University of Memphis Libraries Delta Symposium
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Location: Fogelman Executive Center
& Holiday Inn Ballroom
University of Memphis Campus
Memphis, TN 38152
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2012 Presenters

Morning Presenters:


Richard Leatherman, Conversation with a Cotton Man     Leatherman's family received one of the first land grants from the Chickasaw nation in the early 19th century. Since that time the Leatherman family has been a large and important presence in Tunica County and the Mississippi Delta. Through good times and bad, floods and droughts, from mules to machines, the family has persevered and set the standard for excellence in agriculture and citizenship. Leatherman will share his family's fascinating story at this year's conference in an in-depth interview with Willy Bearden.


Dr. Michael Trotter, Healthcare in Rural Mississippi                  Michael Trotter, FACS, FACC, FCCP of Greenville, Mississippi, is a member of Delta Regional Cardiovascular and Thoracic Specialists practicing at the Delta Regional Medical Center in Greenville, Mississippi.  The socioeconomic history of the Mississippi Delta not only influenced the cuisine and culture of the area, but also its healthcare.  The evolution of healthcare in the Delta is of historical significance and parallels the growth and development of this most interesting region.  He will present a historical look at the effects of the Delta on healthcare and healthcare on the Delta.  Dr. Trotter has published several articles on Civil War doctors and medicine.


Dolph Smith, Delta Drawn                                                          When examining the work and breadth of veteran artist Dolph Smith, you know he is certainly "drawn" to the Delta.  His drawings and paintings rightfully reflect the feel and spirit of the region. We are delighted he lends his "Ol' Gray Goose" to be featured in our 2012 poster. Dolph Smith serves as Professor Emeritus at Memphis College of Art and holds an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Memphis College of Art.  In 2011, he received the Tennessee Governor's Distinguished Artist Award for his decades of contributions to the arts in Tennessee. Smith will present his love for the region through a presentation of his well sought after and much beloved work.


Willy Bearden,The Friendship of Shelby Foote and Walker Percy        A native of Rolling Fork, Mississippi, Willy Bearden has expressed his love of the Mississippi Delta through his interest and talents in music, books, history, film-making and speaking.  He is best known for his popular Memphis Memoirs programs that air on the WKNO-TV (PBS).  He has directed and produced a full-length motion picture, One Came Home, situated in the Delta of the 1940s. Bearden is the 2011 recipient of the University of Memphis College of Communication and Fine Arts Distinguished Achievement Award in the Creative and Performing Arts.

Special Afternoon Guest Panelists:


Rudi Scheidt, Cotton is King (with Richard Leatherman)                Rudi Scheidt's name is not only synonymous with philanthropy in Memphis, but also with one of the historic cotton trading companies of the South that became a world leader in the industry. As former Chairman of the Hohenberg Bros. Company, which was founded in 1879 and sold to Cargill in 1976, Scheidt will share his considerable knowledge and stories on the influence and history of the Delta's most important crop. This retired cotton executive turned his attention to supporting the arts in Memphis. In June 2000, Rudi and Honey Scheidt gave the largest gift ever in the history of the University of Memphis College of Communication and Fine Arts. The school was re-named the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music. His support has allowed the school to revive the opera program and to recruit and retain top faculty for the 500 music students from all corners of the world.

dr. katrina_poe

Dr. Katrina Poe, Healthcare in Rural Mississippi (with Michael Trotter)                                                                                      Since 2001, Dr. Poe has practiced in her hometown of Kilmichael.   Her return to Kilmichael was critical to the community. The town was about to lose its only doctor, who had served in the area for 45 years. As the only full-time staff physician of the town's small community hospital, she serves as the Hospital's Chief of Staff.   Dr. Poe is also the Medical Director of the Hospital's Rural Health Clinic, Kilmichael Clinic, where she sees patients. In 2005, Dr. Poe was named the 2005 Country Doctor of the Year.   The Country Doctor of the Year is a national award created to recognize the spirit, skill and dedication of America's rural medical practitioners. Poe is Chief of Staff at the Kilmichael Hospital, Kilmichael, Mississippi.


