Welcome to the Delta Center for Culture and Learning, the management entity of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area!
“Citizens kept ignorant of their history are robbed of the riches of their heritage.”
-Bruce Cole, Chairman, National Endowment for the Humanities
The Mississippi Delta has a mystique of mythological proportions. It was virgin wilderness and swamp at the turn of the twentieth century, cleared for cotton and plantation life by the 1930′s, dominated by politically powerful gentleman planters, peopled by Black sharecroppers, Italian immigrants, Chinese, Lebanese and Jewish merchants. It is the source of “The Great Migration” north, and thus the home of the African American populations of many Northern cities, like Chicago and Detroit. It is the home of the Blues, Gospel, soul food, the civil rights movement. It was home to Tennessee Williams, Eudora Welty, Richard Wright, Clifton Taulbert, Shelby Foote, and Hodding Carter. It is where Teddy Roosevelt saved the original “Teddy Bear,” and where Elvis Presley learned to dance and sing and drive a Cadillac. It is the land where Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson wrote the lyrics that eventually made the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton famous.
The Delta is the American story, shrunk in time and space. Faulkner said it was “deswamped and denuded and derivered in two generations.” Shelby Foote claimed that one could see “a hundred years of history in twenty years in the Delta,” and James Cobb wrote “When it comes to history, the Delta was clearly a region in a hurry.”
Analysts from Howard Zinn to James Cobb have claimed that the Delta is the South’s South, a place where American traits and experience are revealed with blinding clarity. Students of contemporary American culture will not find a better place to explore American history and culture in the field.
For a comprehensive listing of Blues activities and opportunities in the Delta, visit CatHead.biz and MississippiDeltaBluesInfo.com. For general information about the Delta, see visitthedelta.com.
Please visit the Mississippi Blues Commission for information on the developing Blues Heritage Trail.