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The public is invited to a special panel and book signing Sept. 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the Charles W. Capps, Jr. Archives and Museum Building. The event is titled “In Remembrance of Margaret Block, Civil Rights Movement Organizer: Voting Rights, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.” Photo from the Univ. of Florida.

Panel and book signing to honor Margaret Block

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The Delta State University Quality Enhancement Plan, and the DSU Diversity Committee invites the public to a special panel and book signing Sept. 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the Charles W. Capps, Jr. Archives and Museum Building. The event is titled “In Remembrance of Margaret Block, Civil Rights Movement Organizer: Voting Rights, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.”

During the week of Sept. 6-11, the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program (SPOHP) at the University of Florida, returns to the Mississippi Delta to conduct oral history research on the civil rights movement in Mississippi and the American South. A highlight of this year’s trip will be the public panel. The event is co-sponsored by Delta State University and the University of Florida.

The panel will focus on “Voting Rights, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” and the event will honor the memory of Margaret Block, an organizer of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Bolivar County in the 1960s. Block was a life-long human rights activist.

The panel will begin with the world premier screening of a new documentary titled “Celebrating the Life of Margaret Block, Civil Rights Activist.” The first 50 audience members and educators who attend the event will receive a free copy of the Margaret Block Remembrance DVD, as well as a booklet copy of SPOHP’s award-winning “I Will Never Forget: Memories from Mississippi Freedom Summer,” which contains first-hand accounts from SNCC veterans on the Freedom Movement in the 1960s.

This year’s panel will feature Mississippi State University’s Jason Ward, who will discuss his new book, “Hanging Bridge: Racial Violence, and America’s Civil Right Century.” The book was recently published by Oxford University Press. Ward will be signing copies of his book after the discussion.

Delta State instructor of political science, Arlene Story Sanders, will discuss voting restrictions in Mississippi. Sanders is chair of the DSU Diversity Advisory Committee.

Rounding out the panel will be Paul Ortiz, author of the award-winning books “Emancipation Betrayed” and “Remembering Jim Crow.” Ortiz will speak about voting rights and democracy in the United States.

Since 2008, SPOHP has worked under the guidance of a number of organizations during this annual civil rights history field work trip. These include the Sunflower County Civil Rights Organization, the Sam Block Civil Rights Organization, the Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture, Veterans for Peace, United Food & Commercial Workers, as well as the Equal Justice Initiative and the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama. Each of the interviews collected during the history of the project are publicly accessible to all at the University of Florida’s Mississippi Delta Freedom Project Digital Collection, which can be accessed at http://ufdc.ufl.edu/freedom

Panel co-sponsors include: the Delta State University Quality Enhancement Plan, the DSU Diversity Committee, the University of Florida Office Of Research, the Robert and Gay Zieger Social Justice Scholarship Fund, William De Grove and Mark Proctor.

For more information about the panel, contact Sanders at asanders@deltastate.edu or Ortiz at portiz@ufl.edu.

brass band

Levitt AMP Cleveland Music Series begins tonight

By | College of Arts and Sciences, Community, Delta Music Institute, Students | No Comments

The Levitt AMP Cleveland Music Series launches tonight at 7 p.m. with the Southern Komfort Brass Band, bringing the joy of free, live music to downtown Cleveland’s Green Space for the next 10 weeks.

Thanks to a $25,000 matching grant from the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, a private family foundation supporting the largest free outdoor concert series in America, the Levitt AMP Cleveland Music Series promises high quality entertainment and good times for everyone.

Taylor Henry

Taylor Henry

Those attending are encouraged to bring family and friends, along with picnic blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy the open lawn setting of the Green Space.

All Levitt AMP concerts are free and open to the public.

Visit www.levittamp.org/cleveland for the full concert series and location information.

