||Books | Periodicals | Videos | Recordings | Other Exhibits | Artists/Speakers | Web Sites
Abbott, Dorothy, ed. Mississippi Writers: An Anthology. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1991.
A collection of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and drama written by Mississippi authors, including Richard Wright, Ellen Douglas, William Faulkner, Margaret Walker Alexander, and Shelby Foote.
All Shook Up: Mississippi Roots of American Popular Music. Jackson: Mississippi Department of Archives and History, 1995.
The companion book to an exhibit mounted at the State Historical Museum in the early 1990s. It provides introductory information on notable Mississippi musicians in all of the popular genres (blues, country, rock, gospel, etc.) and includes an extensive listing of performers in that genre from the state at the end of each chapter.
Arnow, Jan. By Southern Hands: A Celebration of Craft Traditions in the South. Birmingham: Oxmoor House, 1987.
An introduction to the major forms of traditional art found in the south, including basketmaking, woodcarving, pottery, sewing traditions and others. Different examples of each major art form are given, such as the various types of basketmaking found in the region.
Carpenter, Barbara, editor. Ethnic Heritage in Mississippi. University Press of Mississippi, 1992.
While primarily offering historical information about groups that settled in Mississippi (The Choctaw, Europeans, and Africans), this book also features a section on the current ethnic communities found in Mississippi. Included in this section is a photo essay which in part documents arts traditions among the featured groups.
Cobb, Buell E. The Sacred Harp: A Tradition and Its Music. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1978.
A comprehensive study of this singing tradition, including a history of the book, an analysis of the music, and a look at the singers themselves. Also included are a list of the dates and locations of several hundred Sacred Harp singings held throughout the south and reprints of a selection of songs from the original songbook.
Ferris, William, ed. Afro-American Folk Arts and Crafts. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1983.
A collection of essays investigating several different African-American traditional art forms, including quilting, instrument making, and folk architecture. The book pairs in-depth essays on specific art forms with biographical sketches of artists from the tradition. Several of the featured artists are Mississippians, including Pecolia Warner, Othar Turner, and Louis Dotson.
Ferris, William. Blues from the Delta. New York: Da Capo Press, 1978.
An intimate look at the blues tradition in the Mississippi Delta including information on how musicians learn to play and sing, how they compose their lyrics, and the relationship between blues and gospel music. The material was culled from interviews conducted with master Delta musicians like James "Son" Thomas.
Ferris, William. Local Color: A Sense of Place in Folk Art. McGraw-Hill, 1982.
An examination of the work of nine Mississippi traditional artists, several of whom have reached national prominence, including blues musician and sculptor James "Son Ford" Thomas, quilter Pecolia Warner, and needleworker Ethel Wright Mohamed.
Ferris, William. "You Live and Learn. Then You Die and Forget It All": Ray Lum's Tales of Horses, Mules and Men. New York: Anchor Books, 1992.
A biography of famed Vicksburg mule trader and storyteller Ray Lum, told through Lum's own stories collected through interviews with the author. His narratives demonstrate the important role that storytelling has played in the rural south.
Freeman, Roland L. A Communion of Spirits: African-American Quilters, Preservers, and Their Stories. Nashville: Rutledge Hill Press, 1996.
A national survey of African-American quilters. Freeman provides photographs and the personal histories of quilters throughout the United States. Several Mississippi quilters are featured, including National Heritage Fellowship winner Hystercine Rankin of Claiborne County.
Made By Hand: Mississippi Folk Art. Jackson: Mississippi Department of Archives and History, 1980.
A catalog for an exhibition on traditional arts in the state shown at the State Historical Museum in 1980. In addition to photographs of items from the exhibit, the book features several essays on different Mississippian traditional art forms.
Malone, Bill C. Country Music USA. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1985.
A detailed look at the development of commercial country music, from its roots in traditional music through to the development of the "Nashville Sound." As part of his overview, Malone provides information and analysis of many individual performers who played important roles in the evolution of the music.
Mississippi Choctaw Crafts. Jackson: Craftsmen's Guild of Mississippi, 1983.
An overview of the traditional crafts created by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians accompanied by a section of black and white photographs of examples of swampcane and white oak baskets, beadwork, and stickball sticks.
Mississippi Writers Directory and Literary Guide. Oxford: Center for the Study of Southern Culture, 1995.
