NEH Chairman visits The Delta Center to experience “The Most Southern Place on Earth”

By | Delta Center | No Comments

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.

National Endowment for the Humanities chairman Bro Adams views the blues marker at Dockery Farms during a recent visit to the Mississippi Delta.

National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman Bro Adams views the blues marker at Dockery Farms during a recent visit to the Mississippi Delta.

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/.

Delegation attends racial reconciliation conference

By | Faculty/Staff, Students, Winning the Race | No Comments

A Delta State University delegation recently took part in Mission Mississippi’s annual Racial Reconciliation Celebration at the Jackson Convention Complex.

The full day of events focused on racial reconciliation, education and methods for Mississippians, from all walks of life, to work together to create a more unified Mississippi.

Mission Mississippi has been leading the way in racial reconciliation in the state for the past 23 years. Its model is to bring people together to build relationships across racial lines so they can work together to better their communities.

Delta State University faculty, staff and students attended the reconciliation event and participated in a small group session, panel discussion and luncheon.

Student delegates included: Stedmond Ware (graduate student and Delta State staff member), Amber Jordan, Kiara Bryant, Jarrica Carey, Kaviar Lewis, Hampton Strickland and Felicity Strotter. Dr. Temika Simmons represented the university’s faculty.

“The conference raised participant awareness of the significant role that churches and religious organizations can take in bridging racial divides,” said Simmons. “Participants were encouraged to take Mission Mississippi’s 30-day challenge to spend time with a person of another race, sharing, praying and encouraging one another and to share that journey with others via photos on social media. Participants were also encouraged to think of themselves as leaders in the communities for bridging racial gaps.”

“The event is significant in that it raises community awareness of persistent and systemic issues rooted in racial tensions — and empowers participants with ways to get involved to help heal and reunite communities and people,” added Simmons.

Neddie Winters, president of Mission Mississippi, and First Lady of Mississippi, Deborah Bryant, were two featured speakers at the affair.

Delta State’s annual Winning the Race Conference on race relations works in partnership with Mission Mississippi in support of initiatives and efforts to unite and heal groups traditionally separated by race-related divides. Attendance at the reconciliation event is among many sustained campus and community activities supported through the university’s Winning the Race initiative.

The vision of Mission Mississippi is to engage, equip and empower the next generation to build relationships across racial lines, to work together with better understanding, to build greater respect for one another, and to trust each other while making a better Mississippi together.

Learn more at http://missionmississippi.org/about-us.

Fusion Gymnastics opens season with wins

By | Community, Continuing Education | No Comments

Fusion Gymnastics Competition Team, sponsored by Delta State Continuing Education, began the 2016-17 season at the Latin Fest Invitational in Flowood on Oct. 15. The 23 team members, coached by Amanda McCall and assistant Kylie Morton, competed against teams from Ocean Springs, Starkville, Greenwood, Brookhaven and Flowood.

The first-year Xcel Gold squad returned to Cleveland with a first place team finish. The Level 2 squad received second place, and the Level 3 squad received third place.

First place in events went to Addie Jane Reed (Level 2) in beam and floor; Libba Lott (Level 2) in vault with a score of 9.7; Sara Beth Mullins (Level 3) in vault with a score of 9.5, uneven bars and beam; Taylor Hayes (Xcel Gold) in uneven bars, beam and floor with a score of 9.6; Destiny White (Xcel Gold) in vault; and Anna Graden Jones (Xcel Gold) in vault and uneven bars with a score of 9.65.

Taking second, third and fourth place in the events were Emma Grace Mullins (Level 2) second in vault, third in uneven bars, beam and floor; Addie Jane Reed (Level 2) fourth in vault; Morgan Catt (Level 2) fourth in beam; Catherine Sanders (Level 2) second in floor and third in beam; Sarah Grace Beck (Level 3) second place in beam; Ava Cosue (Level 3) second place in uneven bars; Avery Carter Howarth (Level 3) fourth in uneven bars, beam and floor; Macie Young (Level 3) fourth in vault; Taylor Hayes (Xcel Gold) third in vault; Destiny White (Xcel Gold) third in floor and fourth in beam; Yazmin Jackson (Xcel Gold) third in floor; Anna Scott Gant (Xcel Gold) second in floor and fourth in uneven bars; Ladye Scurlark (Xcel Gold) third in uneven bars; Kailyn Byas (Xcel Gold) fourth in vault; Anna Graden Jones (Xcel Gold) fourth in floor.

In the All-Around Champion category, Taylor Hayes was awarded first place all-around in Xcel Gold. Destiny White, Anna Graden Jones and Emma Grace Mullins earned second place all-around in their levels. Yazmin Jackson and Sara Beth Mullins earned third place all-around in their levels. Addie Jane Reed and Catherine Sanders both earned fourth place all-around in their levels.

