Friday, February 15, 2013

Center donates books to local libraries

In honor of Black History Month, the Advisory Board of the Delta Heritage Center has donated two Blues books by music historian Dr. David Evans to the Haywood High School library. The books, Ramblin' On My Mind and Big Road Blues give new perspectives on the Blues culture and the old traditions and include mentions of Brownsville Bluesmen "Sleepy" John Estes, Hammie Nixon and Yank Rachel. Librarian Julie Dahlhauser attended the Center's Advisory Board meeting February 13, to accept the donation. Pictured in front of the Blues mural of the Music Museum are (from left) Carolyn Flagg, Joey Conner, Becky Booth, Dahlhauser, Jerry Wilson and Sonia Outlaw-Clark. Not pictured is Sandra Silverstein.

Librarian Katherine Horn of the Elm Ross Public Library recently accepted the donation of four books from the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center. In honor of Black History Month, the Center donated books that document influential Black people in our community. Among the books are Women of Haywood by Dr. Cynthia Bond Hopson; I, Tina by Kurt Loder; and Ramblin' On My Mind and Big Road Blues by Dr. David Evans. Pictured are (from left) Center Director Sonia Outlaw-Clark, Center Advisory Board members Carolyn Flagg, Becky Booth and Horn.

"Two Sides to Every Story" art exhibition opens March 1

John Sadowski

John Sadowski has been painting for over 40 years. His work has found its way into private and corporate collections throughout the United States. Beginning March 1, for a limited time, his work will be on display at the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville. A special preview and opening reception for "Two Sides to Every Story" will be held Friday evening, March 1, at 6 p.m.
Sadowski, a Memphis artist, has for many years painted representational art, in particular local landmarks. In his collection, viewers will recognize buildings and street scenes from places such as New Orleans, Oxford, Miss., Jackson, Tenn., and of course Memphis. Sadowski has also painted many scenes of Brownsville that will also be included in the exhibition. His painting style reflects on the character and personality of these places more than serves as an architectural rendering.
Halfway Station
Sadowski also experiments with nonrepresentational art. He begins this art process with hand selected wood for the stretchers he builds himself. His inspiration comes while stretching the canvas and priming the surfaces. These abstracts are formed from layers of paint that has been added and subtracted and carefully placed until he can proclaim the work complete.
Romanticism Interrupted
Whether realism or abstract, Sadowski's art reflects the lifelong experience of a seasoned artist with the enthusiasm of one who has just begun his pursuit to artistic expression. "Two Sides to Every Story" combines these two distinct styles in a unique show available to the public through April 20.
For more information about the artist, visit
To learn more about the show, contact the Center at 731-779-9000.

Tina Turner's Assistant Visits Brownsville

Rhonda Graam in front of Flagg Grove School.
We've had some exciting things going on at the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center this year. Among them is a very special visit by Tina Turner's assistant, Rhonda Graam. Rhonda spent a week with us hearing about the Center and the restoration efforts of Flagg Grove School. She met with local official and others involved in the project.

We also spent a few days touring Nutbush and Ripley and "tromping" around in cemeteries where Tina's ancestors are buried. (Did I mention it was the middle of January and COLD?) We had some great adventures and lots of fun.

This was Rhonda's first time to visit the area even though she has been with Tina since 1964. We were so glad to show her around and share our community with her.

One of the highlights was a visit with a couple of sisters who remembered going to school with Tina at Flagg Grove and Carver High School. It was amazing to sit around the kitchen table and hear these stories. The only thing missing was Tina. I could just imagine her sitting there engaged in the conversation; laughing and remembering all those crazy days of childhood. (Still can't believe I did not get a picture. I was so engrossed in their stories that I simply didn't think about snapping a picture.)

We're also appreciative to all those who changed their schedules and made time to talk with Rhonda. Since our visit, Rhonda has let us know that Tina is "thrilled with the information" that she gathered and with Rhonda's explorations while in Brownsville.

As we move forward with the Flagg Grove project, I hope that Rhonda will visit again and especially when we are ready to dedicate the school. In the meantime, we'll stay in touch and keep her posted of our progress.

Make a secure donation to the Flagg Grove School Project.

Billy King and Rhonda Graam exploring Browns Creek Cemetery. 

This picture is dark and grainy, but I hope you can tell that everyone enjoyed meeting Rhonda and lunch at Lilies. Pictured are (front row, from left) Vice Mayor, and one of Tina's best high school friends, Carolyn Flagg, Rhonda Graam and Sonia Outlaw-Clark; (back row, from left) D.A. Eaton, Billy King, Brownsville Mayor Jo Matherne and Joe and Pam Stephens.