A resource for those interested in the contributions of Mississippi writers to literature. The guide lists writers living in the state, their major publications and whether they are available for workshops, residencies, or lectures. It also contains information on literary landmarks in the state, bookstores, libraries and organizations devoted to writing.
Palmer, Robert. Deep Blues. New York: Penguin Books, 1981.
A look at the development of blues from its beginnings in the Mississippi Delta to its migration to Chicago and other northern cities and finally to worldwide popularity. This history is traced through the careers of the music's greatest performers, including Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, and Sonny Boy Williamson.
Porterfield, Nolan. Jimmie Rodgers: The Life and Times of America's Blue Yodeler. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1979.
A detailed biography of the Mississippi musician who changed country music through his massive success in the late 1920s and early 30s. Included are appendixes listing Rodgers' recordings and his known personal appearances.
Rankin, Tom. Sacred Space: Photographs from the Mississippi Delta. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1993.
An exploration of the sacred landscapes of African-American life in the Delta, including churches, cemeteries, and lakes used for baptisms.
Titon, Jeff Todd. Early Downhome Blues: A Musical and Cultural Analysis. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1977.
A detailed examination of the music and lives of the early Delta blues performers. The author draws from interviews done with a number of Mississippi bluesman, including Son House.
Wilson, Charles Reagan and William Ferris, editors. The Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1989.
An expansive one volume encyclopedia that provides introductory information on many aspects of southern life, including music, folk arts, and ethnic groups in the south. An excellent starting point for research projects or for quick reference.
Young, Alan. Woke Me Up This Morning: Black Gospel Singers and the Gospel Life. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1997.
An examination of the black gospel tradition that focuses on the lives and work of seventeen different performers or ministers from Mississippi and western Tennessee. Mississippians that are featured in the book include Reverend Willie Morganfield, Boyd Rivers, Elder Roma Wilson, and Reverend Leon Pinson.
Young, Stephen Flinn and D.C. Young. Earl's Art Shop: Building Art with Earl Simmons. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1995.
A look at the work of the self-taught artist from Bovina, Mississippi. The book details the development of Simmons' unique artwork and the constant modifications he makes to his art shop. Also included is a large section of photographs of the artist's work and shop.
PERIODICALS Back to Top
Mississippi Folklife. Center for the Study of Southern Culture, University of Mississippi, University, MS 38677.
A semi-annual publication that offers articles, photo essays, and reviews about the diversity of folklife in Mississippi and the adjoining regions. Recent issues have investigated food traditions in Mississippi and the folk culture of the Piney Woods region.
Living Blues. Center for the Study of Southern Culture, University of Mississippi, University, MS 38677.
"The Magazine of the African-American Blues Tradition." It offers interviews with major blues performers as well as lesser-known traditional artists, current blues news, festival listings, and an extensive record review section. Published bi-monthly.
Oxford American. P.O. Box 1156, Oxford, MS 38655.
A bi-monthly magazine published by Mississippi writer John Grisham which features fiction by southern writers as well as articles and essays on different aspects of southern culture.
VIDEOS Back to Top
A 32-part series of short videos on different places and people in Mississippi, some of them looking at different aspects of the state's folk culture, including videos on B.B. King, The Choctaw Fair, and Delta bluesmen. Produced by Mississippi Educational Television.
Black Delta Religion
A presentation of the wide range of religious experiences found in the African-American churches in the Delta. The film moves from a service at a small rural church that features slow, moaning hymns to a church where guitars and tambourines accompany the sermon. Produced by Judy Peiser and Bill Ferris/Center for Southern Folklore, 1974.
Four Women Artists
A look at the work and lives of four Mississippi artists; writer Eudora Welty, quilter Pecolia Warner, embroiderer Ethel Wright Mohamed, and painter Theora Hamblett. Each of them discuss their creative process and personal motivations behind their work. Produced by Judy Peiser and Bill Ferris/Center for Southern Folklore, 1978.
Give My Poor Heart Ease
The blues experience related through interviews and performances by B.B. King, inmates from Parchman Prison, Delta juke joint performers, and others. The musicians describe the elements of the Delta blues tradition. Produced by Bill Ferris/Yale University Media Design Studio, 1975.
Gravel Springs Fife and Drum
National Heritage Fellowship recipient Othar Turner and his family keep alive the African-American fife and drum tradition of northern Mississippi. This film shows Turner demonstrating how to make a cane fife as well as performances by him and community members at an annual picnic. Produced by David Evans, Bill Ferris, and Judy Peiser, 1971.
