Chapter 1 takes place between February and September 1933, and introduces young Woody Hazelbaker as a junior member of a Wall Street law firm in trouble thanks to the Depression.
When Woody Hazelbaker got there at the end of the 1920s, he thought it grand, even after the breadlines that followed the Stock Market Crash in October a€?29: New York was Americaa€™s greatest and most bustling city, its port the gateway to the world.
Owney Madden was no scientific genius like Professor Moriarty, but he handled things the same way.
In Chapter 2, during the autumn of 1933, Woodya€™s deepening involvement with Owney Madden jars his cultural preconceptions loose when he visits the flagship of Maddena€™s nightclubs, the Cotton Club in Harlem. Club DeLuxe opened in 1920 at 142nd and Lenox Avenue, but Owney Madden bought it three years later and turned it into the Cotton Club, offering not only booze but the best jazz to be had, launching meteoric careers for Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, and others. Bleecka€™s had opened as a speakeasy in the mid a€™20s, and though ruled with an iron hand by its irascible owner Jack Bleeck, it was instantly and permanently adopted by the newspapera€™s editors and reporters. Bleecka€™s saloon was a few paces from the Herald Tribunea€™s back door, a stonea€™s throw from Seventh Avenue. Nevertheless Walker and Beebe become important resources about New York social life for Woody, their perspectives stretching from the 1920s into the a€™40s. Prohibition ends December 5th, 1933, just about when Harvard Club librarian Earle Walbridge a€” later a€?The Sussex Vampire,a€? BSI, and at his death in 1962 the only man whoa€™d attended every BSI dinner back to its a€?first formal meetinga€? in June a€™34 a€” takes Woody to Christ Cellaa€™s speakeasy on East 45th Street, where he meets Christopher Morley and some of his friends just as the nascent Baker Street Irregulars are about to burst out into the open. In Chapter 3, over the winter, Woody is incurably bitten by the Sherlock Holmes bug, but his work for Owney Madden is not done.
New York Police Commissioner Grover Whalen estimated in 1929 that there were 32,000 illegal speakeasies in the city. It will take all of $5.00 to pay for a dinner for two at Christ Cellaa€™s little hideaway restaurant in the basement of a brownstone front at 144 East Forty-fifth Street, just a block from Grand Central Palace. Cella, sleek, brown-eyed and chunky, is a born innkeeper, though he gives mural painting as his profession. But in the early 1930s it was a speakeasy, where around a table in the kitchen Chris Morley and his Three-Hour Lunch Club friends met to drink, laugh and talk, gestating The Baker Street Irregulars. He sat back and sipped the drink that Chris brought him, watching the room through half-closed eyes. The crew Woody met that day were about to bring the BSI out into the open, once Repeal took effect. In Chapter 4, stretching from spring to autumn, 1934, a chance meeting with Lucius Beebe at Bleecka€™s propels Woody into a more cosmopolitan circle at the Plaza Hotela€™s Mena€™s Bar.
It still exists a€” known now as the Oak Room: a€?by far the hotela€™s most significantly historic space, virtually unchanged since the day the Plaza opened for business, Oct.
It was then known as the Mena€™s Bar, an all-male enclave said to be the favorite room of the hotela€™s architect, Henry J.
For the next 70 years, it was patronized by some of the most celebrated folk of the 20th century.
Alsop was younger than me, short and pudgy with a pale face and dark-rimmed glasses beneath thin brown hair. When the National Organization for Women decided to challenge the men-only policies at restaurants and clubs, it chose the Oak Room, which refused to serve women at lunch on weekdays, as a test case, knowing the kind of upscale publicity it would lend to the cause. The Mena€™s Bar Oak Room is sadly the only venue this chapter that still exists (with a close escape a few years ago when the Plazaa€™s barbarian redeveloper intended to gut it). If Ia€™d seen the place empty I might have wondered what the fuss was about, but it was busy when we arrived. Shake well with ice cubes and dash of orange bitters, twist of lemon peel and just a touch of sugar. Owner John Perona and maA®tre da€™ Frank Carino made El Morocco, once a speakeasy, the place to go and be seen for all manner of celebrities, including Broadway and Hollywood stars. People kept stopping by to speak to Beebe, hoping to find themselves in his column the next day. I must have snickered, because he went on reprovingly: a€?Believe it or not, fortunes and careers are made by sitting at the right table. Beebe basked, and started to reply, when suddenly behind me a silvery voice spoke out of the blue.
In Chapter 5, December 1934 through the next several months, Woody attends the first Baker Street Irregulars dinner at Christ Cellaa€™s and solidifies his position in Chris Morleya€™s BSI. Suddenly, with an explosive burst so nobody would miss his entrance, Alexander Woollcott arrived. Chapter 6 stretches from the spring of 1935 to New Yeara€™s Eve in 1936, more than a year and a half of political turbulence in America, and in Woodya€™s life as well. Woody attends the a€™36 annual dinner at Christ Cellaa€™s a€” neither he nor anyone else there realizing that it will be the last for four years. In the early 1930s the New Schoola€™s snazzy new Greenwich Village building, with an informal left-wing faculty and ties to outfits like the John Reed Clubs, was just the place for a Wall Street lawyer to validate his anti-Wall Street feelings, as long as he could duck. Chris Morley looked down the table at me, elbows propped up on it and chin resting on tented hands. After taking Diana to see After the Thin Man on New Yeara€™s Eve, he finds himself finally, truly, completely alone with Diana a€” and this time all escape cut off. And Diana snatched the paper from me, dropped it on top of the others, and pushed the entire stack off onto the floor. The consolation of BSI seems to be denied: there is no Annual Dinner in 1937 (nor will be in 1938 either).
