“Down in the Delta” presented by Vanessa Charlot
The complicated histories of Black life in the American South, ladened with cotton fields and the remnants of Jim Crow, has imprinted itself upon the hauntingly beautiful contemporary landscape of the Mississippi Delta. The project, Down in the Delta, is a visual archive of the lived experiences and legacy of Roosevelt Davenport (b. 1937), a former sharecropper, and his family, who all worked and now own a piece of the land on the Quito Plantation in Morgan City, where their ancestors were once kept as enslaved people. This project sheds light on Black American roots and those who chose to stay in the Delta and create family, home, and community.
Vanessa Charlot is an award-winning photographer, filmmaker, and an assistant professor of creative multimedia at the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media. Her work focuses on the intersectionality of race, politics, culture, and sexual/gender expression in order to explore the collective human experience. The purpose of her work is to produce visual representations free of an oppressive gaze. Charlot seeks to humanize Black bodies through her photography, restoring the dignity and vitality of those often shot as subjects divorced from context, motives, and histories. Her work invites us all to question our relationship to what we think about when we see Black bodies as static images and in motion.
SouthTalks is a series of events (including lectures, performances, film screenings, and panel discussions) that explores the interdisciplinary nature of Southern Studies. This series is free and open to the public, and typically takes place in the Tupelo Room of Barnard Observatory unless otherwise noted. Visit the Center’s website for current information about all Center events. During the 2023–24 academic year, the programming theme is “Creativity in the South.”