I Ain't Lyin': Folktales from Mississippi
A look at the rich African-American narrative tradition. Several storytellers from Delta communities tell religious and protest tales that celebrate folk characters such as the preacher and John. Produced by William Ferris/Yale University Media Design Studio, 1975.
Juke Joint Saturday Night: Live from Margaret's Blue Diamond Lounge
This film demonstrates that the blues tradition is still alive in Delta clubs and juke joints. Features performances by some of the best current Delta bluesmen, including Big Jack Johnson, the Jelly Roll Kings, and the Stone Gas Band. Produced by Juke Joint Productions.
Made in Mississippi: Black Folk Arts and Crafts
Features artists from a number of different craft traditions discussing and demonstrating their work, including quilting, sculpting, house building, and basketmaking. Produced by Bill Ferris/Yale University Media Design Studio, 1975.
Ray Lum: Mule Trader
A portrait of the Vicksburg mule trader and master narrator. It features Lum's tales of cross-country trading and auction scenes where he demonstrates his oratory skills. Produced by Judy Peiser and Bill Ferris/Center for Southern Folklore, 1973.
These and other videos on Mississippi and southern culture are available through The Center for the Study of Southern Culture's Southern Culture Catalog. Call 1-800-390-3527 for a copy of the catalog or to order.
RECORDINGS Back to Top
Great Big Yam Potatoes: Anglo-American Fiddle Music from Mississippi. Southern Culture Records, 1985.
A collection of forty-two traditional fiddle tunes recorded by folklorist Herbert Halpert in 1939 as part of a WPA/Library of Congress project. Ten different fiddlers are featured from different areas of the state.
Mississippi Folk Voices. Southern Culture Records, 1983
A compilation of performances by traditional musicians from the state, recorded at a series of concerts at the State Historical Museum. Included are performances by blues legend Son Thomas, fiddler Bill Mitchell, and the Mississippi Sacred Harp Singers.
Mississippi String Bands, Volume 1. County Records, 1998.
A collection of commercial recordings made by string bands from the state during the late 1920s and early 1930s. This volume includes performances by the Leake County Revelers, Carter Brothers and Son, and Hoyt Ming's Pep Steppers.
Moving Through the Spirit: Worship Through Music. Southern Culture Records, 1988.
A recording of music and sermons from the services of Clear Creek Missionary Baptist Church, a small African-American church in northeastern Mississippi.
Negro Blues and Hollers. Rounder Records, 1996.
A reissue of this classic compilation of recordings made in 1941 in Mississippi. It features early recordings by blues masters Son House and David "Honeyboy" Edwards.
Southern Journey Volume 3: 61 Highway Mississippi - Delta Country Blues, Spirituals, Work Songs and Dance Music. Rounder Records, 1997.
A collection of recordings made by folklorist Alan Lomax in 1959 during a trip through the Delta and hill country. The album includes performances by bluesmen Mississippi Fred McDowell and Sid Hemphill.
Fat Possum Records releases recordings of many contemporary Mississippi blues musicians, including Junior Kimbrough, R.L. Burnside, and T-Model Ford. For a catalog, contact them at P.O. Box 1923, Oxford, MS 38655-1923. On the web at www.fatpossum.com.
Rooster Blues Records has released recordings of many contemporary Delta blues musicians, including James "Super Chikan" Johnson, Lonnie Pitchford, and "Philadelphia" Jerry Ricks. For more information contact them at 3516 Holmes St., Kansas City, MO 64109. On the web at www.roosterblues.com.
OTHER TRAVELING EXHIBITS Back to Top
The Mississippi Panel Exhibit
This exhibit highlights the quilting work of Mississippians that has been documented by photographer Roland Freeman through twenty years of research he has conducted in the state. It focuses on the several aspects of the quilter's work and lives, including their familys' histories, the evolution of their art, and connection of quiltmaking to African-American traditions. For booking information contact Patricia Crosby, Mississippi Cultural Crossroads, 507 Market Street, Port Gibson, MS 39150. (601) 437-8905.
