There are three universities in the Arkansas Delta Region: Arkansas State University, the Universities of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Monticello. Each year, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff holds its Delta Classic for Literacy in which they capitalize upon the history of the Delta region to draw entertainers for fundraising events. UAPB then donates the money raised to help literacy advocacy groups across Arkansas and the Delta region.
Arkansas State University is undergoing a similar project that endevours to restore the Cash legacy and beginnings in the Delta area. ASU purchased country legend Johnny Cash’s boyhood home in Dyess with plans to restore it and build a Johnny Cash Museum. Take a look at the home photographed in 2009. Scroll down to get to the photo and then take a look at the photograph of the man who owned the house when the photograph was taken.
ASU has scheduled the first Johnny Cash Music Festival on August 4 at the school’s Convocation Center. Roseanne Cash,John Carter and Laura Cash, Tommy Cash, George Jones, Kris Kristofferson, Dailey & Vincent, Gary Morris, Rodney Crowell, and Chelsea Crowell are all scheduled for the night’s event.
Funds raised from the Johnny Cash Musical Festival project will build a Johnny Cash museum. ASU says the Cash family is working with the university to make the Johnny Cash Music Festival an annual event. The proceeds would help with the museum.
Cash was young, but old enough to remember when he moved from Kingsland to the house in federally funded Dyess Colony with five other families recruited from Cleveland County. He documents the move to the house in his autobiography, Cash: The Autobiography. In the book, Cash wrote that his father carried him on his back to the house because the road was thick mud. When they got to the house, a living room, kitchen, two bedrooms and a front and back porch were luxuries untold for Cash. There was no electricity, an outhouse and nor was there running water. Cash wrote that he couldn’t dream of luxuries like that.
The Cash house is one of the few houses remaining in the agricultural resettlement colony. Cash graduated from Dyess High School and the rest is history.
Other country singers from the Delta region include Conway Twitty, Buddy Jewell, Jim Ed Brown, The Browns, and Charlie Rich. The list of R&B and blues singers from the Delta region is almost inexhaustible. Record producer and singer/songwriter Ne-Yo is also a Delta musician whose hometown is Camden.
For more information on the Johnny Cash Music Festival on the ASU campus in August call ASU: Gina Bowman ([email protected]), at (870) 972-2250, or contact ASU’s director of University Communications, Sara McNeil ([email protected]), at (870) 972-3633.
To help sponsor the event contact: Christy Valentine ([email protected]), executive director, University Communications, at (870) 972-3056.