Pratt stood only 5'3", had thin receding red hair, and wore round-rimmed eyeglasses with tinted lenses. In 1937 even Irregulars have foreign dangers on their minds, and not just those convening at the Mena€™s Bar Sundays for martinis and chicken soup.
The British Empire may no longer be able to regard itself, as it reasonably could until 1914, as the leading power of the world; since we let opportunity slip through our fingers in the early twenties, it may be doubted if the world has had any leading power, which may be one of the things that is the matter with it. When the crisis that ended with the abdication of Edward VIII had been quickly and smoothly settled the English indulged in a good deal of excusable self-congratulation.
Americans are not particularly proud of their countrya€™s isolation from world politics, but do not see what else can be done about it at the moment. People who try to describe the Czechoslovak Republic in its nineteenth year seem driven to metaphor.
Diana has her own response: use her family money to fund groups opposed to Nazi aggression. Everyone did after Benny Goodman took the Paramount Theater by storm, people clamoring for tickets nearly rioting in Sixth Avenue.
The first time I heard them do a€?Moonglowa€? it was three in the morning, Diana and me listening to the sweet haunting music through a dreamlike haze of smoke and alcohol.
Bleecka€™s had opened as a speakeasy in the mid a€™20s, and thoughA  ruled with an iron hand by its irascible owner Jack Bleeck, it was instantly and permanently adopted by the newspapera€™s editors and reporters. A A A  Cella, sleek, brown-eyed and chunky, is a born innkeeper, though he gives mural painting as his profession. A A A  He sat back and sipped the drink that Chris brought him, watching the room through half-closed eyes. He gets a chance (and despite trepidations, takes it) to hang on by undertaking work for a clandestine client, the kind his firm would never accept in good times: bootlegger Owney Madden, and his No.
What I knew about them came from Walter Winchell in the Mirror and movies like Little Caesar. Owney Madden was in the bootlegging business and everything else that went with it, including his chief aide and enforcer Big Frenchy DeMange. Black entertainers performing for strictly white audiences reflects the eraa€™s racial segregation, but the Cluba€™s showcasing of brilliant talent helps make jazz a national treasure.
Beside the entrance was a tarnished brass plaque saying a€?Artists and Writersa€? a€” the admission policy? It finally comes to an end a year after it started, with Madden retiring from the rackets in New York and departing for a new life elsewhere. Lexington Avenue could still be followed south to 45th Street; and on 45th Street Chris Cellini should still be entertaining his friends unless a tidal wave had removed him catastrophically from the trade he loved . The kitchen was the supplement to the one small dining room that the place boasteda€”it was the sanctum sanctorum, a rendezvous that was more like a club than anything else, where those who were privileged to enter found a boisterous hospitality undreamed of in the starched expensive restaurants, where the diners are merely so many intruders, to be fed at a price and bowed stiffly out again.
The flash of jest and repartee, the crescendo of discussion and the ring of laughter, came to his ears like the echo of an unforgettable song. On the far side, back to the wall, was a burly man with a broad hearty face, thick brown hair, and lively eyes full of mischief. 1, 1907,a€? wrote the Times five years ago (a€?What Would Eloise Say?a€? by Curtis Gathje, Jan.
One day in February 1969, Betty Friedan and several other women swept past the Oak Rooma€™s maA®tre da€™ and sat down at a table. The Biltmore Hotel is gone, turned into office space despite protected-landmark status at the time. I froze, then scuttled out sideways like a crab, and turned to face the most stunning girl Ia€™d ever seen. At Decembera€™s BSI dinner, he observes a Worlda€™s Champ and a Fabulous Monster, both of whom he will meet again, but more importantly he makes a new friend for life in Basil Davenport. Everybody knew his face from magazines and high piping voice from the radio a€” and some people hated both. Woollcott and Morley might be rival bookmen, but Chris didna€™t look half as annoyed as Bob. One of his dislikes was Alexander Woollcott, whose presence at the December 7, 1934, annual dinner Leavitt always insisted was uninvited, unwanted, and obnoxious.
Woody can use one: his regained professional calm is jolted the self-possessed young heiress he met at El Morocco has daddy switch his legal work to Woody. The still young phenomenon of radio carries not only FDRa€™s reassuring Fireside Chats into American homes, but also the demagoguery of former Louisiana Governor, now Senator, Huey a€?Kingfisha€? Long, and the maverick priest Father Charles Coughlin. Not only cana€™t he get started with Diana, he doesna€™t even seem to have her attention when theya€™re together a€” and is silly enough to look for answers in the movies, as if life were one big screwball comedy.
For some it was Shirley Temple, for others Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald, for more than you could count Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
Diana is beautiful and wealthy, but comes with a father-in-law whose politics Woody can barely abide.
