(July 30, 2018) – The Fannie Lou Hamer’s America Curriculum Team was awarded a $22,680 grant from the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area (MDNHA) for their Find Your Voice educational programs. The MDNHA awarded over $200,000 in grants for 14 projects focused on cultural and heritage development in communities across the Mississippi Delta. The grants awarded support learning opportunities for students, museums, documentary films, and the historic preservation of Delta landmarks.
“With this year’s round of funding, MDNHA has now provided almost $550,000 for a wide range of community projects that promote and preserve the cultural heritage of the Mississippi Delta,” said Dr. Myrtis Tabb, Chair of the MDNHA Board of Directors. “We had a record number of applications this year from over 30 organizations, and the Board is grateful for their participation and commitment.”
The funded works focus on the MDNHA’s five themes: The River and the Land, Culture of the Delta Blues, Moving Toward Freedom, Wellspring of Creativity, and Diverse Communities. Fannie Lou Hamer’s America met all five requirements.
“We were fortunate this year in that the proposals addressed most components of MDNHA’s mission, goals and central themes, allowing us to fund a more diverse range of projects,” said Meg Cooper, Chair of the MDNHA Grants Committee. “We were able to make some grants in communities not previously served, and for some really unique projects.”
Dr. Maegan Parker Brooks, Willamette University Professor and developer of the Find Your Voice Curriculum, said: “The financial support this MDHNA grant provides for our Find Your Voice projects is incredibly invaluable. Equally as instrumental to our effort to enhance public knowledge about Fannie Lou Hamer is the MDHNA's endorsement of our multimedia projects. We are honored and humbled to be supported by an organization whose goals and values mirror our own mission so completely. Like the MDHNA, our project is motivated by a desire to celebrate and showcase the art, wisdom, and culture rooted in the Delta.”
“The MDNHA's generous grant enabled our team to pull together some very important resources as we seek to spread Mrs. Hamer's message throughout the Delta--and beyond. Getting her message out to local students and teachers is at the core of our projects, and so we are grateful for this major investment,” said Dr. Davis Houck, Fannie Lou Hamer Professor of Rhetorical Studies at Florida State University and developer of the Find Your Voice Curriculum.
Fannie Lou Hamer’s America is a multimodal project that includes an original documentary, an Educator’s Workshop, a Young Filmmakers’ Workshop, an interactive website and a virtual tour that will promote tourism within the state.
Currently in production, the documentary, Fannie Lou Hamer’s America, directed and edited by Joe Davenport, will allow Hamer to tell her own story using audio and video footage recorded throughout her political and activist career.
The film, slated for completion in the Spring of 2019 was also funded through grants from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Mississippi Humanities Council, The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi, veteran broadcast journalist Tavis Smiley and McDonald’s (Retzer Resources of Greenville).
The Educator’s Workshop, based on the documentary, allows teachers from the Mississippi Delta to tailor the curriculum and lesson plans for K-12 students in the Delta and globally. The Young Filmmakers’ Workshop worked with 16 Delta high school students teaching them the art of filmmaking using professional equipment, oral histories, primary source research and digital studies preparing them for college and careers in the digital media production fields.
“MDNHA is working to build and expand a network of community resources and organizations that work together to promote the cultural heritage of the Mississippi Delta,” said Dr. Rolando Herts, MDNHA executive director and director of The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University, which serves as the management entity for MDNHA. “With this third year of funding through our partnership between the people of the Mississippi Delta and the National Park Service, this network is a critical part of our mission of preserving, perpetuating and celebrating the heritage of the Mississippi Delta.”
About the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area:
The MDNHA includes 18 counties that contain land located in the alluvial floodplain of the Mississippi Delta: Bolivar, Carroll, Coahoma, DeSoto, Holmes, Humphreys, Issaquena, Leflore, Panola, Quitman, Sharkey, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, Tunica, Warren, Washington and Yazoo. The MDNHA was designated by U.S. Congress in 2009 and is governed by a board of directors representing agencies and organizations defined in the congressional legislation. More information about the MDNHA, including the complete approved management plan, is available at www.msdeltaheritage.com.
Facebook: Fannie Lou Hamer’s America and Twitter: @flhamerica.
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