At the invitation of the Mississippi Humanities Council, The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University hosted National Endowment for the Humanities chairman William “Bro” Adams during his recent visit to the Mississippi Delta.
The Delta Center is the home of “The Most Southern Place on Earth” workshops for K-12 educators from throughout the U.S. The workshops are funded by the NEH.
This was Adams’ first time visiting the Delta and the state of Mississippi.
“It’s really very powerful being here,” said Adams. “Seeing all of the young people in Ruleville celebrating the birthday of Fannie Lou Hamer, that was extremely impactful and shows how much this kind of work matters.”
“We are honored that the Mississippi Humanities Council brought chairman Adams to The Delta Center so that he could learn more about our ‘Most Southern’ workshops and our region,” said Dr. Rolando Herts, director of The Delta Center. “This was an excellent opportunity for him, us, and our community stakeholders to participate in an educational exchange about the historical and cultural significance of the Mississippi Delta.”
Adams started his morning at The Delta Center speaking with staff about the “Most Southern” workshops and how they’ve created an alumni network of over 500 K-12 educators across the country. These Delta ambassadors educate their students, colleagues, family members and friends about the culture and history of the region. They also have returned to the Delta as education and cultural heritage tourists.
Adams also learned about The Delta Center’s other partnership programs, including the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and the International Delta Blues Project.
Additionally, Adams was taken to various educational landmarks and cultural attractions featured in the NEH workshops. Stops included Dockery Farms, widely considered to be the birthplace of the blues; the Taborian Hospital and IT Montgomery Home in the historic black town of Mound Bayou; and Fannie Lou Hamer Memorial Park in Ruleville, where community members celebrated the 99th birthday of the legendary voting rights activist.
“We thank The Delta Center for taking the chairman around the Delta on a Saturday morning,” said Dr. Stuart Rockoff, executive director of the Mississippi Humanities Council. “Bro had an incredible day and was very inspired by what he experienced. The Delta Center provided a perfect start to a memorable day in the Delta. We are lucky to have such wonderful guides to the ‘Most Southern Place on Earth.’”
The morning wrapped up with an authentic Delta soul food experience at The Senator’s Place in Cleveland. The traveling group was joined by Delta State President William N. LaForge and Provost Dr. Charles McAdams, as well as Mayor Darryl Johnson of Mound Bayou and Senator Willie Simmons, owner of The Senator’s Place.
“Having the chairman for the National Endowment for the Humanities visit this morning is a wonderful experience for the Delta and for Delta State, particularly considering all of the wonderful cultural activities that are occurring in the region, ” said LaForge. “We appreciate his coming to take a firsthand look at all the work taking place in the Mississippi Delta.”
The chairman spent the afternoon and evening visiting other nationally significant Mississippi Delta landmarks, including Emmitt Till civil rights sites in Tallahatchie County and blues establishments in Clarksdale.
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 and the National Endowment for the Humanities “Most Southern Place On Earth” workshops. For more information, visit http://deltacenterdsu.com/.