But Woody and some others, instead of shrugging, organize occasional Irregular three-hour lunches of their own. But into those sessions now is injected an isolationist note even Anglophiles like Elmer and Woody cana€™t ignore, from Chris Morleya€™s brother Felix, a€?the Second Garrideb,a€? editor of the Washington Post sharply critical of FDR and his policies.
Elmer Davis gives up fiction to write serious foreign policy articles for Harpera€™s Magazine, about the dangers in store for an indifferent and unprepared America. Not only had they disposed of a troublesome situation with less fuss than almost any other nation would have made over ita€”the reaction abroad, they told one another, had demonstrated that all men of good will realized that the stability of England was vitally essential to the stability of a somewhat unsteady world. You still meet Europeans who ask you why America does not come into the League and help to do something about world peace; but most of them, after recent collapses of the system of collective security, know why, and only wish that they could do as we do.
President BenA?s, in his radio broadcast last Christmas Eve, said that a€?Czechoslovakia stands like a lighthouse high on a cliff with the waves crashing around ita€”a democracy that has the mission to keep the flag of peace, freedom, and toleration flying in Central Europe.a€? The propaganda German radio stations and newspapers have been pouring out for months sees the country as a a€?sally port of Bolshevism,a€? And K. This year’s theme: “Cotton Sacks and Freedom Quilt Narratives” substantiates the viability of the sweat equity investment made through labor and cultural contributions by Cotton Pickers and other Plantation Workers. Member of Hudson Dusters gang, convicted twice of safecracking with 13 arrests total, including one for murder. And as winter approaches Woody makes a third discovery that will change his life for good, this time at the Harvard Club library: Vincent Starretta€™s brand-new and magically evocative book, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. Ellingtona€™s a€?Cotton Club Stompa€? captured the beat and drive as well as the venue and era. Astora€™s Horse (1935) are available today; The Night Club Era especially evokes the New York popular culture in which the BSI gestated and was being born in the early a€™Thirties. Woody has weathered the Depressiona€™s worst year and learned a lot a€” but the ending of his clandestine association with Owney and Frenchy DeMange leaves him feeling blue. One was opened in a brownstone at 144 East 45th Street in 1926 by an Italian immigrant named Christopher Cella, whose boyhood friend Mike Fischetti was on the NYPDa€™s a€?Italian Squad,a€? one of the toughest cops in town.
Although there were no familiar faces seated round the big communal table, the Saint felt the reawakening of an old happiness as he stepped into the brightly lighted room, with the smell of tobacco and wine and steaming vegetables and the clatter of plates and pans. It was the same as it had always beena€”the same humorous camaraderie presided over and kept vigorously alive by Chrisa€™s own unchanging geniality. Its German Renaissance design features walls of sable-dyed English oak, frescoes of Bavarian castles, faux wine casks carved into the woodwork and a grape-laden chandelier topped by a barmaid hoisting a stein. Cohan, the Broadway hyphenate, a composer-playwright-actor-producer-theater owner, and the only person ever awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor for a song, the rousing World War I anthem, a€?Over There.a€? Cohan made the Oak Room his pre-theater headquarters, his preferred table being a booth in its northwest corner. There was an air of privilege about him even in the way he held his drink and his cigarette. The waitersa€™ response was to remove the table, leaving the women sitting awkwardly in a circle. Banquettes along the walls, and backs and seats of chairs, were in the blue zebra print identifying El Morocco in newspaper pictures. At a podium outside the arch, the maA®tre da€™ greeted us and led us inside, where Beebe was perched on a stool watching a bartender perform with a cocktail shaker.


On his favor and discretion hang feuds, romances, careers, ambitions, the very foundations of the most bitterly jealous and competitive social hierarchy of our generation. She looked at me with indignation, rubbing the top of one gold-sandaled foot against the back of her other ankle.
His acquaintance with Elmer Davis moves beyond the BSI into other realms, and Woody comes to understand what Morley had told him: they do all have Sherlock Holmes in common, but the BSI is primarily about friendship. But a September 9, 1938, letter from Elmer Davis to Vincent Starrett gives a different impression: an older friend of Morleya€™s than Leavitt, Davis took up merrily with Woollcott that night. While Elmer Davis worries about a native despot poised for the a€™36 elections, Woodya€™s worries are closer to home. For me, it was one romantic comedy of William Powella€™s after another until my mind turned to mush. Yet Ambrose Converse is also his most important client now, as if Jimmy Stewart had gone to work for old buzzard Potter in Ita€™s a Wonderful Life.
The big stories were the Prince of Walesa€™ abdication, Italy invading Ethiopia, and FDRa€™s new term. Four columns were marching on the city with a a€?fifth columna€? inside it waiting to strike like a snake. To Basil Davenport, Peter Greig, Earle Walbridge, and Dave Randall are added two more, one a kinsprit already, the other someone who will become important to Woody as the world drifts closer to war. Wiry and muscular, with a neatly clipped mustache, he resembled a wary bird whoa€™d bite off any finger poked in his direction. I believe that every democratic nation in Europe today would get out of Europe and stay out if it could; out of the neighborhood of Germany .
But for them both, 1937 is their newlywed year a€” out on the town, taking in the movies, seeking out the coolest jive joints with the hottest jazz, and going dancing with the Age of Swing in full blast. One night I overheard a callow youth say something to his girl about a€?shaming the old folks off the floor,a€? and realized in dismay that he meant me. He said he could play drunk because he practiced drunk, and he sure could play, but we were watching self-destruction right before our eyes.
