Give my Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues

Photograph by Dan Sears.

Give my Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues

GREENVILLE, Miss–The Greenville Arts Council announces the opening of their sixth exhibit of the 2012 year in the Roger D. Malkin Gallery. Give my Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues will open on September 14 and will remain up until October 26, 2012. This exhibit is sponsored by Beard+Riser Architects
in Greenwood, MS. The exhibit was created by the Mississippi Museum of Art and is offered to affiliates of the museum throughout the state. The Roger D. Malkin Gallery is open from 10 AM-4 PM Monday through Friday
and by appointment on Saturday and is free of charge.

Give my Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues features of the work of William R. Ferris. William R. Ferris, a widely recognized leader in Southern studies, African American music and folklore, is the Joel R. Williamson Eminent Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the senior associate director of its Center for the Study of the American South. He is also adjunct professor in the curriculum on folklore.

The former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Ferris has conducted thousands of interviews with musicians ranging from the famous (B.B. King) to the unrecognized (Parchman Penitentiary inmates working in the fields). He has written or edited 10 books and created 15 documentary films. He co-
edited the massive “Encyclopedia of Southern Culture” (UNC Press, 1989), which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. His other books include: “Mule Trader: Ray Lum’s Tales of Horses, Mules and Men” (1992), “Local
Color” (1982, 1992), “Images of the South: Visits with Eudora Welty and Walker Evans” (1978), “Mississippi Black Folklore: A Research Bibliography and Discography” (1971) and “Blues from the Delta” (1970, 1978, 1988). Bill Ferris’ films include “Mississippi Blues” (1983), which was featured at the Cannes Film Festival. He has produced numerous sound recordings and hosted “Highway 61,” a weekly blues program on Mississippi Public Radio for nearly a decade. He also has published his own poetry and short stories.

A native of Vicksburg, Miss., Ferris was the founding director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, where he taught for 18 years. He also taught at Yale University and Jackson State University. A graduate of Davidson College, he received a Ph.D. in folklore from the University of Pennsylvania (1969). He has won many prestigious honors, including the Charles Frankel Prize in the Humanities, the American Library Association’s Dartmouth Medal, the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award, and the
W.C. Handy Blues Award. In 1991, Rolling Stone magazine named him among the Top Ten Professors in the United States. He is a Fellow of the American Folklore Society.

At Carolina, Ferris has been teaching classes on the history of music in the American South and its impact on the region’s history and culture. His students have explored Native American songs, Appalachian folk ballads and Afro-American hymns, spirituals and work chants, and considered a range of forms including blues, country music, gospel, jazz, rock, and rap.

The opening reception will be held during Blues Week on September 14, 2012 from 5:00 PM-7:00 PM and is free and open to the public. For more information about the exhibit or the gallery contact the Greenville Arts
Council at 662-332-2246.

For more information about the 2012 gallery schedule visit the Greenville Arts Council website at

Leave a Reply