We knew somewhat vaguely about a project being done by Alysia Steele, who teaches in the Meek Journalism School here at the University of Mississippi, a book of photographs of older African American women from the Delta, to be published by Center Street, a division of Hachette Books.
But nothing could have prepared us for the book we took out of a box this morning -- a splendid and moving portrait, with beautiful photographs, of these wonderful women, accompanied by brief interviews that reveal remarkable life stories.
The book was inspired by Alysia Steele's memory of her black grandmother (her other one is white) who died in 1994. In the process of discovering these women, as Alysia says, she now has "more than fifty grandmothers." If you want to see a book that thoughtfully and lovingly celebrates women, Mississippians, or humanity, please come take a look at Delta Jewels.
Alysia Steele will talk about and sign copies of Delta Jewels (and we believe a couple of the women from the book will be with her) Tuesday at 5 p.m., April 7, at Off Square Books.