We went on that way into 1938, celebrating our first anniversary without even a BSI dinner to break the mood. The following evening, Friday November 13, the “Cotton Pickers Ball” shall be held at 7:00pm, in da’ House of Khafre, located at 300 Main Street, Indianola. For the green and rather innocent Woody, Madden, DeMange, and the work prove quite an education. Then decades later, in Francis Ford Coppolaa€™s 1984 movie The Cotton Club, its life and times were recreated superbly, with Bob Hoskins and Fred Gwynne playing Owney Madden and Frenchy DeMange.
A chorus line of nearly naked colored girls ran out onto the stage and went into a routine never seen south of Central Park.
Its big room, mahogany, brass and mirrors with a forty-foot bar, served as clubhouse for Trib reporters and editors. Tables are covered with clean white cotton cloths and the waiters wear long white linen aprons that flap about their ankles. It took him back at one leap to the ambrosial nights of drinking and endless argument, when all philosophies had been probed and all the worlda€™s problems settled, that he had known in that homely place.
Why were there not more places like that in the world, he began to wondera€”places where a host was more than a shop-keeper, and men threw off their cares and talked and laughed openly together, without fear or suspicion, expanding cleanly and fruitfully in the glow of wine and fellowship? It drove me across town to East 39th, the wet streets dark and nearly deserted at that hour. Offering a fine view of all comings and goings, it became known as the Cohan Corner, where the great man was courted by theatrical types looking for work. A man at a nearby booth offered breadsticks, which were declined, and the group decamped to form a picket line in front of the hotel. But the movie Woody saw there that night has lasted: The Thin Man, starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. Ita€™s comical that the Nobel Committee gives its Peace Prize to do-gooders like Jane Addams. Ia€™d struggled through it in high school; they talked about Horace as if he were a mutual friend. So Woody dwells uncomfortably in a higher social and economic stratum of an increasingly disturbing world, as he takes stock of it when they return from their honeymoon. Fierce debate had started over his court-packing scheme, to circumvent the Supreme Courta€™s a€?nine old mena€? striking down one New Deal program after another. Frank of the Czechoslovak parliament, a German belonging to the half-Hitlerized Sudetendeutsche Partei, has said that the state must be a€?either a bridge between Germany and the southeast or a barricade against Germany.a€? . But when I walked into a jive joint with Diana, nobody took me for a rootietoot, let alone a lawyer. He had an about-town column in the Herald Tribune called a€?This New York.a€? It wasna€™t Woody Hazelbakera€™s New York.
All are encouraged to attend both events in costume attire worn in the cotton fields, such as “overalls and straw hats, etc.”The 1st Annual Historical Narrative Competition enhances this year’s Symposium.
But his agents are numerous and splendidly organized.a€? Same with Madden, and I discovered a separate and different world beneath the surface. Formed alliance with Tammany Hall chieftain Jimmy Hines, went into bootlegging including many speakeasies and night clubs. Kidnapped and held for ransom by a€?Mad Doga€? Coll in 1931 (an unwise career move on the lattera€™s part).
It was nearly empty at eleven in the morning, but even busy I couldna€™t have missed Walker halfway down the bar, next to an arresting sight: another man dressed, at that hour of the day, in white tie and tails.
I carried the briefcases when we got there, and Owneya€™s driver lugged the rest up to my apartment.
After his death in 1942, a bronze plaque was installed to commemorate his tenure; it still hangs there today.
As the evening wore on and more and more people arrived, additional tables and chairs were brought out and placed on the dance floor until it almost disappeared.
When I finally got a word in edgewise and asked what the hell, Basil shrugged off a€?two perfectly useless degreesa€? in classics from Yale and Oxford. Bradford, another Thin Man imitation, had come out while Diana was in Europe, but when she got back I took her to My Man Godfrey at Radio City. Enlarging the Court had peoplea€™s backs up, while others felt the Court was so pre-Depression in make-up, it might as well be the Dark Ages. It was the New York of El Morocco by night, people with plenty of money despite the Depression, Broadway openings instead of bank closings, charity scavenger hunts instead of breadlines, uninterrupted self-indulgence instead of the dole. Mississippi Delta high school seniors and MVSU students will compete for a trophy and gift card provided by Khafre, Inc and Lost Pizza, Company.
Owney Madden grew up in the part of New York called Hella€™s Kitchen, and had been in the rackets since he was a kid, starting with one of its Irish gangs, The Gophers.
He held a drink in one hand, a cigar in the other, and on the surface of the bar rested a silk top hat.
I hung up my hat and coat, opened the briefcase Owney had given me and gazed at the money again, then stashed it in the back of my closet. Then as I started thinking of him as a pudgy intellectual, he said something to Gene Tunney across the table about their boxing a few rounds at the Yale Club before coming to Cellaa€™s. He and drummer Gene Krupa were from his band, but the others were colored musicians, cool Teddy Wilson on piano and excited Lionel Hampton on vibes, the first mixed group wea€™d seen. He had to eat; and in all the world there are no steaks like the steaks Chris Cellini broils over an open fire with his own hands.
