Books That Inspire 2009

Delta Wedding
Eudora Welty

My elementary school would cancel classes so children could help their families pick cotton. Today, machinery works the fields. While the black soil, wide blue sky, and sweltering heat of the Delta remain, the rhythm of life there has changed forever-- except within the legacy of Welty’s pages, which were written without stereotype, agenda, or apology. Mark Twain recorded the cadence and diction of nineteenth-century life on the Mississippi River; Welty recorded the early decades of the twentieth century. Reading passages from her book, I think, "I know where that is," or, "That’s just what my grandmother used to say."

Deborah A. Chester
John Crain Presidential Professor
Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communications