In 1979, Dr. James Herbert White’s book “Up from a Cotton Patch” was published.

As Mississippi Valley State University’s first president, White detailed in his book both his life and the history of the school he helmed from 1950 to 1972.  Valley was first known as Mississippi Vocational College and then Mississippi Valley State College before taking on its current name in 1974.

Now, Valley administration and faculty want to continue the story of the school’s history and influence by publishing a new book. “Up from a Cotton Patch — Revisited” is its working title.

The new book will pick up where the last one left off by giving the school a “fresh new look,” explained Dr. C. Sade Turnipseed, an assistant professor of history at Valley.

“This will be a reflection of its growth, its contribution to the Delta community and to all the people who came through Valley,” Turnipseed said.

“We would love to see the reflections on Valley on the ways in which it has contributed to the growth of the community, the evolution of Valley itself and also to hear the wonderful stories of people who come through here and what they have done with their education from Valley.”

Unlike the original book, the new one will be a compilation of essays, authored by current and past Valley faculty and students.

Turnipseed, a member of the book’s editorial board, said the board is also encouraging people from the surrounding community to contribute.

The editorial board will hold a “retrospective seminar” on the development of Valley on Sept. 27 in the Carver Randle Auditorium, located in the MVSU social sciences building. Turnipseed said the seminar will allow people to present papers, presentations or other materials pertaining to Valley’s development.

She encourages “anybody on any academic level — we don’t want to exclude anyone — that has reflections on Valley” to participate.

“It’s more like an open mic — that we will curate, of course,” Turnipseed said. “Anyone that is interested in participating, just send us a synopsis of what they would like to talk about.”

The deadline to propose ideas for the symposium is May 31. Some of the material presented  will be used for the new book.

The project started last summer, when the editorial board submitted the book’s proposal to University Press of Mississippi. Turnipseed said University Press  has expressed “a strong interest in publishing the book,” although it wouldn’t be until 2020.

MVSU’s president, Dr.  Jerryl Briggs, also has pushed the book, Turnipseed said.

“He wants people to understand the history of the Delta,” Turnipseed said. “This book is going to serve on two fronts. It will talk about the evolution of Valley, but it will also talk about where we are in the Delta overall.”

For more information, contact Turnipseed at 254-3025 or

•Contact Gerard Edic at 581-7239 or

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