Author: History of the New York Times, 1921, Times Have Changed, 1923, Ia€™ll Show You the Town, 1924, Friends of Mr. I loosened my tie, poured myself a stiff drink, and sat down beside a window a€” sat there a long time, the untasted drink in my hand, listening to it rain. Anyone whoa€™d box Gene Tunney for funa€” I gave up, and went and got another drink myself.
Powell was a stockbroker down on his luck, plucked out of a hobo jungle to butler for the nuttiest family on Fifth Avenue.
All projects must be delivered to the MVSU Social Sciences office “T” by 5:00pm November 5th, (or call organizers to arrange for pick up). Staff New York Herald Tribune since 1929; writer, syndicated column a€?This New Yorka€? since 1933. 1919; professional boxer, 1919-1928, World Heavyweight Champ, 1926-28, a€?Fighter of the Year,a€? 1928, retired undefeated that year.
The Times called Lombarda€™s Irene a€?a one-track mind with grass growing over its rails,a€? but that was a damn sight better than her mean sister Cornelia.
Member Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, Wine & Food Society of America, Republican.
Founded, with Cleon Throckmorton, Hoboken Theatrical Co., 1928, producing revivals of a€?After Dark,a€? a€?The Black Crook,a€? etc. Guggenheim Fellow, League of Nations, Geneva, 1928-29, dir., Geneva office, League of Nations Assoc. Professor, Public Policy, MVSU; Dr Alpha Diarra, National Cotton Spokesman of Mali, West Africa.
Local storyteller Helen Sims will pay tribute to “the Spirit of Mama Lula.” Hollandale folk artist Dorothy Hoskins will showcase recent multi-media work on Cotton Pickin’ and Sharecropping in the American South. The University is driven by its commitment to excellence in teaching, learning, service, and research--a commitment resulting in a learner-centered environment that prepares critical thinkers, exceptional communicators, and service-oriented, engaged, and productive citizens. MVSU is fundamentally committed to positively affecting the quality of life and creating extraordinary educational opportunities for the Mississippi Delta and beyond. KHAFRE, Inc.
Honoring the legacy of  “grandmamma-nem” in a university setting gives artistic and academic license to the pursuit of gaining more scholarship and international acceptance, of the contributions and sweat equity made by the people who picked cotton throughout the American South,” said Professor C.Sade Turnipseed, Executive Director of Khafre, Inc. As part of Khafre, Inc’s historic preservation efforts, a permanent marker will be placed on the MVSU campus in honor of cotton pickers from the Mississippi Delta, and those who worked the repurposed cotton plantation for higher learning, MVSU.The Symposium is free admission. Khafre, Inc is all about building monumental programs that allow reflection, reconnection, and renewal. This year’s theme: “Cotton Sacks and Freedom Quilt Narratives” will stimulate a day of discussion about historic preservation, leading-edge research, innovative practices, and foundational values.
The agency and resistance of these narratives will also reflect on the subtle and continuing impact of cotton on life in the Delta and throughout the South. The one-day event concludes with a good old fashion “black-tie” (or period-piece costume) “Cotton-Pickers’ Ball and Ancestral Celebration” at da’ House of Khafre located at 300 Main St. Julianne Malveaux; and, introduction by award-winning poet Chinaka Hodge the volume offers a balanced view of what our children face day-to-day, on the streets of America. Over two hundred years ago, the Akan Nation (West Africa) established the Adinkra Symbols to visually communicate a system of living for African people to observe and learn.
Amazingly, just as with other inspired and spiritual writings, drawings, etc., the symbols are beautiful design concepts with meanings still relevant today.
They bring clarity and resolve to the question, “What do we (the village) have to do to show support and love for each other and ultimately save ourselves and one another?” The experiences of today’s youth culture demonstrate a fundamental disconnect, to most people of previous generations.
The young writers selected for this publication masterfully describe the challenge in dealing with today’s world. Because, it offers tribute to the “original” mother and her instinctual knowing of the spiritual paths that her children (all children) must take to find their way out of harm's way. Revealed, in this collection of writings are a wonderful array of short stories, poems and proverbs that present a familial insight born by the great liberator of liberators, Harriet Tubman!
By Writers of the 21st Century is an affiliate of Young Publishers Network (YPN) and Khafre, Inc a 501(c)(3) organization working in the Mississippi Delta to improve the welfare and healthy living environments of children in America and around the world.### Thank You Mr. Born in a cabin on a cotton plantation outside Berclair, Mississippi in 1925, his entire life, much like the lives of so many others from the Mississippi Delta, was spent in service to others. Unfortunately, for most of his contemporaries (colleagues, family of friends) they never received the accolades, appreciation, or respect for their life-long work as cotton-pickers in the American South.
David Matthews, MS Congressman Bennie Thompson, MS Senator Thad Cochran, National Parks Director Dr Jon Jarvis, Mr.
Theodore Turnipseed, Sr., and millions of others understand the importance of sharing, and erecting a statue and National Park dedicated to the countless field workers of the American South.
Though unrecognized and unappreciated, these people worked from sun up to sun down tilling, planting, chopping, picking and spinning cotton, in the blazing hot sun … This and many other horrifying conditions of the historic Mississippi Delta evoked the music we call “the Blues.”On May 21, 2014, during the last year of his life Mr. King accepted our call to become the “Honorary Chair” of Khafre, Inc, a Mississippi-based 501(3) not-for-profit organization. Maya Angelou as the Honorary Chair of the Cotton Pickers of America and the Sharecroppers Interpretive Center project. The plan is to build a thirty-foot high monument on twenty acres of cotton land along Highway 61, just outside the historic Black town Mound Bayou, MS.
