1pm, Thursday, October 1, 2020
Clarksdale, Rosedale, Scott, Greenville, Eudora, Lake Providence
LANDSCAPE | Delta
It begins in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel and ends on Catfish Row in Vicksburg. The Delta region’s rich cultural heritage parallels a dark history that continues to shape the landscape today.
COMMUNITY | Education
Education in the Mississippi Delta ranks near the bottom of our country, but smart, unique, and ambitious young leaders are taking it one child at a time. There’s a movement afoot.
VOICE | Kinchen “Bubba” O’Keefe
Clarksdale-Coahoma County Tourism Director and native son. Voice gathered on the morning of September 30, 2019 on a tour of the City of Clarksdale.
VOICE | Anne Hammett
River-obsessed photographer and adventurer with an affinity for the sandy loam and the smell of defoliant. Voice gathered on the afternoon of October 3, 2019 in a very cold library anteroom in Greenville, MS.
Crossing into the South was one thing, but this week we crossed the river from East to West into what is considered the “Mississippi Delta.” Stretching throughout the states of Arkansas and Mississippi and enveloping communities couched by the Mississippi and Yazoo Rivers, we spent a week of last year’s journey absorbing a string of this landscape and its communities and voices—what an experience!
The Delta is truly an all-encompassing presence, from the heat in the air, the flattening of the land, the cotton overflowing, the Blues marking the highway, the food deepening in flavor, and the personalities, well, as one person said it—”we have more characters than Sesame Street!” This was definitely the Delta we experienced and much of it was a delight. However, much of it left a more sobering mark on us with images of blight, crumbling homes and buildings, poverty and inequality, persistent racism, and a dysfunctional education system. We did see hope too, though, in strong leadership, especially in a Black American revival in church and civic life. We left with a sense of connection to this place, forever changed, and continuing to listen deeply.
We so appreciate those that joined us this week to revisit these memories and recollections. Terri McCullough, former pilot of the Mississippi River Parkway Commission and our host in Eudora, Arkansas, was with us, as was Hank Danos, a generous sponsor, zooming in from Southern Louisiana. Kyla Washington also listened in from the Mayor’s office in Greenville, Mississippi and is sending the word citywide, she says—we are so grateful and look forward to hearing from others who might view this later. The videos are below!