About Dockery Farms Foundation

The mission of the Dockery Farms Foundation is to preserve the historic property and heritage of Dockery Farms and to develop these for educational purposes and the public interest in music, agriculture, and the history of the Mississippi Delta. The foundation seeks charitable contributions from individuals, government organizations, and other foundations. The Dockery Farms Foundation is a private operating foundation and a tax exempt entity within the meaning of Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and the Mississippi Nonprofit Corporation Act.

Dockery Farms is an excellent example of the Mississippi Delta plantation, an institution whose complex economic, racial, and cultural worlds nurtured the blues in uniquely powerful ways.  The beautifully restored buildings at Dockery recall an era in which blues artists performed in communities throughout the Mississippi Delta.

The Dockery Farms Foundation Advisory Council

Dr. William R. Ferris, Chair
T-Bone Burnett
Herbie Hancock
Quincy Jones
Thelonious Monk III
Hodding Carter III
Tom Rankin
Sam Haskell
Mary Donnelly Haskell

Dr. William R. Ferris, Chair

William R. Ferris is an author, folklorist, and scholar and former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is an associate director of the Center for the Study of the American South, and is widely recognized as a leader in Southern studies, African-American music and folklore.

Dr. Ferris has spoken, lectured and published extensively on the topic of the Delta Blues, and has even been inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame. His film Mississippi Blues was featured at Cannes and his book Blues from the Delta has been called a classic in the study of blues music. His most recent book, Give My Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues has been praised by BB King, Toni Morrison and T. Bone Burnett as an authentic look at a seminal movement in American history.

Dr. Ferris's other honors include the presidentially bestowed Charles Frankel Prize in the Humanities, the American Library Association's Dartmouth Medal, the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award, and France's Chevalier and Officer in the Order of Arts and Letters.

William R. Ferris is currently a professor of history at UNC–Chapel Hill and an adjunct professor in the Folklore Curriculum. Dr. Ferris taught at Yale University and at Jackson State University and the University of Mississippi. He has M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in folklore from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.A. in English literature from Northwestern University and a B.A. from Davidson College.

T-Bone Burnett

Joseph Henry Burnett is a musician, songwriter, and record producer who has produced more than 75 albums, including hit records for John Mellencamp, Los Lobos, Elton John, B.B. King and k.d. lang. He has written and produced songs for musically-oriented movies like O Brother, Where Art Thou and Walk the Line.

Mr. Burnett has been recognized with an Academy Award, 12 Grammy Awards and numerous others for his work as a producer and musician. He has played an important role in promoting the blues and was awarded the Best Traditional Blues Album Grammy in 2009 for his work on B.B. King’s One Kind Favor.

Herbie Hancock

Herbert Jeffrey Hancock is a pianist, bandleader, composer, and groundbreaking jazz musician. He has performed on more than 50 albums, alongside such notables as Miles Davis, Chick Corea, Paul Simon and Kanye West and won fourteen Grammys and numerous other awards in his long and prolific career.

Mr. Hancock has fused many contemporary music styles, from jazz to blues to rock to electronica and created his own unique sound. His best-known solo works include Cantaloupe Island, Watermelon Man, Maiden Voyage, Chameleon and the singles I Thought It Was You and Rockit. His 2007 tribute album: River: The Joni Letters won the 2008 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, only the second jazz album ever to win the award.

In 2011, Hancock was named UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the promotion of Intercultural Dialogue.

Quincy Jones

Quincy Jones, best known as an award-winning composer and producer, has also played the role of author, musician, conductor, arranger, and trumpeter in his long and creative career. He has often played the role of matchmaker, bringing together many African-American musical traditions and inventing new ones in the process.