This is a historically rare opportunity to transform many lives in the Delta and engage conversations about race and social inequities in America.
Sade Turnipseed is the Executive Director of Khafre, Inc and teaches American History at Mississippi Valley State University, in Itta Bena, the birthplace of Mr. This year’s theme: “Cotton Sacks and Freedom Quilts Narratives” will stimulate a day of discussion about historic preservation, leading-edge research, innovative practices, and foundational values.


No one has ever “officially” said “thank you” to the people in the American South, who literally tilled the way to the economic greatness for many countries and regions around the world. Somewhere along the way the respect and honor for their hard-earned sweat-equity investment in the wealth of others was lost and buried in the bloodstained, tear-soaked soils of the American South.
Something “monumental,” needs to happen…like a National Park named the “Cotton Pickers of America Monument and Sharecroppers Interpretive Center” along the Blues Highway 61. Once the Monument is installed, the organizers’ plan is to turn it over to the federal government for the protection and honor that only this country can provide.
It shall serve as a permanent reminder and ever-present sign of respect for those whose hope for a brighter day wore thin, while working from kin to kain’t (can’t see in the morning to can’t see at night).The world must be reminded of the work ethic held by the people in the South…in most instances it was an honorable legacy … the tragedy is they were never properly compensated, nor thanked.
King, (aka: The King of the Blues) will join the effort to build a National Monument in the Mississippi Delta.
King understands, as do all members of the Khafre, Inc family, that a healing will come through recognition and a true recounting of the history of cotton and its impact in the South.In September, 2009, Khafre, Inc, based in Indianola, Mississippi, embarked upon a journey designed to thank the sons and daughters of the South who helped, albeit it without accolades, fanfare, or even recognition, build the cotton empire that fueled the American economy for nearly two centuries. The impetus for the project: Cotton Pickers of America and Sharecroppers Interpretative Center (hereafter referred to as the Cotton Pickers Monument Complex) is the need to thank those who toiled in the Delta soil for generations without the pay, appreciation, or the dignity they deserved.
The Cotton Pickers Monument Complex would not only help heal wounds that have festered for decades, but would also help to empower the generations of family members who have been negatively impacted by this unfortunate era in American history.
This is truly a historic endeavor that has the rare opportunity of actually transforming lives, communities, and the conversations about race in America and throughout the world.           These deeply held convictions of education and empowerment are keys to improving the quality of life for all within the Delta. They have helped to catapult Khafre into numerous projects, which are all connected to the vision and mission of this value-driven and movement-oriented organization that is designed to provide historical, health related, and cultural education and outreach to the communities of the Mississippi Delta.
Khafre has already helped young people successfully publish literature, prepare for careers in the television and radio broadcast industry, produce staged events and engage in healthy behaviors through diet and exercise, all with the assistance of grant dollars and strategic partnerships.The crowning work of Khafre remains the Cotton Pickers Monument Complex, a dream, which is coming closer to fruition, day by day, because of the unprecedented support of Mr.
We have also received Congressional acknowledgment and endorsement from United States Congressmen, Bennie Thompson and Danny Davis, official endorsements from United States Senators, Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, and expressed support from Dr John Jarvis, National Parks Director. Carroll Van West and Rebecca Conard from Middle Tennessee State University’s History Department, along with the ongoing partnership with Mississippi Valley State University, has proven a significant benefit to our overall project. We are now ready to raise the $26 million dollars to make the Cotton Pickers Monument complex a reality. We look forward to hearing from you and to welcoming your partnership in the building of this long overdue and much needed monument.It is time!Most sincerely,C.
The goal is to obtain as much first-hand information as possible relating to the development of America’s Cotton Kingdom (aka the Delta).In the aftermaths of completing the academic study for a Doctorate in Public History at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), Professor C. Turnipseed’s theory that perceptions of sharecropping, tenant farming, etc, will be altered in ways that are beneficial to the legacy of the American South when the memory of elders are shared.
The monument site is envisioned to become a National Park; and thereby “the place” for memory and community sharing in the Mississippi Delta, for educational, economic development, and international tourism purposes.
King and former honorary chair Dr Maya Angelou who are determined to improve the legacy and social-economic status of Mississippi Delta residents. The purpose of the organization is to provide educational, lifestyle and cultural programs, build monuments and memorials to honor, celebrate, and recognize the rich and complex history of the Mississippi Delta and to positively impact the quality of life of those living in the Delta, especially the disproportionately poor African American community. There is no documented official acknowledgment of the people who tilled the path to America’s greatness. Somewhere along the way buried in the tear-soaked soils of the American South, the respect and honor for their hard-earned investment was lost. The Cotton Pickers of America Monument, Sharecroppers Interpretive Center, and Cotton Kingdom Trail make the case for building a National Park that offers a small token of appreciation for their tireless uncompensated work. Sade Turnipseed is the founder of Khafre, Inc., which has developed the Cotton Pickers of America Monument, the Sharecroppers Interpretive Center, and the Cotton Kingdom Historical Trail, among many other projects. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola and the former cultural arts director for the Mississippi Action for Community Education--MACE (producers of the MS Delta Blues and Heritage Festival) in Greenville. Turnipseed is the recipient of several community service and arts advocacy awards, and she was an independent candidate for mayor of the city of Indianola in 2013. For the past eight years Turnipseed was the host of “Delta Renaissance,” a cultural arts talk show focusing on the arts, education, and political issues in the Mississippi Delta.
