Catfish Row Museum hosting ‘Food for Thought,’ celebrating Vicksburg’s Diverse Foodways Story

Published 4:24 pm Friday, February 11, 2022

The Catfish Row Museum in Vicksburg has received a grant from the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area that will provide support in engaging with the community and building the museum’s relationship with the Delta and the culture of Mississippi. 

The purpose of the Food for Thought: Catfish Row Museum Lab and Pop-Up Exhibition is to continue phase one of the Catfish Row Museum’s opening, through a museum lab and pop-up exhibition space. 

Through grant funding, the museum will present Food for Thought, a series of hands-on workshops, curatorial events and programs centered around local foodways. Through public programs and workshops, the museum will develop content and collect artifacts for the Catfish Row Museum. In the museum’s lab space, visitors can scan, copy and donate documents, such as letters, recipes and historic photographs, as well as record oral history interviews. In the exhibition space, community members can observe and provide feedback on how their artifacts and stories will be used in exhibits. 

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletter

Receive daily headlines and obituaries

This programming will present rich stories of crossing barriers and borders, of lives intertwined with food, as food and place are linked through the diversity of income and ethnicity in the South. 

“Food connects us to our past. It connects us to each other. We are thankful to the MDNHA and excited to provide opportunities to highlight the Mississippi Delta’s culinary and cultural innovation and find in our traditions the answers to current crises created by unhealthy diets,” said Linda Fondren, Executive Director of Shape Up Mississippi and the Catfish Row Museum. 

The museum space will perpetuate culture, tell the stories of often-overlooked communities, offer a viable community space for special events and live music and build a network by forging a strong partnership with the city’s most valuable asset, its people. 

The programs and workshops, which will begin in late February and continue through May, will engage with the public on issues relating to race, place, ethnicity, history, music, foodways and the arts, all themes the museum aims to explore through its development and forthcoming exhibits. 

Food for Thought Program Schedule: 

All programs begin at 2 p.m. and will be at the Catfish Row Museum, 913 Washington St., in downtown Vicksburg. For more Food for Thought programs, workshops and lab hours, visit catfishrowmuseum.org. 

Saturday, Feb. 26: Margaret Walker: Food, Fellowship, and Forms of Activism — Robert Luckett, civil rights historian and director of a special collections archive with the Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University Register for free 

Saturday, March 5: Learning from Local Foods — Mary Beth Lasseter, interim co-director of Southern Foodways Alliance, on storytelling and food and the creation of the Vicksburg Farmers’ Market Register for free 

Saturday, March 26: Southern Jewish Food Cultures: A Conversation with Marcie Cohen Ferris and Lesley Silver — Marcie Ferris, Professor Emeritus and Foodways author from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Lesley Silver, owner of the Attic Gallery 

Saturday, April 2: Mississippi’s Black Farming Legacy — Ralph Eubanks, writer and essayist whose work focuses on race, identity, and the culture of the American South and Mississippi 

Saturday, April 23: Home Town Recipes: Race, Myth, and Cookbooks in 20th Century Vicksburg — Dr. Andrew Haley, Moorman Distinguished Professor in the Humanities 2019-21 and Associate Professor of American Cultural History from the University of Southern Mississippi 

Saturday, May 7: on documenting Delta Wok, a collaborative documentary project on Mississippi Delta Chinese — Talbot Easton Selby, associate dean in the Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts at Coastal Carolina University and professor of photography; Emily Jones, Delta State University archivist; and Gabriella Sang 

The mission of the Catfish Row Museum is to document and introduce, through material artifacts, oral history, public programming and the arts, a cultural heritage experience that showcases the unique and diverse aspects of Vicksburg and its relationship with the Delta. 

The Catfish Row Museum aims to provide educational opportunities that enhance, preserve and promote the social, cultural and historical experiences of this Southern city at the tip of the Mississippi Delta. 

To learn more about the Catfish Row Museum, visit catfishrowmuseum.org.