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The autobiography of Medgar Evers : a hero's life and legacy revealed through his writings, letters, and speeches (Evers, Medgar Wiley)
Presents a collection of the papers, essays, and letters of Medgar Evers, a hero of the American civil rights movement who was murdered in 1963 by white supremacists. Includes photographs.
Black Boy (Wright, Richard)
Richard Wright's powerful and unforgettable memoir of being a young, black boy in the American South in the 1920s and 30s.
Challenging the Mississippi firebombers : memories of Mississippi 1964-65 (Dann, Jim)
In June 1964, courageous young civil rights workers risked their lives in the face of violence, intimidation, illegal arrests, and racism to register as many African American voters as possible in Mississippi. With a firsthand account of the details and thoughtful descriptions of key people on the front lines, author Jim Dann brings that historic period back to life.
Delta fragments : the recollections of a sharecropper's son (Hodges, John Oliver)
The son of black sharecroppers, John Oliver Hodges attended segregated schools in Greenwood, Mississippi, in the 1950s and ’60s, worked in plantation cotton fields, and eventually left the region to earn multiple degrees and become a tenured university professor. Both poignant and thought provoking.
Dispatches from Pluto : lost and found in the Mississippi Delta (Grant, Richard)
Richard Grant and his girlfriend were living in a shoebox apartment in New York City when they decided on a whim to buy an old plantation house in the Mississippi Delta. Dispatches from Pluto—winner of the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize—is their journey of discovery into this strange and wonderful American place.
During wind and rain the Jones family farm in the Arkansas Delta, 1848-2006 (Bolsterli, Margaret Jones)
Tells the story of five generations of the author's family and its farm in the Arkansas Delta. This book moves from the land's acquisition in 1848 through the Civil War and Reconstruction, the 1927 Flood, the Great Depression, and the drought of 1930 to the modern considerations of mechanization, fertilizer, pesticides, and irrigation.
Fields of white gold : remembering a forgotten time in the Arkansas Delta (Danehower, George Ann Byrd)
Once in a great while, a book captures the essence of a particular place and time. George Ann Byrd Danehower has done this with her first book of non-fiction short stories, set in the 1930s-1950s and centered in Mississippi County, Arkansas, at the northeastern corner of the state along the western bank of the Mississippi River.
From the Mississippi Delta: A Memoir (Holland, Endesha Ida Mae)
Recounts the author's childhood in the 1940s, her years as a prostitute and a thief, and how she became active in the civil rights movement, earned a doctorate, and started writing.
Hypogrif in Bubbaville : a memoir of race, class and ego (Stockley, Grif)
Stockley grew up the son of white landowners in post-WWII eastern Arkansas, "an agricultural paradise or hell, depending on your perspective." More than a memoir, for Stockley opens "a window on the dominant white culture" of the Jim Crow-era Mississippi River Delta, exposing his childhood home, his family, and especially himself, to unblinking scrutiny.
I survived : the tale of a Black girl's resilience (Tobar, Kee)
Kee Tobar's memoir, I Survived, offers the reader a rare glimpse of life in the Arkansas Delta as a poor, Black, queer girl. Navigating generational trauma, poverty, homophobia, and racism, Kee is determined to use her athletic and academic prowess to survive it all.
A life on the Black River in Arkansas : the memoir of a farmer, rural entrepreneur, and banker (Coleman, E.R.)
Presents the story of the author whose early years were shaped by the Great Depression, by a family ethic that dictated working as long as there was sunlight in the day, and by a region bordered on the west by Oklahoma's Dust Bowl and on the east by the mighty - sometimes vengeful - Mississippi River.
The Mississippi Delta and the world: the memoirs of David L. Cohn (Cohn, David L.)
No one knew the Mississippi Delta more intimately or told its story more eloquently than did David L. Cohn (1894-1960). Between 1935 and 1960 he produced ten books. This is his memoirs.
Outspoken : the Olly Neal story (Neal, Olly)
Olly Neal Jr. became the first black district prosecuting attorney in Arkansas, and then served as a circuit court judge and on the Arkansas Court of Appeals. Historian Grif Stockley has characterized Neal as a civil rights activist, political agitator, Arkansas Delta advocate, and "black devil incarnate" to many of Marianna's whites
Salty Old Editor : an Adventure In ink : A Memoir (Schexnayder, Charlotte Tillar)
Charlotte Tillar Schexnayder and her husband, Melvin, owned the Dumas Clarion newspaper, an influential voice in the life and politics of the Arkansas Delta, and Schexnayder later served for 14 years in the Arkansas House of Representatives. She was a pioneer in helping to open the professions of politics and journalism to women.
Teacher : two years in the Mississippi Delta (Copperman, Michael)
When Michael Copperman left Stanford University for the Mississippi Delta in 2002, he imagined he would lift underprivileged children from the narrow horizons of rural poverty. Well-meaning but naïve, the Asian American from the West Coast soon lost his bearings in a world divided between black and white.
Thirty Years a Slave: From Bondage to Freedom: The Institution of Slavery as Seen on the Plantation and in the Home of the Planter (Hughes, Louis)
The autobiography of Louis Hughes serves as a window on the daily lives of slaves before and during the Civil War. Born into slavery near Charlottesville, Virginia, the narrative charts his life through Pontotoc, Mississippi to Memphis where he met his wife Matilda Morgan, to Tombigbee, Alabama and escape from slavery in Mississippi in 1865.
Trials of the earth : the true story of a pioneer woman (Hamilton, Mary)
This is the only known firsthand account of a remarkable woman thrust into the center of taming the American South-surviving floods, tornadoes, and fires; facing bears, panthers, and snakes; managing a boardinghouse in Arkansas; and running a logging camp in Mississippi that blazed a trail for development in the Mississippi Delta.
Yazoo, or, On the picket line of freedom in the South : a personal narrative (Morgan, A.T.)
A firsthand account of Reconstruction told by an abolitionist who moved to Mississippi in pursuit of wealth and social reform. Seeking economic opportunity as well as a chance to bring about a new social order in the defeated South, Albert T. Morgan leased a cotton plantation in Yazoo County in 1865. His farming venture failed - as did his efforts
Out of the Delta (Taylor, Zeek)
Out of the Delta is a collection of true stories by Arkansas native Zeek Taylor. Prepare to laugh and to cry at Taylor’s biographical tales of southern living as he becomes the person he was meant to be and comes Out of the Delta.
Brother Robert: Growing Up with Robert Johnson (Anderson, Annye C.)
An intimate memoir by blues legend Robert Johnson's stepsister, including new details about his family, music, influences, tragic death, and musical afterlife. Annye Anderson sheds new light on a real-life figure largely obscured by his own legend: her kind and incredibly talented stepbrother, Robert Johnson.
Disagree with what we have included? Are we missing something?
It would impossible to include everything on the Arkansas and Mississippi Deltas and this guide is by no means a complete list. We wanted to create a guide to be used by everyone, not just scholars, and we wanted the information included to be as current as possible. For books, we have focused on publications from the last 20 or so years and that are readily available through libraries or stores. For our directories, we have focused on places and organizations that have an active online presence. If you'd like to make a suggestion, you can fill out our suggestion form.