Winter Building Wednesday, June 18: Former Secretary of State Dick Molpus talks about his experience during the Philadelphia civil rights murders of 1964. Wednesday, July 2: Filmmaker Wilma Mosley-Clopton will show and discuss her new film, "Did Johnny Come Marching Home?" about people of African descent who fought to free themselves in the Civil War. Wednesday, September 25: Author Robert Blade will talk about his book, "Tupelo Man," a biography of George McLean. I whole-heartedly agree with the editor that the African American community has proven to the world an uncanny, though unreciprocated, ability to be forgiving of past deeds of injustice, brutality and cruelty at the voting polls, and socially in their community service groups, churches and everyday lives. This point should not be lost on the fact that many of those injustices happened here, in Indianola, Mississippi, to some amazingly strong and resilient individuals like Fannie Lou Hamer and all those who came before her. But, I can’t help but wonder why the White community isn’t reciprocating and showing the same confidence and trust in racial relations?As Smith indicates, the incumbent received “between 32 and 37% of the votes in the three wards with large Black majorities, despite going up against two black opponents, with strong followings. That’s impressive for a white candidate in a city and region with a history of racially divided politics.” I agree.
When we examine the voter polls in the wards that are predominately African American, reflected is a general evenness for all candidates, be they Black or White.
The same, however, cannot be said about the two wards that reflect the primarily White community. I submit to you the following:In wards I, and II, which are the two wards with the largest white population of voters, we see results that reflect an uncompromising resistance to acceptance and change. With an overall total of 952 votes cast: 732 went to the White candidate and 220 for the two Blacks, combined)…check that!
Surely, it cannot be left up to one segment of the community, and not the other.I truly wish Smith had stressed this very critical point, instead of throwing shade on the outcome of a campaign I have yet to wage.
And for the record, as a citizen, it is my right to be afforded the opportunity to run a fair and unbiased race for mayor, without subtle suggestions that it is a waste of my time, as inferred in his editorial.
But, then again maybe he knows more than I about how citizens of wards I and II will ultimately vote. And to also trust that the leaders of this community will look out for their best interest, politically, economically and socially. After all we live in a community that is 84% African American with a poverty rate that is fast approaching 40% and a public school system that is in deplorable condition, both physically and academically, even under the watchful eye of the government, yet there is no outrage…from either the White side, or the Black side of town. And, I have never believed it was necessary to wait until political season to demonstrate my commitment to the people in my community.
If, by chance I am truly embraced by all members of all wards of this city, I believe people will witness an amazing transformation in a relatively short period of time. It’s “almost” like magic…I predict things will begin to unfold in a substantive way like the neighborhoods will brighten, crime decreases and the impoverished mindset disappears. And I am passionate enough to find the tools to help remedy the concerns that create stagnation and distrust. Please remember, we are a people who come from a very long tradition of women who made a way out of no way.My overall ambition and hope for this city is to develop a strategic plan that enables a steady stream of culturally enriched projects that insures economic development for the future growth and safety in this city.
So programs that not only engage everyone, but present real opportunities for career enhancements and social activities are critical. King Museum that I visualized and administered) Thanks Carver Randle, Sr for that wonderful quote. I just wish he read my bio, or googled me, before publishing doubts about my abilities for success.
For the past three years, I have been sitting relatively quietly completing the doctorate in history.
Now, I am ready to shake up this town with some bold ideas and ever increasing standards for excellence. I look forward to being a significant force in this community, by helping the White community too recognize the benefits of building relationships that they can trust in leadership positions.
We MUST work together to improve our community—by encouraging EVERYONE to clean on our streets, bayou, parks, etc. We have some huge unmet challenges here in Indianola, and how YOU decide to vote On December 10, 2013, is vital to our success. Also, please be sure to come to this year's event in your overalls, or cotton pickin' clothes. The event is the impetus that gave rise to the “Remigration Home from Chicago to Mississippi” cultural movement organized by music promoters Gus Redmond and Robert Terrell. Legendary blues and gospel performers Otis Clay, Syl Johnson and Marshal Thompson (founder and lead singer of the ChiLites); along with promoter Gus Redmond will lead the way back home to Mississippi in an effort to support the Cotton Pickers of America Monument and Sharecroppers Interpretive Center project in the historical Cotton Kingdom AKA the Mississippi Delta.
Though the Ball is a “Black Tie Affair” Overalls or other “cotton pickin” attire are encouraged and expected.“I am so pleased that we have partnered with Khafre to host an event of this magnitude,” said Dr. The discussions and historical presentations will reflect cutting-edge research, innovative practices and foundational values.
