Much of the Mississippi Delta lacks access to resources and struggles with bitter poverty. The long-range goal of The University of Mississippi-Mound Bayou collaboration is development and refinement of shared work in which Mound Bayou serves as an incubator for translating research for multidisciplinary/interdisciplinary application in other Missis-sippi Delta communities.
The partnership was initiated in April 2011 in an effort to support the City of Mound Bayou in their plans for restoration, renovation, and re-use of the historic Taborian Hospital. Mayor Kennedy V. Johnson identified the two priorities of the community as 1) saving the remaining historic buildings and preserving the proud historic legacy of the city and 2) economic development.
The University of Mississippi takes a multifaceted approach to understanding and building healthy communities and this includes economic development, education, psychosocial development, and healthy lifestyle. All of these factors contribute to healthy communities and a condition of self-empowerment.
Because Mound Bayou’s founding was predicated on establishing the political and civil rights the members had been denied in society, it is possible that the unique experience of this community’s history is one reason why its government has played such a critical role in the provision and securing of services.
The collaboration’s work will be accomplished through the examination of current promising practices and exploration and implementation of action research. An interdisciplinary approach provides opportunity for greater depth and breadth of knowledge discovery through a systems approach to community planning and development.
Current research supports an overarching empowerment framework for community practice, based on research from social work, community psychology, political science, management, education, women’s studies, and health studies. Linking multiple service learning courses, and professions or disciplines, to a single continuing project offers potential. The process advances student learning, and in particular, the critical thinking skills needed by students to understand complex issues and be able to carry out their civic engagement responsibilities. The process is also a means of collaborating with communities as an asset, supporting the already self-empowered community of Mound Bayou. We hope to translate that process of asset relationship with Mound Bayou to the ability to collaborate with other communities in the Delta in their own processes of self-help and empowerment, and resulting in healthy communities able to meet the economic, education, psychosocial development, and healthy lifestyle needs of their citizenry. This is particularly relevant to an interdisciplinary working group approach as a means of fulfilling The University of Mississippi’s and the School of Applied Sciences’ missions of enhancing the well being of the state, region, and world.
We have completed a number of projects with the Mound Bayou community.
We traveled to Mound Bayou again on Saturday to meet with a group of youth and adult sponsors to do the first planning meeting for the upcoming Mound Bayou Youth Summit in June. Some of these youth attended the Historic Preservation Workshop in October. The Youth Summit is a way of involving youth as participating stakeholders in the community, in terms of civic pride, community development, and engaged participation in the future of the community. It was an incredible day!Read more
UM Social Work Faculty, Students Assisting Historic Preservation Project in Mound Bayou. Oxford MS - A team of University of Mississippi social work faculty and students is assisting the city of Mound Bayou efforts to preserve its historic buildings and history and to spur economic development.