Nashville’s Taylor Henry, a pop-rock craftsman pairing his pure tenor voice with rhythmic, soulful guitar, is slated for Sept. 8, and the music of Scotland, Ireland, and early America with Chambless & Muse on Sept. 13.

chambless & muse

Chambless & Muse

 

Allie Rose Parker, Student Government Association president, became the first student in Delta State's history to vote on the President's Cabinet on Aug. 22.

Parker casts historic first student vote on President’s Cabinet

By | Faculty/Staff, President, Students | No Comments

For the first time in Delta State University’s storied history, a student has earned an active voting role in the President’s Cabinet.

On Aug. 22, Allie Rose Parker, president of the Student Government Association, casted her first vote at President William N. LaForge’s weekly cabinet meeting.

“It’s a huge honor for me, and I’m very thankful to be part of a university that places so much responsibility with the student body. I know that’s not something you see every day,” said Parker. “It’s very humbling to have this opportunity, and I’m extremely thankful it’s happening during my years.”

LaForge, who has sworn to an all-inclusive approach during his presidency, said it was a no-brainer to include the SGA president as a voting member of his cabinet. During his inaugural State of the University address in 2013, LaForge announced the first addition of the SGA president on his cabinet as a non-voting member.

“We decided that the student voice should become a student vote as well,” said LaForge. “I think it’s the right thing to do to make sure our students are fully engaged to share in decision making on campus. It’s also the result of a great track record of the SGA presidents who have served during my time at Delta State.

“We are proud to have Allie Rose on board, and we are excited to have her as a voting member,” said LaForge. “I think this will be a more complete way to share the authentic shared governance on campus. I encourage full student participation, and I think we’ll be better off for it.”

Parker first started attending cabinet meetings in June after her election as SGA president.

“It’s really interesting to be part of the meetings and hear ideas bounce off all the important people on campus,” said Rose. “I’m the youngest in the room, so I was a little intimated when I first started attending — but they absolutely include me in everything. They really make sure the students are represented well on the cabinet.”

Parker said having the voting right is a big plus for the student population.

“The cabinet really does try and make the best decisions for the student body, but it’s also really helpful for them to be able to turn to an active student and ask if the student body will like a particular decision,” she said. “I think it’s really helpful for me to provide an opinion reflective of the student body.

“I’m very thankful to the SGA presidents before me who paved the way and gave me this opportunity to vote.”

Delta State now joins Mississippi Valley State University and the University of Southern Mississippi to include student body presidents as voting members of the president’s cabinet.

Follow all Delta State University news at www.deltastate.edu.

 

The inaugural fellows of the Teach for America Graduate Fellows Program at Delta State include: (front row, left to right) Javier Peraza, Sarah Hawley, Jena Howie, Kandace Lewis, MacKenzie Stroh Hines, (back, l to r) Matty Bengloff, James Forte, Jon Delperdang, Boyce Upholt and Jeremiah Smith.

TFA graduate fellows kick off program at Delta State

By | Community, Graduate and Continuing Studies, Students, Teach for America | No Comments

Delta State University’s Graduate and Continuing Studies department recently completed its inaugural week-long immersion experience for the new Teach for America Graduate Fellows Program.

Teach For America and Delta State University are piloting the new innovative two-year fellowship program to teach 10 Teach For America alumni how to launch and run a social venture in the communities they serve while also completing a graduate degree program of their interest.

During the immersion week, the cohort refined their leadership skills while also being introduced to entrepreneurial perspectives when tackling social problems.

“We offered the cohort tangible tools for them to use by providing a framework and space to plan out the implementation and design of their projects,” said program coordinator Harrison Wood. “During our week together, we weaved in aspects of school leadership, Mississippi Delta history and community engagement. Our week was met with unbelievable success. The fellows were able to foster a ‘think-tank’ like environment, which will enable them to use one another as a resource throughout the length of the fellowship, and hopefully longer, as they each continue to positively impact Mississippi.”

The week opened with Dr. Samuel Jones, a professional keynote speaker and author who specializes in the area of leadership development. Participants then had the opportunity to take part in a Delta tour with The Delta Center for Culture and Leaning to gain a greater understanding of the Mississippi Delta culture and history.