Additionally, two noted scholars from Mali’s Cotton Manufacturing and Distribution will present via Skype.MVSU participants in the program include Dr. John Jones, interim provost.As part of the celebration, Khafre plans to erect a permanent marker on the site in honor of cotton pickers from the Mississippi Delta and in commemoration of the significance of this historical event. This will be a day of stimulating discussion about historic preservation, leading-edge research, innovative practices, and foundational values. The two-day event concludes with a good-old-fashion “black-tie” (or period-piece costume) “Cotton-Pickers’ Ball,” on October 18, 2013. This year Khafre, Inc in conjunction with Mississippi Valley State University shall organize the USA’s premier interdisciplinary professional meeting on cotton, sharecropping, and its cultural significance.
The deadline is September 6, 2013.Plan to join us in Itta Bena, Mississippi!This is your chance to catch up with old friends and colleagues at The Valley, make important new contacts, discuss the latest in cultural management, stay current with research findings in the historic preservation field, and connect with people who share your core values.
We invite all community-based experts in any field to become a part of the challenge to address issues of: unemployment, entrepreneurship, illiteracy, poor self-esteem, teen pregnancy, obesity, hopelessness, communication skills, journalism and creative writing, etc. Situated on the bayou waterfront at 103 and 105 Main Street, in historic downtown Indianola, da' House is the place where folks come together in the spirit of unity and love for Mississippi Delta culture, particularly its blues, spirituals and teacakes!
On the historical Wall of Fame are signatures by musicians from Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria, Norway, Belguim, China, Japan, France, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire and Mississippi, of course.
Beginning Friday, June 1, 2012, at 7 pm, the folks at da' House will be carrying on in grand teacake style, until Sunday June 3rd, around midnight.
Celebrating da love that is shared all around the world for da Delta music, art and culture. The 2nd Anniversary Celebration is dedicated to Deltas own David Honeyboy Edward, David Lee Durham, David Thompson and Mississippi Slim. These legendary bluesmen have recently joined the ancestors and will be honored by several local artists and civic leaders: Mickey Rogers, Dr. These artists and many others will perform on da historical Front Porch stage where the legendary bluesman Sam Chatmons music room door is gracefully hinged. The door, the traditional quilts, the African art, the sweet smell of Soul Food and the Delta cotton provide a rural sophistication and ambiance that is reminicient of the culture and folk art once owned and coveted by grandmamma-nem.
Indeed, it is "The home for artful giving, music and songs," as Chicago-based Blues promoter Lynn Orman Weiss described da' House on her most recent visit to the Delta.
And, since da' House is located at the epicenter of the Cotton Kingdom, visitors can expect that authentic soothing, and often times healing, Mississippi Delta experience to be dosed up in abundantly royal fashion, every time they come to da' House! Co-owners Robert Terrell and C.Sade Turnipseed extend a personal and heartfelt invitation for everyone to come on out to da House and help celebrate two-years of Delta art, music and culture. She is also the first African-American female president to lead a Mississippi public university. Since assuming her position on January 1, 2009, she has launched The Valley Renaissance, the institutions five-year strategic plan, which is pictorially depicted by the African Adinkra symbol of a Sankofa a bird that flies with his head facingbackwards as he advances forward without getting off track. Grammy-winning blues musician David "Honeyboy" Edwards, believed to be the oldest surviving Delta bluesman and whose roots stretched back to blues legend Robert Johnson, died early Monday, Aug. Maya Angelou agreed to graciously lend her name to the Cotton Pickers of America Monument and Sharecroppers Interpretive Center project that is in development, in the Mississippi Delta. C.Sade Turnipseed, Founder of the Monument project and Executive Director of Khafre, Inc, recently made the announcement in a community meeting held at da House of Khafre, in Indianola. Our teams collective effort honors the sacrifices made by millions of Americans and purposefully gives dignity back to the legacy of those who spent their entire lives working, tirelessly to build this country.Dr.
Smith Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University, joins a long and growing list of American citizens, who have also expressed the desire to support this project and demonstrate their respect and gratitude to every man, woman and child that picked cotton and were never thanked, nor properly compensated as enslaved workers or as sharecroppers, throughout the American south.The Khafre, Inc team is composed of a governing Board of Directors, a Steering Committee, a Board of Advisors and several political and community leaders that include faculty members from the History Department at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). The governing Board selected world-renowned monument designer, Ed Dwight, to develop the thirty-foot statue and sculptural park. It offers educational workshops, seminars and conferences for the entire community that celebrate Mississippis culture and its contributions to world history, including music, cuisine, writing, andotherartistic expressions. Turnipseed is also the host of Delta Renaissance, the number one cultural arts television talk show in the Delta, which airs weekly on WABG-TV, WABG-Radio and Delta Fox-10 television networks.Plans are also underway to incorporate the completed work into the National Parks Services, to insure prosperity and proper maintenance of the Monument.
To help the Cotton Pickers of America Monument and Sharecroppers Interpretive Center be included as part of the National Parks System, please sign the online petition. To have name(s) of family members included in the Monument, download a Legacy Brick application; both petition and application are available on the Khafre, Inc.
Sato returns to the Front Porch Stage solo, on Sunday March 6th, at 6pm, to kick off the Cultural Competency workshop series. These are on-going cultural appreciation classes presented for the first time in the Delta, by Khafre, Inc (a Mississippi-based non-profit organization).Sato, who was born and raised in Japan, will introduce to American audiences his interpretation of Mississippi Delta Blues and perform on one of his traditional instruments called a Samisen.



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