News Releases

The Delta and Dockery Farms

May 26, 2020

At noon on Wednesday, June 17, as part of the department’s History Is Lunch series, William C. Lester will present “The Delta and Dockery.” The streaming-only program will be shown live on the Mississippi Department of Archives and History’s Facebook page and added to the MDAH YouTube channel afterwards.

Dockery Plantation was a 25,600-acre cotton plantation and sawmill on the Sunflower River between Ruleville and Cleveland. It is widely regarded as the place where Delta blues music was born.

“They say the Delta starts in the Peabody in Memphis and ends on Catfish Row in Vicksburg,” said Lester. “Over 100 miles long and 50 miles wide, an alluvial flood plain of the Mississippi River untold years in the making, on that flood plain swamp lived many different people and their families. And the stories of those families that tamed the swamp into one of the most productive farmlands in the world is the story of the Delta.”

Lester is executive director of the Dockery Farms Foundation, whose mission is to preserve the historic property and heritage of Dockery Farms and to develop these for educational purposes and the public interest in music, agriculture, and the history of the Mississippi Delta.

William C. Lester was born in Memphis. He earned a BA and MFA from the University of Mississippi. From 1974 to 2008 he worked in the art department of Delta State University, serving as chair from 2004 to 2008. He has been executive director of the Dockery Farms Foundation since 2004.

History Is Lunch is broadcast from the Craig H. Neilsen Auditorium in the Two Mississippi Museums—the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum—in Jackson. For more information call 601-576-6998 or email


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