Lens Collective students and faculty mentors at the Fannie Lou Hamer Memorial Garden in Ruleville with Delta Center staff members Dr. Rolando Herts and Lee Aylward.
The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State recently hosted student groups visiting the Mississippi Delta from various universities. Students traveled to the region to experience, and in some cases document, the nationally-significant history and culture of the Delta.
Groups included students from Yale University, Mississippi State University, and Harvard Law School.
For a second consecutive year, The Delta Center also partnered with the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media to host Lens Collective. This multimedia storytelling workshop engaged over 50 photojournalism students and award-winning faculty mentors in documenting Mississippi Delta civil rights heritage stories. Students traveled to the Delta from eight universities including Arkansas State, American University, Jackson State, Middle Tennessee State, Ohio University, Penn State, University of Mississippi and West Virginia University.
For all the student groups, The Delta Center provided an overview of its various educational and community engagement programs, as well as an introduction to the region’s history. The students visited significant cultural heritage landmarks including Dockery Farms in Sunflower County, the Fannie Lou Hamer Memorial Garden in Ruleville, and the historic black town of Mound Bayou.
The Lens Collective featured a Delta soul food experience at The Senator’s Place restaurant in Cleveland. Students, mentors, and Mississippi Delta-based storytellers broke bread and met restaurant owner Senator Willie Simmons, a supporter of cultural heritage tourism in the region. Indianola native Charles McLaurin, a foot-soldier of the Civil Rights Movement, shared stories about working alongside Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Martin Luther King, Jr. The event was supported by the Amzie Moore/Sam Block Fund established by Watt Bishop and administered by The Delta Center.
A selection of Lens Collective civil rights documentary shorts will be screened at Delta State on April 4 as part of Civil Rides, a rural poverty and racial justice awareness event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The event will take place at 6 p.m. in the Baioni Conference Center. For more information about Lens Collective, visit https://www.lenscollective.org.
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. For more information, visit http://deltacenterdsu.com/