Alysia Steele, Journalism Professional in Residence at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, will present her latest project, Jewels of the Delta, as part of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture’s Brown Bag Lecture series on Wednesday November 13.
Steele has completed interviews with dozens of Mississippi Delta church mothers, and plans to interview many more for her Jewels of the Delta book project.
“Oh my, they have such rich stories – sad, hilarious, deep and profound,” Steele said. “A wealth of history we that should listen to. Women who grew up as sharecroppers’ daughters, who wanted to leave the cotton fields and show their children a different way of life. Education was everything to them and they made sure their children received the best education they could provide. We should honor these women.”
Steele has spent every minute of her spare time making trips to the Delta in order to record interviews with the women.
“It’s so important to capture oral histories from our elders while they’re still alive. We can learn from them and it’s time to put these words to print. My grandmother passed away before I had the skills to document her, so I decided to honor her by featuring 50 Mississippi Delta church mothers from various towns and tell their stories. What I’m finding out is that these beautiful women are surprised someone wants to listen to their stories, as they’re sharing history that even their children and grandchildren didn’t know.”
Steele will present photographs, samples of oral histories and a short video during her presentation. The Brown Bag Luncheon series takes place each Wednesday at noon in the Barnard Observatory Lecture Hall during the regular academic year. She is also raising money to help continue her project with a Kickstarter campaign, and you can read more by visiting this link: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1438260393/jewels-of-the-delta