Fireside Chat


Today and tomorrow, Delta State is hosting its second annual International Conference on the Blues, an innovative conference that promises to build on the university’s presence as the academic center of blues studies. The Delta State campus is located in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, a place known as the epicenter of blues music and history, and hosts a unique gathering of blues scholars, historians and fans from all over the United States and abroad.

The event brings legendary entertainment and academics to Delta State University. Some of the highlights of this year’s conference include:
• an opening session with updates on GRAMMY Museum Mississippi from Emily Havens, executive director of GRAMMY Museum Mississippi, and Rita George, deputy director of GRAMMY Museum at L.A. Live
* the bestowing of a statewide proclamation signed by all five living Mississippi governors designating B.B. King as the “Mississippi’s Secretary of State of the Blues”;
• a keynote address by Blues scholar and Southern culture historian Dr. William Ferris of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill;
• a master class and performance from GRAMMY winner Dom Flemons, known as the “American Songster”;
• events highlighting Blues music songwriters and performers including ‘Blues in the Round’ sponsored by Visit Mississippi;
• and “The Storytellers featuring Bobby Rush and Super Chikan: Up Close and Personal”, a free public concert sponsored by the International Delta Blues Project and the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

Joining President LaForge is Don Allan Mitchell, conference co-chair and interim chair of the Division of Languages & Literature.

A huge thank you to the Robert M. Hearin Foundation who has graciously funded the International Delta Blues Project and to the faculty and staff on the blues committee, as well as the folks at The Delta Center for Culture and Learning. Their hard work makes stellar programs like this a reality.

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