Indianola, MS (May 18, 2016)—Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) in collaborative partnership with Khafre, Inc forge ahead once again to organize America’s premier interdisciplinary meeting on the Cotton Kingdom, sharecropping and the cultural significance of Cotton Pickers to the success of the American economy. The 5th Annual Sweat Equity Investment in the Cotton Kingdom Symposium presents with topical issues and images depicting THE ECONOMY OF THE COTTON KINGDOM AND THE CONFEDERATE SOUTH. This year’s theme further substantiates the viability of the sweat equity investment and cultural contributions made through labor by Cotton Pickers Planters and other Plantation Workers. The annual event takes place in Itta Bena, on MVSU’s campus in the Social Sciences auditorium Thursday, November 10th @ noon for a special brownbag “art-talk” session featuring renowned artist John Jones; and a full day of stimulating lectures, dramatic performances, and visual arts on Friday, November 11, beginning 9:00am.

South Carolina native and resident John Jones will present the keynote address for this year’s Symposium. Mr. Jones is a world famous artist who has traveled extensively artistically displaying and discussing his scholarly research entitled, Confederate Currency: The Color of Money. The book investigates the importance of slavery in the economy of the South. Artist John W. Jones has researched and documented over 126 images of slavery that were depicted on Confederate and Southern States’ money. The juxtaposition of the framed Confederate Currencies with the acrylic paintings inspired by the slave images on the currencies makes a very powerful statement on the contribution of enslaved Africans to the American economy. In these paintings, as John says, “history informs art, which in turn artfully reveals more history.”

The book’s notoriety exploded when the exhibition was reviewed in over 261 media publications, including: Time Magazine, The New York Times, CNN, PBS, San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento Bee, and Associated Press, along with numerous other media outlets who gave coverage to its 2002 release. Thus far, Jones and his team have presented throughout the United States, but never before in Mississippi.

MVSU and the Khafre, Inc team are excited and extremely proud that Mr. Jones has accepted the invitation to come to Mississippi, for the first time, and to display his highly acclaimed exhibit. “The voices of African Americans who labored in the cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta have lay silent for too long.  The Cotton Symposium provides a forum for their stories, contributions and legacies and to be learned,” stated Dr Constance Bland, VP Academic Affairs at MVSU. In addition, this year’s Symposium will feature a scholarly panel from Mali, West Africa and other international leaders in the cotton industry.

A Call for Participation is underway to attract the interest of private collectors and archivists who may have access to confederate dollars, antebellum (or post-antebellum) plantation currency that features cotton production or agriculture (of any form). In addition, the 2nd Annual Historical Narrative Competition enhances this year’s Symposium. Mississippi Delta high school seniors and MVSU students will compete for a trophy and gift card provided by local businesses. The rules are simple: address this year’s theme; constructed on presentation board; use any material: paper, cloth, photos, etc.; and include a synopsis describing the currency’s narrative … more details will follow. Local businesses are encouraged to participate with sponsorships and gift certificates for the best poster presentations. Both the student research projects and the celebrated works of Mr. Jones will be on public display on the MVSU campus throughout the symposium and afterwards for the remainder of the month of November in da’ House of Khafre, located at 300 Main Street, in downtown Indianola, MS.

Mississippi Valley State University, as a Carnegie Classified Master's University provides comprehensive undergraduate and graduate programs in education, the arts and sciences, and professional studies. 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. is a not for profit 501(c)(3) organization. To realize its’ critically important and intentionally bold vision, KHAFRE, Inc. will build monuments and memorials; offer educational programs, and health and history workshops. Khafre, Inc. also provides resources to the formal and informal educators in the Delta, engages in community outreach, and operates as a repository and distributor of information on the beauty and talent of and within the Mississippi Delta, all for the overarching purpose of improving the quality of life of her sons and daughters. 

The partnership formed between MVSU and Khafre, Inc validates the notion that a tribute and monument to sharecroppers and cotton pickers are not just significant, but long over due. 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.

Let us continue to make history together!

For more information about Symposium registration, participation and sponsorship,

please contact Prof. C. Sade Turnipseed,

cassie.turnipseed@mvsu.edu, or 662.347.8198 ~ www.khafreinc.org ~ www.mvsu.edu





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