Celebration! the Delta: Everything Southern!
If the Delta really begins in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, then the University of Memphis is the perfect entity to host a truly Delta experience. Hence, the University plays host to the Delta: Everything Southern! symposium. "The University of Memphis is in the vanguard of promoting the Delta through the Friends of the Library," says Dr. Nicholas Gotten, the Delta: Everything Southern! Chairman. Started on June 26, 2006, this symposium of all that is Southern has quickly become an annual summer favorite held at the Fogelman Executive Center and has experienced an increase in attendance each year.
In fact, this Southern conference is promoted as a "day of distinguished speakers, images, and music." However, Tom Mendina, Assistant to the Dean of University of Memphis Libraries, is quick to point out, "This is not a lecture series." Rather, the Delta: Everything Southern! is a gathering of people who come to celebrate the history, culture, and life of the Mississippi Delta and features scholarly presentations as well as visual and aural delights.
The acclaimed speakers include guests such as Memphis author and filmmaker Willy Bearden, the University of Memphis' own professor of History Dr. Charles Crawford, and Blues diva Eden Brent. The diversity among the presenters and audience is part of the backbone that unites this gathering of people. "I would say that most of them have very close experience in the Delta. They are intellectuals. They are articulate. They have very keen interests in a variety of areas"
Dr. Gotten credits Tom Mendina with the original idea to have an all-day seminar focusing on the Mississippi Delta. When the topic of exploring the Delta came up, Dr. Gotten recalls Mendina stating, "We really need to have an all day program; that's such a big topic."
"And that's how it all began," states Dr. Gotten.
Of course, such an occurrence comes at a cost, but the organizers have strived to keep the price affordable for all. …