Sledge Taylor, From a Mule to a Deere: High Tech Agriculture in the Mississippi Delta
Mr. William Sledge Taylor, III has witnessed the remarkable development of high tech
machines to cultivate and harvest crops that took immense manpower and time in days
past. He owns and personally oversees Buckeye Farms, a large farm in the Como, Mississippi
area where he raises fine southern crops - cotton, corn, soybeans, wheat, timber and
cattle. Mr. Taylor will describe the major technological and sociological changes
in farming which have helped to make the Delta the most fertile and productive area
in the country.
Dr. Douglas Cupples, The Vicksburg Campaign
Dr. Douglas W. Cupples is an adjunct professor of history/political science at Christian
Brothers University. He holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in political science/international
relations and a doctorate in history/political science. His doctoral dissertation
focused on the role of the City of Memphis and Memphians during the Civil War. In
2009, he was a participant in the United States Army War College National Security
Seminar. His presentation focuses on the campaign by Federal forces to capture the
city of Vicksburg, Mississippi, in 1863 and Confederate efforts to prevent it. The
campaign included extensive amphibious operations by Naval and land forces. The Delta,
as a significant geographical feature, was a factor which both sides had to consider.
Jimmy Ogle, Ten Little-Known Facts about the Delta
Mr. Ogle is an acknowledged authority on the minutia of Memphis. He is the seventh
chairman of the Shelby County Historical Commission and Community Engagement Manager
for the Riverfront Development Corporation. Well-known for his story-telling style
during walking tours, he is a master at articulating Memphis history with equal parts
edification and deprecation. This ten-minute session promises to be stocked full of
new knowledge for Delta conference goers.
Beatrice Chauvin, The Magnetic Power of the Delta for French Blues Lovers
Ms. Beatrice Chauvin is a French magazine photographer and musician. Her family briefly
lived in Maryland when she was a toddler. She studied at La Sorbonne, wrote her master’s
thesis about the Cheyenne Indians and later taught their language. While on a press
trip to Memphis, she was inspired by the blues and formed an attachment to the region,
returning as often as she could. Ms. Chauvin’s photographs have appeared in the French
publication, Blues Magazine. She will share her belief “that there is something strong, poetic, emotional and
mystical in the landscapes, juke joints, songs and voices of the land.”
Kirk Perry, Chickasaw Indians in the Delta and the Trail of Tears
Kirk Perry is a member of the Chickasaw Nation. As the Executive Officer for Historic
Preservation for his tribe, Mr. Perry consults with a variety of federal agencies,
institutions, and museums under the National Historic Preservation Act, Section 106,
the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, and the National Museum
of the American Indian Act. Mr. Perry's preservation and repatriation work covers
a vast expanse of aboriginal homelands in Oklahoma, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and
Mississippi. The Chickasaw Nation has successfully completed numerous domestic repatriations,
and is also currently pursuing an international repatriation for the return of Chickasaw
ancestors from the British Museum in Great Britain.
In addition to Mr. Perry's work in repatriation, he also oversees the management and
operation of the Chickasaw Preserve (Chissa' Talla') in partnership with The Archaeological
Conservancy in Lee County, Mississippi. The Division of Historic Preservation actively
seeks to identify, protect, preserve, and interpret Chickasaw history, culture, and
sacred sites that are historically and culturally significant to the Chickasaw Nation.
In fulfilling the mission of his office Mr. Perry continues to seek goals to enhance
the overall quality of life for the Chickasaw people now and for generations to come.
Willy Bearden, Never Let the Truth Get in the Way of a Good Story and Other Lessons I’ve Learned
in the Delta
A native of Rolling Fork, Mississippi, Mr. Willy Bearden has expressed his love of
the Mississippi Delta through his interest and talents in music, books, history, film-making
and public speaking. He is best known for his popular “Memphis Memoirs” programs that
air on the WKNO-TV (PBS). He has directed and produced a full-length motion picture, One Came Home, situated in the Delta of the 1940s. Mr. Bearden is the 2011 recipient of the University
of Memphis College of Communication and Fine Arts Distinguished Achievement Award
in the Creative and Performing Arts.
Afternoon Sessions Panelists
Sledge Taylor, Buckeye Farms & Shonda Warner, Chess Ag Full Harvest Partners LLC – High Tech Delta Farming
Sam Brookes, Forest Service Archeologist & Kirk Perry, Chickasaw Foundation – Native American History in the Delta
Jonathan Blanchard, singer & Tyler Fritts, jug band musician – Indigenous Delta Music.
Beatrice Chauvin, photographer and musician – The Delta from a European Perspective
Dr. Douglas Cupples, adjunct professor, Christian Brothers University & Dr. Charles Crawford, professor, University of Memphis – The Civil War and Its Aftermath in the Mississippi Delta