Southern Arts Federation
Southern Visions - Folk Art and Southern Culture Traveling Exhibits Program
This program features a number of different exhibits highlighting traditional art forms found in the south. Three of their exhibits highlight Mississippian artists and/or Mississippi-based traditions:
Faulkner's World: The Photographs of Martin J. Dain
A collection of images made in the early 1960s showing both the author William Faulkner at his home and the people and cultural traditions of Oxford, Mississippi and the surrounding areas that influenced his work.
Mississippi Choctaws: Traditional Life in a Modern World
An investigation of the contemporary life of Mississippi Choctaws. Through photographs and interpretive text the exhibit shows how tribal members have blended their traditional festivals, dance, stickball games, and other elements of their traditional culture into everyday modern life on the reservation.
Sacred Space: Photographs from the Mississippi Delta
A look at the traditions of African-American sacred life in the small communities of the Delta. The exhibit presents the activities and sacred art traditions of these churches through a series of black and white images created by folklorist and photographer Tom Rankin.
For more information on these and other exhibits offered by the Southern Arts Federation, contact them at 1401 Peachtree St., Suite 460, Atlanta, GA 30309. (404) 874-7244.
Wade in the Water: African-American Sacred Music Traditions
An overview of the legacy of African-American sacred music which traces its origins in slavery, its development in the black church, and its influence on popular culture. The exhibit examines the variety of musical performance traditions that have merged to create this music and its powerful impact on popular culture. Available through the Smithsonian Institution's Traveling Exhibit Service, (202) 357-3168.
Bringin' It All Back Home
A celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Mississippi Delta Blues and Heritage Festival with photographs of the event taken by Roland Freeman and Robert T. Jones from throughout it's history. For booking information contact: The Group for Cultural Documentation, 117 Ingraham St., NW, Washington, D.C. 20011, (202) 882-7764.
ARTISTS/SPEAKERS Back to Top
The Mississippi Arts Commission has a roster of artists (including several traditional musicians) who are available for performances, workshops, and residencies throughout the state. Grant for organizations to help fund these performances are also available. Please contact the Commission at 601-359 6030 to request the current roster listing and grant information.
The Mississippi Humanities Council's Speakers Bureau program has several presentations which address arts and culture of the state, including traditional craftsmen, Mississippi authors, the Delta blues, and ethnic groups. Contact MHC at (601) 982-6752 to request a complete listing and application forms.
WEB SITES Back to Top
Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage at University of Southern Mississippi
An introduction to the collections of this program which includes a listing of the major projects found in the collection, excerpts from interviews, and an index of subject topics. Also included is introductory information on the Pine Hills Culture Program, a folklife-based research and programming office based at the Center.
Center for the Study of Southern Culture
An introduction to the Center and its programs, including information on the Southern Studies Program at the University of Mississippi, the Center's faculty, conferences and periodicals produced by the program, and the Southern Media Archive.
The Craftsmen's Guild of Mississippi
An introduction to the programs and services of the Guild. The site includes an overview of the organization, information on special events hosted by the Guild, the location of the shops, and an on-line gallery of photographs of Guild member's work which changes monthly.
Delta Blues Education Program
An introduction to this unique program based in Clarksdale in which local master blues musicians teach children from the area how to play the blues. The site provided biographical information on the master musicians and details on the format of the classes.
Delta Blues Museum
This site includes an introduction to Clarksdale's role in the development of the blues, a listing of the special features of the museum's exhibits, information on local clubs and festivals which feature Delta blues, and links to other blues related sites.
Mississippi Arts Commission
The Commission's page supplies an overview of the agency's programs, an introduction to the staff, a listing of artists available through the Artist Roster program, and links to other sites of use for grantees and those interested in utilizing the Commission's programs.
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
The tribe's official web page which features a summary of its history, information on their cultural expressions like basket making, music and dance, and information on the annual Choctaw Indian Fair.
Mississippi Writers Page
Produced by the Department of English at the University of Mississippi, this site provides biographical information on writers from Mississippi, a listing of literary landmarks that can be visited, contact information for publishers in the state, and much more.
Mississippi Writers and Musicians
A web site constructed by students at Starkville High School which provides biographical information on many Mississippi musicians and writers. This is an ongoing project.
Sacred Harp Singing
An introduction to this community-based singing tradition, presented by University of Mississippi music professor Warren Steel. The site provides many resources for singers and those interested in the tradition, including a listing of annual singings in the region, reviews of Sacred Harp recordings, and samples of the shape note notation.
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