I player to win the award, he is the first DII baseball player to be named a semifinalist since the final 25 list was added in 2007. The 41st Golden Spikes Award will be presented on June 28 in Los Angeles.

Zack finished his career with a .420 batting average with 50 homeruns, including 31 this season, which set a new record for the most homeruns in the state of Mississippi— passing Mississippi State University’s Rafael Palmeiro and Bruce Castoria.

In other news on campus, registration for second term summer school closes on July 3. Also, if you plan to enroll as a new student in the fall, be sure to attend one of the summer orientation sessions so that you can get registered for your classes. There are two remaining sessions, June 28 and July 16. For more information on orientation or to register, please visit our website.

To keep up with all of our news, events and activities, please visit our website at deltastate.edu.

Delta State Alumni Association engages Greater Memphis Area Alumni

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The Delta State University National Alumni Association recently traveled to Memphis for the annual Memphis Area Alumni Chapter Social Event. This year’s event was held at Crosstown Brewing Company.

“Our annual event was a success,” said Jeffrey Farris, director of alumni affairs. “Crosstown Brewing Company provided an environment for all to enjoy a night to celebrate their alma mater!

With over 50 alumni and friends in attendance, this year’s meeting was another success for the chapter. Attendees had a chance to enjoy a social before the program began. Campus updates were given by Dr. Charles McAdams, university provost; Rick Munroe, vice president for university advancement and external affairs; Matt Jones, assistant athletic director, and Jeffrey Farris, director of alumni affairs. Also in attendance was Amanda Robinson, assistant alumni director and Alandria Ramsey, regional admissions recruiter.

Memphis Co-Chapter Presidents Deniger and Sarah Cobb represented the chapter and expressed actions items for alumni in the Greater Memphis area to consider to focus on. Deniger encouraged others to get more involved by volunteering, referring prospective students, downloading the official Delta State University Alumni App, and paying their alumni dues. The Memphis Chapter will continue to focus on raising money for students from their area who will attend Delta State as an incoming freshman.

To view the Memphis Chapter Social photos or other alumni association/university sponsored events, visit https://www.flickr.com/photos/dsualumni/albums.

To stay up to date on the Alumni Association’s activities, follow these social media sites: Facebook (Statesmen Graduates), Twitter (@DSU_Alumni), LinkedIn (DSU alumni), Instagram (dsualumni) and You Tube (dsualumni1). Save the date for this year’s Pig Pickin’ (Sept. 21–22) and Homecoming (Nov. 9-10).

Delta State University Alumni Association Prepares for annual events in Washington, D.C. and Atlanta

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The Delta State University National Alumni Association is gearing up for the 28th Annual Mississippi on the Mall (June 16th) and Mississippi in the Park (June 22nd & 23rd). The annual events focus on engaging Mississippians who live in the Greater Washington, D.C and Greater Atlanta areas. The events provide an opportunity for fellow Mississippians to reunite and network personally and professionally as well as support their Mississippi college or university.

The Mississippi Society of Washington, DC, is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the best interests of our state in our nation’s capital. Founded in 1892, the Mississippi Society is the second oldest active state society in Washington. The event will be held at Henry Bacon Ball Field. For more details, visit https://www.mississippisociety.org/. Over 500 people attend the event each year.

“As always, we are excited to engage the Delta State family by representing Delta State University and the Cleveland community at this prestigious event in our Nation’s Capital” says Amanda Robinson, assistant alumni director.

The Mississippi Society of Georgia is an all-volunteer, non-profit entity composed of alumni and friends of Mississippi’s higher institutions of learning. The event will be held at Chastain Park. For more details, visit http://www.mssocietyofga.org/index.php. The society expects over 1000 guests to attend.

“Chastain Park in Buckhead is an ideal location for fellow Mississippians to enjoy a day of fellowship, food, and to reconnect with their alma mater. The Mississippi Society of Georgia has an excellent volunteer base with three Delta State alumni serving on the committee since the establishment of the society in 2008. The Alumni Office looks forward to visiting with and sharing Delta State good news with our Alumni & Friends from the Greater Atlanta Area” states Jeffrey Farris, director of alumni affairs.

