Julian Rankin is the recipient of the Southern Foodways Alliance's first annual residency at Rivendell Writers Colony and is the director of the Center for Art & Public Exchange at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson.
9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.
State Capitol Building, House Committee Room 6
Beating the Odds: Inspirational Stories of Community Heroes
10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
Barnes & Noble Bookselling Tent
Catfish Dream: Ed Scott's Fight for His Family Farm and Racial Justice in the Mississippi Delta
A portrait of an African American family's life in the Delta
Catfish Dream centers around the experiences, family, and struggles of Ed Scott Jr. (born in 1922), a prolific farmer in the Mississippi Delta and the first ever nonwhite owner and operator of a catfish plant in the nation.
Both directly and indirectly, the economic and political realities of food and subsistence affect the everyday lives of Delta farmers and the people there. Ed's own father, Edward Sr., was a former sharecropper turned landowner who was one of the first black men to grow rice in the state. Ed carries this mantle forth with his soybean and rice farming and later with his catfish operation, which fed the black community both physically and symbolically. He provides an example for economic mobility and activism in a region of the country that is one of the nation's poorest and has one of the most drastic disparities in education and opportunity, a situation especially true for the Delta's vast African American population. With Catfish Dream Julian Rankin provides a fascinating portrait of a place through his intimate biography of Scott, a hero at once so typical and so exceptional in his community.
Book-loving volunteers are essential to the Louisiana Book Festival's success. Whether it's escorting authors, guiding visitors, selling refreshments, working with children in the Young Readers Pavilion or other fun and rewarding assignments, the Louisiana Book Festival wants you to join the volunteer team.