Wade in the Water: A Mississippi Delta Oral History Project


The site reflects research undertaken in February 2006 by students in the Spring 2006 course "Social Change in American Communities: Memory and Cultural Production in the Mississippi Delta" (Soc 156a), taught by Professors Mark Auslander (Anthropology) and David Cunningham (Sociology) at Brandeis University. Students edited audio segments from interviews conducted in these communities. Margaret Moinster '09 and graduate Sociology student Rachel Kulick worked tirelessly during 2006-07 to develop the website, incorporating a graphic design by class member Hannah Chalew '09. Other students in the class were: Dan Koosed '08, Vanessa Leon '08, Claudia Martinez '07, Katie Kelly-Hankin '07, Sam Petsonk '06 and Maria Pinto '08. Professor Ellen Schattschneider (Anthropology) was an active member of our research team in the Delta.

We are deeply grateful for the support, guidance and patience of our friends and partners in the Delta, including:

  • Dr. Luther Brown, Director, Delta Center for Culture and Learning (Delta State University)
  • Dr. Henry Outlaw, Delta Center for Culture and Learning (Delta State University)
  • Dr. Susan Glisson (University of Mississippi)
  • Ms. Bonnie Brown (Cleveland)
  • Ms. Shelly Ritter. Director of the Delta Blues Museum (Clarksdale)
  • Dr. Wilma Wade, supervisor of Clarksdale Public Schools (Clarksdale)
  • Mr. George Messenger (Clarksdale)
  • Mr. Bubba O’Keefe (Clarksdale, WROX museum)
  • Mr. Johnny Lewis (Clarksdale)
  • The students and faculty of W.A. Higgins Middle School (Clarksdale)
  • Mr. George Ellis (Clarksdale)
  • Ms. Shirley Fair (Clarksdale)
  • Ms. Brenda Outlaw (Clarksdale)
  • Deacon Jim Collins (Shaw) and Stranger’s Home Baptist Church (Shaw)
  • Ms. Cora Horn (Merigold)
  • Dr. Eulah Peterson (Mound Bayou) and other members of the Mound Bayou Historical Foundation (Mound Bayou)
  • Mr. Richard Crow (Mound Bayou)
  • Ms. Eunice Sanders (Shelby)
  • St Gabriell’s (Mound Bayou)
  • Mr. Ed Kossman (Cleveland) and the Adath Israel congregation (Cleveland)
  • Mr. and Mrs. Sylvester and Mary Hoover (Greenwood)
  • The Baptist Town Community Development Association (Greenwood)
  • The Back in the Day Museum (Greenwood)
  • Dr. Pauline Stamp (Greenwood)
  • Senator David Jordan (Greenwood)
  • Norman and his Blues Band (Greenwood)
  • Ms. Kathleen Cromwell (Itta Bena)
  • Dr. Pamela Moore
  • Ms. Lynn Marshall-Linnemeir
  • and many other thoughtful and hospitable people in the Delta!

We are grateful to the Library and Technology Services staff at Brandeis, especially the late Todd Hartigan, for all their help in this project, including equipping us with ipods for the trip.

Special thanks to all those who have consented to have their voices and reflections made available on this website.

This project has been made possible through the generous support of the Theodore and Jane Norman Fund at Brandeis University.