For the latest updates follow the social media events pages or the official Delta State University National Alumni Association Facebook Page, Statesmen Graduates.
• Mississippi on the Mall 2018 https://www.facebook.com/events/1849013568728831/
• 2018 Mississippi in the Park https://www.facebook.com/events/522088811507653/

Delta State University along with Millsaps College, University of Southern Mississippi, Mississippi State University, University of Mississippi, Jackson State University, Mississippi College, William Carey University, Mississippi University for Women, Rust College, Tougaloo College, Belhaven, Alcorn State University, and Mississippi Valley State University will have a presence at the annual events.

For more information, please contact the Delta State University Advancement and External Relations Office or email alumni@deltastate.edu.

To view past photos from the events or other alumni association/university sponsored events, visit https://www.flickr.com/photos/dsualumni/albums.

To stay up to date on the Alumni Association’s activities, follow these social media sites: Facebook (Statesmen Graduates), Twitter (@DSU_Alumni), LinkedIn (DSU alumni), Instagram (dsualumni) and You Tube (dsualumni1). Save the date for this year’s Pig Pickin’ (Sept. 21–22) and Homecoming (Nov. 9-10).

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

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FREE PUBLIC EVENT

WHAT: Beautiful Agitators
Written by Jessica James, Nick Houston, Aallyah Wright and Charles Coleman
Directed by Jennifer Welch

Headquartered at her beauty shop on Ashton Street in downtown Clarksdale, Mississippi, Vera Mae Pigee played a crucial role during the civil rights movement in the Delta. While her name isn’t figured as prominently in history books as other local luminaries, Pigee was an instrumental figure in the fight for equality in Mississippi: from her efforts organizing direct action with young people to registering thousands of African Americans to vote.
This summer, Pigee’s story will meet the stage as part of StoryWorks: “Beautiful Agitators.”

WHERE: GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi
Sanders Soundstage
800 West Sunflower Road
Cleveland, MS 38732

WHEN: Wednesday June 20 at 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday July 11 at 6:30 p.m.

TICKETS:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/storyworks-beautiful-agitators-tickets-36262130007

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

Join us for two public staged readings at the GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi in Cleveland, MS, on Wednesday, June 20 and Wednesday, July 11. Each performance will be followed by a conversation that will bridge the work of Pigee and other civil rights leaders in the Delta to the nature of local civic engagement today. The show is free and open to the public, but space is limited.

“Beautiful Agitators” is presented in collaboration with Mississippi Today, Mississippi Humanities Council, Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area, The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University, and Coahoma Collective.

Mississippi Today is a news and media company with a forward-facing mission of civic engagement and public dialog through service journalism, live events and digital outreach. Our newsroom is dedicated to providing Mississippians with reporting that inspires active interest in their state and equips them to engage in community life.

Mississippi Humanities Council is a private nonprofit corporation funded by Congress through the National Endowment for the Humanities to provide public programs in traditional liberal arts disciplines to serve nonprofit groups in Mississippi. MHC creates opportunities for Mississippians to learn about themselves and the larger world and enriches communities through civil conversations about our history and culture.

Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area is a cultural heritage partnership between the people of the Mississippi Delta and the National Park Service. Designated by U.S. Congress in 2009 and governed by a board of directors representing agencies and organizations defined in the Congressional legislation, the MDNHA serves 18 counties that contain land located in the alluvial floodplain of the Mississippi Delta.

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University promotes greater understanding of Mississippi Delta culture and history and its significance to the world through education, partnerships and community engagement.

StoryWorks is a documentary theater project created by Jennifer Welch. Now in its fourth season of performances, commissions playwrights to create immediate artistic responses to original investigative stories and the issues at their core.

Coahoma Collective is on a mission to catalyze arts-driven, community-inclusive revitalization in downtown Clarksdale, Mississippi.