For the next two days, the schedule focused on the expansion participants’ proposed social entrepreneurship projects. The facilitators for these days included Spud Marshall and Alexis Taylor. Marshall is the chief catalyst for co.space, an international network of homes for change-makers that launched in State College, Pennsylvania. He is also the co-founder of New Leaf, a nonprofit social innovation incubator in State College. Taylor, of Austin, Texas, is the program manager and facilitator for 3 Day Startup, an international non-profit organization that builds entrepreneurial capabilities in students and employees at colleges, corporations, organizations and governments.

On the final day, the cohort visited KIPP-Delta and the Thrive Center, both operational social enterprises in Helena, Arkansas. This trip provided the fellows an opportunity to visualize and learn from fruitful social ventures positioned in a rural area. The week closed with an afternoon canoe trip on the Mississippi River with John Ruskey of Quapaw Canoe Company, fostering a team-building experience for the participants.

Fellow Boyce Upholt was thrilled to begin the program.

TFA graduate fellows spent the week introducing entrepreneurial perspectives and social issues.

TFA graduate fellows spent the week introducing entrepreneurial perspectives and social issues.

“Immersion week was a great chance to get to know the other fellows in the program, and to begin to thought partner about how to accomplish our goals,” said Upholt. “Our projects are in varying states of development, from kernels of ideas to already operational programs, but we all walked away with tangible next steps, as well as inspiring examples of what entrepreneurship can look like in this region.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to partner with the fellows, our support staff, and the faculty in my academic program. I’m aiming to use storytelling to better connect Deltans with one another, and with their local landscape, and I can’t think of a better program for doing so.”

To complete the fellowship, each participant will focus on social entrepreneurship, while simultaneously completing a graduate degree at Delta State. The cohort will regularly convene to share experiences in a collaborative environment, allowing participants to develop goals.

The project is funded through a grant from the Robert M. Hearin Foundation. The principal goal of the foundation is to contribute to the overall economic advancement of the state of Mississippi by making funds available to four-year colleges and universities and graduate professional schools located in the state.

Applications for the 2017 cohort will open Jan. 1, 2017. For more information on the program, visit http://www.deltastate.edu/graduate-and-continuing-studies/tfa-graduate-fellows-program or call 662-846-4700.

Campus and community will unite Sept. 15 at noon to celebrate the 91st anniversary of Delta State's founding.

Campus to celebrate 91st anniversary

By | Academics, Archives and Museum, Community, Faculty/Staff, President, Students | No Comments

All campus members, friends and supporters of Delta State University are invited to a birthday celebration Sept. 15, as the university marks the 91st anniversary of its opening.

The public is encouraged to join the university as it kicks off its celebration of 91 years of excellence.

Delta State University President William N. LaForge, joined by members of the Dedicated Statesmen Association, will start the ceremony at noon at the Alumni Brick Plaza in front of Ward Hall. The event will conclude with a luncheon of sandwiches and pizza.

The program will begin with words from President LaForge, and a few DSA members will reenact some of the old campus rules that were established in the university’s rulebooks known as the Green Books. Members of the Delta State Wind Ensemble will also perform musical numbers at the affair.

Dr. James Robinson, president of the DSA committee, is exited to once again celebrate the university’s founding.

“We should celebrate each year with growing excitement as the 100th birthday approaches,” said Robinson. “A yearly celebration allows more of our students to be on campus to learn about the school’s history and its exciting future. The Founders’ Day activities help our spirits and bring us closer as students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends.”

Emily Jones, university archivist, has been working closely with the DSA to bring the event together.

“We celebrate our anniversary not for our own benefit, but for those before us and those who will come after us,” said Jones. “I enjoy spotlighting our history, and I’m thankful that we have the platform of our anniversary to do that each year.”

Stay up to date on all university events and activities at http://www.deltastate.edu.