“We started the season strong and will continue to improve our weak areas,” said McCall. “Focus and hard work are the keys to a successful season. Winning is measured by personal effort and improvement, not by your position on the podium.”

Fusion Gymnastics team members invlude: Level 2 – Hailey Wilburn, Catherine Sanders, Emma Grace Mullins, Libba Lott, Jaide Lillian Brown, Ashlin Hill, Morgan Catt and Addie Jane Reed. Level 3 – Maggie Marble Barrett, Macie Young, Sara Beth Mullins, Ava Cosue, Avery Carter Howarth, Merry Elizabeth Williamson, Emma Grace Putnam and Sara Grace Beck. Excel Gold – Yazmin Jackson, Destiny White, Ladye Scurlark, Anna Scott Gant, Anna Graden Jones, Kailyn Byas and Taylor Hayes.

The competition team will head to Starkville this weekend, Oct. 21-23, for their second meet of the season.

Fusion Gymnastics is organized through Delta State Continuing Education. Multiple level classes are offered for ages three and up. If you are interested in your child taking gymnastics classes, contact coordinator Elizabeth Joel at 662-846-4700.

Becker honored with Humanities Teacher Award

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Faculty/Staff | No Comments

The time has come again to recognize arts and humanities across Mississippi colleges and universities.

The Mississippi Humanities Council celebrates each October by awarding one humanities faculty member at each state institution with the Humanities Teacher Award.

Dr. Brian Becker, assistant professor of history, is the 2016 award recipient for Delta State.

“It is indeed a true honor to be this year’s recipient of the Mississippi Humanities Council Humanities Teacher Award for Delta State,” said Becker. “It is humbling, yet also gratifying, to receive an award from an organization such as the MHC, with which I share the goals of promoting humanities programs and also an understanding of cultural heritage through public discourse in particular, as well as working to improve said programs however I am able. The MHC provides a wonderful service to the state of Mississippi, and I could not be prouder to be associated with it.”

Becker will be officially recognized Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. in the Howorth Room of the Capps Archives and Museum. That night, he will also give a presentation entitled, “Going ‘Viral’ is Nothing New: Martin Luther and the Use of Propaganda during the Reformations.”

Becker’s presentation will examine how Protestant reformers and Catholic counter-reformers in the 16th century used the “social media” of their day to communicate powerful ideas that still resonate with us.

A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Becker earned his masters and doctorate in medieval history from Western Michigan University. He graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelors in history.

Becker has been a member of the Delta State faculty since 2011. He specializes in the study of medieval Mediterranean history, Byzantium, the Latin language and paleography.

Becker’s Nov. 7 presentation is free and open to the public. The event is made possible through a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to the Mississippi Humanities Council. Learn more about council at www.mshumanities.org.

Eric Carle’s stories come to life at BPAC

By | Bologna Performing Arts Center | No Comments

Storybook favorites will come to life when “Brown Bear, Brown Bear and Other Treasured Stories by Eric Carle” takes the Bologna Performing Arts stage Nov. 6 at 3 p.m.

The show is locally sponsored by Heidi’s, and is part of the BPAC’s new Family Series, featuring performances appropriate for all ages.

This production will bring together old favorites and new friends. “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” is joined by a whimsical cast of adventurous animals drawn from the pages of “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” and the poignant story of a young girl’s unusual quest, “Papa Please Get the Moon for Me.”

First published in 1967, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You see?” was written by Bill Martin Jr. and illustrated by Carle. The book has served to help hundreds of thousands of toddlers to associate colors and meanings to objects. Capturing the rhythmic text and beautiful tissue paper collage illustrations of the classic picture book, Mermaid Theatre’s adaptation generates fresh appreciation of the endearing cast of characters.

Another favorite, “Pappa, Please Get the Moon For Me,” has been delighting young audiences since its publication in 1986. Rounding out the three-story performance, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” eats his way through the week on his path to becoming a beautiful butterfly.

The Mermaid Theatre of Novia Scotia creates an experience like no other as they introduce youngsters to the magic of live theatre. Featuring evocative music, stunning visual effects and innovative puppetry, the triple-bill highlights three of Carle’s most beloved tales. The use of black light for some aspects of the show will enable puppets and props to make their appearances as if they are animated on their own. Children and adults alike will giggle with delight at this spectacular visual production.

The performance lasts approximately 60 minutes. Immediately following, in partnership with the Delta Arts Alliance, children will be able to participate in free, hands-on arts activities related to the performance.

Tickets are $15-$20 and are available at the BPAC Ticket Office, open Monday-Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., by phone at 662-846-4626, or online www.bolognapac.com. Children must be at least one to attend the performance, and every person must have their own ticket.