Return to Headlines

LLC's Dan Holden Headed to the Deep South on a Fellowship

Dan Holden

Photo by Lucy Wurst


Kudos to Lieberman Learning Center communication arts teacher Dan Holden, who has been awarded a prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship to study "The Most Southern Place on Earth: Music, Culture and History in the Mississippi Delta."

This summer Holden will be based out of Delta State University, in Cleveland, Mississippi, where he will, to quote the program description, "learn the stories that have given this place such a unique flavor, a mystique unlike any other place in America."

"[The Delta] has given the world much in terms of music, literature, journalism, political action, foodways, and even sports heroes. It is the ancestral home of many Americans who today live in metropolitan areas like Detroit or Chicago or Oakland. It has played an important role in changing America’s attitude toward human and civil rights.  At the same time, many Americans do not really know where the Mississippi Delta is, and places far from the Delta now claim its rightful title to being the“birthplace of the Blues.”

Holden will be learning local history, as well as sampling native cuisine (think okra and Kool-Aid pickles) and studying legendary homegrown musicians, including the Blues of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Son House, Charley Patton, and Willie Brown, the people who wrote the music that was made even more famous by Ike Turner, Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, among others.

The fellowship is intended to teach educators how to look at a community or a place as a "text" that tells a major story. Participants can ultimately discover how other places, including their own communities, can be read as texts. Ultimately Holden hopes to use the experience to teach his own students how to read University City and Missouri as text.