Field Hollers And Freedom Songs: The Anthology

Featuring the collected works from the Sweat Equity Investment in the Cotton Kingdom Symposium

C. Sade Turnipseed (Ed.)

by Claudia Stack (Stack Stories LLC), C. Sade Turnipseed (Khafre, Inc ; Mississippi Valley State University, USA), Clifton L. Taulbert (The Freemount Corporation), Betty Crawford (Mule Train Historical Society), Carla Keaton , Tanya Y. Price (Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio), Marline A. Martin (MFA), Reginald Crenshaw , Mark Howell (Winterville Mounds Park and Museum, USA), Golden Winter (Little Rock National Park Service), Thomas J. Durant, Jr. (Jackson State University, USA), Maxine Fair , Hermon Johnson , Brian William (Mississippi State University), Skylar J. Hinton (Mississippi Valley States University), Olutimi James Osasona , Delridge LaVeon Hunter (Medgar Evers College, USA)

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The essays in this book make an eloquent plea for celebrating the resilience and creativity of generations of men and women who, in response to the hardship, hostility and deprivation of their lives sharecropping and picking cotton in the Mississippi Delta, built on their African roots to create a distinctive, dynamic and life-affirming culture, much of it expressed through the music which has become, in the words of one author, the “soul of America.”

Stephanie Deutsch
author 'You Need a Schoolhouse, Booker T. Washington, Julius Rosenwald and the Building of Schools for the Segregated South'

All over the continent of Africa, the beauty, the cultures, radiate out to all people as a drumbeat, a musical tapestry that found its way to the cotton fields. It is the heart of where we get the blues. The fortitude of Africans in America has been one of innovation and creativity against unimaginable odds. Lasting way too long, enslaved people and sharecroppers have journeyed through physical oppression, economic inequities, and racial denigration. This book helps readers recognize models for change in the sense that we can look at the journey as a forced expedition with all of its dangers, twists and turns. It is through the dialogue found in this book that the echo can be heard over, across, and onto the other side of misunderstandings, into a state of compassion, landing in the valley of truth. This book educates the reader on the reconstruction of thought, and the process of rising up and out of the situation sharecroppers experienced. Holistically, we can possibly find ourselves more compassionate towards the resilience in the DNA of the surviving descendants of sharecroppers.
[…] A satisfying read -- one can feel the songs, the hollers, and the music’s journey while getting a sense of cruel labor without benefit or profit. The articles found in “Field Hollers and Freedom Songs” echo with a resounding blast of truth.

Diane Williams
author of “The Life and Legacy of B.B. King: A Mississippi Blues Icon”

Taking place annually in “the most southern place on earth,” aka, the “Cotton Kingdom,” the Sweat Equity Investment in the Cotton Kingdom Symposium offers a platform to honor, celebrate, and recognize the legacy of the African Americans who labored in the cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta. The symposium intends to trigger discussions and provide a space where the histories and contributions of those Americans can be heard and learned from.
Born in the antebellum south, the “soul of America” came to be through the tearful occupation of planting, chopping, picking and ginning cotton, where it was then brined within a system of enslavement, sharecropping and international trade that in so many ways provided America its “greatness.” Carefully compiled from works presented at the symposia, this anthology looks to expose the tortured “cotton-pickin’ spirit” embedded in America’s soul. A spirit that is rendered in song, chants, spoken word and field hollers, and revealed in this volume through the selected articles, lyric poetry, proverbs, speeches, slave narratives and workshop proposals. The rich and varied content of this book reflects the uniqueness of not only the Mississippi Delta but also the histories of those who lived and worked there.

List of Examples, Figures and Tables
Carroll Van West, PhD
Middle Tennessee State University, Center for Historic Preservation

Chapter 1 Field Hollers and Freedom Songs
C. Sade Turnipseed, PhD
Khafre, Inc; Mississippi Valley State University

Chapter 2 Field Hollers: A Look at Blues During the Antebellum
Delridge LaVeon Hunter
Medgar Evers College

Chapter 3 “I had $17 Dollars in my Pocket”
Carla Keaton
Keaton Fine Art: A Global Encounter

Chapter 4 Plantations, Plantocracy, and the Cotton Kingdom
Thomas J. Durant, Jr.
Jackson State University

Chapter 5 Why So Blue? The Cotton Narrative on Quilt
Betty Crawford
Mule Train Historical Society

Chapter 6 Cotton Sharecropping in the Mississippi Delta as Illuminated in the Film Sharecrop Delta Cotton
Claudia Stack. M.Ed.
Stack Stories LLC

Chapter 7 Field Hollers and Jazz Styling: The Transformation of Music from Africa to America
Tanya Y. Price
Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio

Chapter 8 The Representation of the Rural-Urban Nexus in African American Contemporary Prose
Richard J. Mushi
Mississippi Valley State University

Chapter 9 True Pan Africanism A Panacea for Eurocentric Threats and the Modern-Day Slavery: A Comparative Study of the Cultural Heritage of Badagry Lagos and Mississippi Delta
Olutimi James Osasona
Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation

Chapter 10 Resistance and Rebellion in Jamaica
Marline A. Martin

Chapter 11 Songs of Indignation: Negro Protesters During the Old Order: Songs of the Lyric Poets
Delridge La Veon Hunter
Medgar Evers College

