Archives and Museum

James W. Broom, director, led the way as Delta State Teachers College welcomed its first students to campus for a summer institute 90 years ago today.

90th anniversary of Delta State Teachers College

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Delta State Teachers College welcomed its first students to campus for a summer institute 90 years ago today. The students at the institute were teachers taking review work for certification purposes.

Delta State Teachers College was not officially in operation, but members of the institute faculty included some who would be on the regular college staff in September, with President James W. Broom as the director.

The faculty for the institute included James W. Broom, director; J.C Windham, local director and algebra instructor; William Marion Kethley, education and history instructor; Callie Maffett, primary methods and supervisor of play instuctor; Annie Caulfeild, English instructor; Albert Leon Young, social sciences and general sciences instructor; B.P. Brooks, plane and solid geometry and hygiene instructor; G.B. Sanders, review work instructor; and Jane Figg, history and physical education instructor.

The summer normal was not part of the regular school and provided no credit toward a degree at Delta State. Delta State Teachers College opened its doors officially on Sept. 15, 1925.

“With another class of Teach For America students visiting campus, it seems timely to celebrate this anniversary,” said Emily Jones, university archivist. “Since before the doors officially opened as an educational institution, Delta State teachers were reaching out to the community to ensure students had the best possible education accessible.”

President Emeritus Kent Wyatt, Willard  Bond, III, Donna Bond, Tom Farley, Barbara Farley, and President William LaForge are pictured in front of the plaque in Foundation Hall.

Residence hall dedication

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Delta State held a commemorative dedication of Bond-Carpenter Hall and Whittington-Williams Hall this week in the Foundation Hall lobby. A plaque was installed to recognize the namesakes of those buildings that were razed to prepare for the new hall.

The individuals whose names were on the buildings are: William Faroe Bond, member of the first Board of Trustees of Delta State; Harry Gordon Carpenter, member of the constitutional Board of Trustees of Institutions of Higher Learning for the State of Mississippi; William Madison Whittington, State Senator and Congressman; and Wirt Alfred Williams, professor of History and head of the Department of Social Sciences at Delta State.

Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Wayne Blansett welcomed the campus and community. University Archivist Emily Jones provided a history of the halls, and Director of Career Services Davlon Miller shared memories of his experience as resident director in the buildings.

President William N. LaForge delivered the dedication of the plaque and shared memories with the family in attendance.

“Delta State strives to foster a strong family atmosphere and therefore it is important to the history and culture of our university to create a lasting memory for Bond-Carpenter Hall and Whittington-Williams Hall,” said LaForge.

Bond-Carpenter Hall was constructed in 1966, and Whittington-Williams Hall was built in 1960. Residents first lived in Foundation Hall in fall 2010.

For more information on University Archives, visit or email or call 662-846-4780.


Traveling exhibit adds to Emmett Till Interpretive Center

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This March, national media gathered in small-town Sumner, Miss. to document the opening of the Emmett Till Interpretive Center.

The museum opened nearly six decades after the brutal slaying of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black boy visiting the Delta who was murdered after being accused of whistling at a white woman in Money, Miss.

In Sumner, two white men were acquitted of his murder, which some credit with helping spark the U.S. civil rights movement.

The museum’s exhibits cover the 1955 murder and crucial moments in the trial, which also attracted news media at the time.

Delta State University and the University Archives & Museum are doing their part to help recognize one of Mississippi’s most significant cases by collaborating with the Interpretive Center. University archivist Emily Jones has partnered with the center’s director, Patrick Weems, to share the university’s Emmett Till Traveling Exhibit.

The late Dr. Henry Outlaw, former employee with Delta State’s Delta Center for Culture and Learning, obtained grant support through the Mississippi Humanities Council to collect a series of oral histories in 2005, 50 years after murder. In the process, he set in motion a series of events that brought Till and his story back to the centerstage for a new generation to discover.

In 2007, Jones used the interviews and documents uncovered through Outlaw’s research to create the traveling exhibit, which debuted in Tupelo, Miss. The exhibit was also funded by the Mississippi Humanities Council. Since 2007, the exhibit has visited countless cities and towns across the nation and been viewed by thousands of school children and community members. 

“We were thrilled to work with the Patrick Weems of the center to create a brand new introductory video element to complement the permanent exhibit the enter now displays,” said Jones. “The Archives & Museum received a grant from the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi, which allowed us to work with Laeitta Wade, a student in the Delta Music Institute program, to create an entirely new and complimentary video component for the Emmett Till Interpretive Center.