Dr. Scott Morris, Healthcare in Rural Mississippi (with Michael Trotter)                                                                                         G. Scott Morris, M.D., M.Div. is founder and Executive Director of the Church Health Center, which has as its mission to seek to reclaim the Church's biblical commitment to care for our bodies and spirits. The Church Health Center opened in 1987 to provide primary health care to low-income, uninsured working people of Memphis. The Church Health Center, a health care ministry supported by a broad base of the faith and medical communities, has over 70,000 patients of record in its Clinic. The Church Health Center has also developed its Wellness ministry where the best disease prevention efforts of medicine are combined with the pastoral and spiritual care of the faith community.  Dr. Morris has an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia, a Master of Divinity degree from Yale University, and M.D. from Emory University. He is a board certified family practice physician and an ordained United Methodist minister.


Sam Brookes, Archaeological History of the Delta                       Brookes is the Forest Archaeologist for the National Forests in Mississippi. He has a B.A. and M.A. degree in anthropology from the University of Mississippi and has authored over 30 articles and several monographs on Mississippi archaeology.  A Delta Conference favorite, Sam will discuss prehistoric artisans who from 4500 B.C. were skilled ceramicists and stone cutters whose artisanship rivaled that of Egypt and whose fabulous pottery was produced long before the McCartys came to Merigold.


Roger Stolle, Music of the Delta (with Tom Graves and Preston Lauterbach)                                                                               Roger Stolle is the owner and founder of Cat Head Delta Blues and Folk Art stores in Clarksdale, Mississippi and the author of Hidden History of Mississippi Blues.  Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art has been called one of the 17 coolest record stores in America (Paste Magazine), one of the 1000 Places to See Before You Die(Workman Publishing) and received the Blues Foundation's coveted Keeping the Blues Alive Award. Established in 2002, Cat Head is a blues CD, DVD, book, magazine, T-shirt and art store located in the heart of the Mississippi Delta.


Tom Graves, Music of the Delta (with Roger Stolle and Preston Lauterbach)                                                                                 Tom Graves is the former editor of the critically-acclaimed publication Rock and Roll Disc and has written articles for publications ranging from The New York Times to Rolling Stone.  He has published the novel Pullers and won the Keeping the Blues Alive Award for Literature, 2010, for Crossroads: The Life and Afterlife of Blues Legend Robert Johnson.  In addition, he has authored six ebooks.  At present Graves is working with filmmaker and author Robert Gordon on the documentary film Vidal V. Buckley about the legendary 1968 debates between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley Jr.  He also teaches Literature and Humanities at LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis.


Preston Lauterbach, Music of the Delta (with Roger Stolle and Tom Graves)                                                                                    Preston Lauterbach is the author of The Chitlin Circuit and The Road to Rock'n'Roll. Preston was born in Richmond, Virginia and raised in San Diego, California. He graduated from Flagler College and the University of Mississippi.  He is currently writing The Hustlers' History of Beale Street, which W.W. Norton will publish in 2013.



Maude Schuyler Clay (with Dolph Smith) was born in Greenwood, Mississippi. After attending the University of Mississippi and the Memphis Academy of Arts, she assisted the photographer William Eggleston. She moved to New York City and worked at LIGHT Gallery and then as a photography editor and photographer for Esquire, Fortune, Vanity Fair, and other publications. When she returned to live in the Mississippi Delta in 1987, she continued her color portrait work, for which she received the Mississippi Arts and Letters award for photography in 1988, and in 1992. In 1993, she began a series of black and white photographs of the Delta landscape. She received the Mississippi Art Commission's Individual Artist Grant in 1998. The University Press of Mississippi published her monograph DELTA LAND in 1999, which received the Mississippi Arts and Letter Award in 2000. She was the Photography Editor of the literary magazine The Oxford American from 1998-2002. Her work is in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and The National Museum for Women in the Arts, among others.

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