“If something happens and I need to speak, I just speak,” says Tennie S. Self, 89, of Clarksdale, Mississippi. That’s what Self has to say in a promo video for a new book featuring more than 50 “jewels” — Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom (Center Street) by photojournalist and author Alysia Burton Steele.
Steele, a photojournalist, isn’t Mississippi-born, but Mississippi is where she lives now: Oxford, to be exact, where she teaches in the journalism department at the University of Mississippi. Before that, she worked at newspapers across the country. At one of them, the Dallas Morning News, she earned a Pulitzer Prize as a picture editor for that paper’s team coverage of Hurricane Katrina.
The official launch of Delta Jewels will be at Square Books in Oxford on April 7th. But on this, the day before we remember the death of Martin Luther King Jr., take time to meet some remarkable women who survive. Their personal stories, thanks to Alysia Burton Steele, can be previewed here and here.