Mr. Jones’ has won many prestigious awards including an Emmy for his score of the of the opening episode of the landmark TV miniseries, Roots, seven Oscar nominations, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, 27 Grammy Awards, and N.A.R.A.S.’ prestigious Trustees’ Award and The Grammy Living Legend Award. He is the all-time most nominated Grammy artist with a total of 79 Grammy nominations. In 1990, France recognized Mr. Jones with its most distinguished title, the Legion d’Honneur. He is also the recipient of the French Ministry of Culture’s Distinguished Arts and Letters Award. Mr. Jones is the recipient of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music’s coveted Polar Music Prize, and the Republic of Italy’s Rudolph Valentino Award and the recipient of honorary doctorates from Howard University, the Berklee College of Music, Seattle University, Wesleyan University, Brandeis University, Loyola University (New Orleans), Clark Atlanta University, Claremont University’s Graduate School, the University of Connecticut, Harvard University, Tuskeegee University, New York University, University of Miami and The American Film Institute. In 2001, Mr. Jones was named a Kennedy Center Honoree, for his contributions to the cultural fabric of the United States of America.

T.S. Monk

Thelonious S. Monk III is a jazz drummer, composer and bandleader and the son of the legendary musician and composer Thelonious Monk. He is the founder and chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute for Jazz, a nonprofit education organization that offers young musicians college-level training by internationally acclaimed jazz masters and jazz education programs for young people around the world.

Hodding Carter III

W. Hodding Carter III is a journalist and politician. He served as Assistant Secretary of State and State Department Spokesman under Jimmy Carter. A former Marine, Carter participated in and wrote about the civil rights movement in 1960s Mississippi and campaigned for Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter.

Since 1980, Mr. Carter has held various positions at ABC, BBC, CBC, CNN, NBC and PBS including anchor, commentator, panelist, and reporter. His work has regularly been published in the Wall Street Journal. Mr. Carter also served as the president of the Knight Foundation, a non-profit foundation promoting journalism in the US from 1997 to 2005. He is currently a Professor of Leadership and Public Policy at UNC–Chapel Hill.

Tom Rankin

Thomas S. Rankin is a photographer, filmmaker and folkorist who has been documenting and interpreting American culture for twenty years. He began photographing the landscapes and traditions of the Mississippi Delta in the late 1980s when he moved there to teach at Delta State University. He has published extensively on Southern culture, including such titles as Sacred Space: Photographs from the Mississippi Delta and Faulkner’s World: The Photographs of Martin J. Dain.

Dr. Rankin is an Associate Professor of the Practice of Art and Documentary Studies and Director of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.

Sam Haskell

Sam Haskell is the former Executive Vice President and Worldwide Head of Television for the venerable William Morris Agency. He was named, in 2007, as one of the 25 Most Innovative and Influential People in Television over the last quarter century by TV Week, and is the author of the memoir Promises I Made My Mother.

Prior to his retirement, Mr. Haskell represented Bill Cosby, Kathie Lee Gifford, Ray Romano, Whoopi Goldberg, Debbie Allen, Delta Burke, Dolly Parton, George Clooney and many other Hollywood luminaries.

Mr. Haskell was raised in Amory, MS, and spent 30 years in Los Angeles before relocating to Oxford, MS with his wife and children. He was an executive producer of Mississippi Rising, a three-hour MSNBC special hosted by Morgan Freeman which raised over $30 million for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. As chairman of the Mary Kirkpatrick Haskell Scholarship Foundation, founded in his mother’s memory, he has raised millions to help Mississippi students further their education.

Mary Donnelly Haskell

Mary Donnelly Haskell is a celebrated vocalist and actress with deep roots in Mississippi.  A former Miss Mississippi and competitor in the Miss America pageant, she maintained a successful film and television career. She has appeared in over 20 television movies and has had recurring guest starring roles on “Sisters,” “Touched by and Angel” and “7th Heaven.” One of Ms. Haskell’s films, “Twice Upon a Christmas” was chosen by First Lady Laura Bush to be screened at the White House.

Mary has recorded with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra and recently released an album of classic Holiday songs, called Just In Time for Christmas, which includes “Winter Wonderland,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “What Child is This?”