Chapter 12 A Tribute to Grand-Mama Nem
Skylar J. Hinton
Mississippi Valley States University

Chapter 13 Monuments, Flags is Mississippi a “Lost Cause?”
C. Sade Turnipseed, PhD
Khafre, Inc; Mississippi Valley State University

Chapter 14 The Legacy of Lynching in America
C. Sade Turnipseed, PhD
Khafre, Inc; Mississippi Valley State University

Chapter 15 Prescription for the Heart
Golden Winter
Little Rock National Park Service

Chapter 16 A Different Path to the Sacred: Another Call to Action
Reginald Crenshaw
Member of the Order of the Holy Cross

Chapter 17 Cotton, Chemicals, and Agricultural Justice
Brian Williams
Mississippi State University

Chapter 18 We Celebrate Their Survival!
Clifton L. Taulbert
The Freemount Corporation

Chapter 19 African American Native American Music Syncretism
Mark Howell, PhD
Winterville Mounds Park and Museum

Chapter 20 Escapist (Freedom) Songs
Delridge LaVeon Hunter
Medgar Evers College

Chapter 21 In the Cotton Fields (Country Girl)
Maxine Fair
Writer from the Hill Country in Mississippi

Chapter 22 I Believe in Blues
C. Sade Turnipseed, PhD
Khafre, Inc; Mississippi Valley State University

Chapter 23 Time to Build a Monument for Cultural Heritage and Memory of Cotton Pickers of America
C. Sade Turnipseed, PhD
Khafre, Inc; Mississippi Valley State University

Chapter 24 Cotton Pickers of America Looking for a Brighter Side
Hermon Johnson
Mound Bayou former City Council member

Chapter 25 In Conclusion: An Ode to the Chit’lin
C. Sade Turnipseed, PhD
Khafre, Inc; Mississippi Valley State University

Chapter 26 Epilogue
Delridge LaVeon Hunter
Medgar Evers College


Cassie Sade Turnipseed is the Institute of Higher Learning’s (IHL) 2017 Mississippi Diversity Educator of the Year. A public historian, educator, and community outreach specialist Turnipseed is the founder of the Mississippi-Delta based not-for-profit Khafre, Inc., whose mandate is to honor the legacy and historic contributions of Cotton Pickers, particularly those enslaved in the American South. As executive director of Khafre, Inc. Turnipseed is the lead researcher in the development of the 'Cotton Pickers of America Monument and Historic site' in the Mississippi Delta AKA The Cotton Kingdom; and is partnering with BelArt Cotton, Africa, NANTAP, and several other African institutions to document the African origins of cotton, the seeds, the gin, textile manufacturing, and its medicinal uses.

Turnipseed is also the proud recipient of a 2018 summer research grant to formally study the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. This research shall formulate one of few textbooks on the subject along with an accompanying documentary entitled, 'The Gullah Geechee: Making a Way Out of No Way.' In addition, Turnipseed is collecting narratives about Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU), America’s newest Historically Black College/University (HBCU), to produce the updated edition of its founder Dr James Herbert White’s publication on the early stages of MVSU. The new edition shall be entitled, 'Up from the Cotton Fields-Revisited' and published by University Press of Mississippi (UPM).

Professor Turnipseed currently teaches history at Jackson State University (JSU) and serves as an adjunct professor at MVSU. Turnipseed is the inaugural director of education and outreach for the B.B. King Museum, in Indianola, MS; and presents lectures and workshops on the blues and the impact that sharecroppers’ cotton culture has had on global economies. Turnipseed is the long-time talk show host and producer of the Delta Renaissance television show, and currently produces the Juneteenth 101 Podcast and Lecture series weekly. Turnipseed received a U.S. Congressional Honor for her “commitment to preserving the rich history and cultural heritage of Mississippi,” and was selected to receive a Hutha Fellowship at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) in Murfreesboro, TN (2014-15). Turnipseed was also chosen by Governor Haley Barber to be recipient of the 2008 Delta Regional Authority's Delta Leadership Institute Fellowship, among numerous other awards.

Turnipseed’s true passion is her work with students and young people. As demonstrated in every endeavor, Turnipseed makes it known that “if it does not involve the children, it does not involve me.” In 2003, Burkina Faso's Minister of Culture appointed Turnipseed to a six-year tenure as the 'official representative' of the world-renowned Pan African Film Festival, Ouagadougou (FESPACO), and in 2022 re-negotiated terms to present the 'Sankofa Challenge'—to present student-led film/tv scripts and other projects in collaboration with the Nigerian “Nollywood” film production industry. In essence, Turnipseed’s philosophical approach to life is one that emanates from an ancient African dictate ... 'know thy self.' She stated, "You cannot fully function in a global society, nor appreciate the significance of world history, if you have no knowledge of your own cultural affiliations and historical contributions."

Cotton, plantation, antebellum, slavery, sharecropping, Turnipseed, MVSU, Khafre, Inc., historic preservation, Mississippi, Delta, cotton kingdom, Cotton Pickers of America, plantocracy, field hollers, freedom songs, blues, spirituals, hip hop, music

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Bibliographic Information

Book Title
Field Hollers And Freedom Songs: The Anthology
Book Subtitle
Featuring the collected works from the Sweat Equity Investment in the Cotton Kingdom Symposium
Number of pages
Physical size
236mm x 160mm
15 B&W
Publication date
October 2022