“Since its first travels in 2007, the Emmett Till Traveling Exhibit has been all over the United States providing a platform for discussion, introspection and understanding of what has been referred to by historians as the moment the civil rights movement began in 1955.”

To schedule the exhibit in your town, contact Jones at or 662-846-4780. For more information on the exhibit, visit

The Roberts-LaForge Library at Delta State University is hosting "The Delta Italians" presented by Dr. Paul V. Canonici on April 13 at 7 p.m. in the Howorth Room of Capps Archives and Museum.

Delta Italians to be discussed at archives

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In celebration of National Library Week, the Roberts-LaForge Library at Delta State University is hosting “The Delta Italians” presented by Dr. Paul V. Canonici on April 13 at 7 p.m. in the Howorth Room of Capps Archives and Museum.

Canonici, a Mississippi Delta native and author, will read from his books “The Delta Italians” and “The Delta Italians Volume II.”

In his first book, Canonici tells the story of his people — Italians recruited for cotton plantations of the Arkansas and Mississippi Delta. Volume II supplements his first book but includes the immigration experiences of Italians other than those recruited for cotton plantations, especially Sicilian Italians.

“The Roberts-LaForge Library is delighted to have Dr. Canonici join us for National Library Week,” said Nacole Adams, reference librarian. “His books ‘The Delta Italians’ and ‘The Delta Italians Volume II’ lend insight into the rich history of the Delta by providing an in-depth account of the lives of the Italian immigrants, their children and grandchildren in the Delta regions of Arkansas and Mississippi.”

For more information on the Roberts-LaForge Library, visit

Delta State University, the City of Cleveland and the MS Delta Chinese Heritage Museum will present H.T. Chen Dance Company's performance of "South of Gold Mountain." Photo credit: Joe Boniello

Chen Dance Company to perform at Delta State

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Delta State University, the City of Cleveland and the Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum (MDCHM) announce H.T. Chen Dance Company’s performance of South of Gold Mountain.

Chen Dance Center (CDC), the nation’s largest Asian-American dance institution, announced that H.T. Chen and Dancers’ U.S. tour will kick off Chinese New Year on Saturday, Feb. 21 with a dance-theater event at 2 p.m. in Jobe Auditorium on Delta State’s campus. Open dress rehearsal will be held Feb. 20 at 7 p.m.

In celebration of Chinese New Year, the H.T. Chen Dance Company will be in residency at Delta State from Feb. 16-22. Throughout the week, movement workshops led by Chen Dance Company’s Associate Director Dian Dong and company dancers will include the traditional Chinese Ribbon Dance, contemporary dance and fitness demonstrations.

Delta State Archivist Emily Jones has worked closely on this opportunity and is looking forward to its arrival.

“I have seen our Delta history written about and photographed and even been the muse of songwriters for decades. I am excited to see our history put to dance!,” said Jones.

MDCHM Board President Raymond Wong said, “It’s our great pleasure to welcome H.T. Chen and Dancers to Cleveland. We were honored to be included in their research of Chinese immigrants lured to America by the promise of gold and a better life. The blending of Chinese music with Deep South Blues is amazing, and we’re thrilled to present this Lunar New Year gift to you.”

A meet-the-artist reception and audience Q&A will be held post-performance Saturday, Feb. 21. It will be moderated by Frieda Quon, associate professor emeritus at Delta State, Gilroy Chow, MDCHM board member and President Wong. Lunar New Year refreshments will be provided through support from the Chinese American Citizens Alliance’s Mississippi Lodge.

For reserved tickets, contact Emily Jones at or call 662.846.4781. Because of generous grants and donor support, this performance is provided to the public free of charge. However, a donation can be made to support future programming and the growing museum located within the Charles W. Capps, Jr. Archives & Museum building.

“We’re happy to accept donations from these wonderful performances to support the history and heritage of the MS Delta Chinese,” said Wong.

H.T. Chen and Dancers performs innovative pieces blending contemporary dance with traditional Asian aesthetics. For more information, visit

The Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum promotes local heritage preservation by actively collecting for future generations the oral histories, memorabilia, photographs and textiles related to the history and accounts of the Mississippi Delta Chinese immigration and settlement. The collection is located at Capps Archive & Museum building and is free and open to the public.

This project was made possible by a grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council, through support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the Mississippi Humanities Council.