The Dockery Farms Foundation Advisory Council
Dr. William R. Ferris, Chair
Hodding Carter III
Mary Donnelly Haskell
Thelonious Monk III
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.
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.
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.
One of the country’s pre-eminent singer/songwriters, Rosanne Cash has released 15 albums of extraordinary songs that have earned four GRAMMY® Awards and nominations for 11 more, as well as 21 top-40 hits, including 11 No. 1 singles. She is also an author whose four books include the best-selling memoir Composed, which the Chicago Tribune called “one of the best accounts of an American life you’ll likely ever read.” Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, the Oxford-American, the Nation and many more print and online publications. In addition to continual touring, Cash has partnered in programming collaborations with the Minnesota Orchestra, Lincoln Center and San Francisco Jazz. She completed a residency at the Library of Congress in December 2013.
She was awarded the SAG/AFTRA Lifetime Achievement award for Sound Recordings in 2012 and received the 2014 Smithsonian Ingenuity Award in the Performing Arts. She was chosen as a Perspective Series artist at Carnegie Hall and will host four concerts (including a major show of her own in February) during their 2015/16 season. She served as 2015 Artist-in-Residence at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. She performed three concerts there this past fall. On October 1, 2015 she was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters’ Hall of Fame.
Cash’s landmark 2009 album, “The List,” won the Americana Music Album of the Year award. In her latest release, “The River and the Thread,” a collaboration with husband/co-writer/producer and arranger John Leventhal, Cash evokes a kaleidoscopic examination of the geographic, emotional, musical and historic landscape of the American South. The album has received impressive worldwide acclaim and attained the highest debut in the Billboard charts of any of her previous albums. It received 3 GRAMMY Awards.
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.
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.
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.
John Leventhal is a GRAMMY® Award-winning musician, producer, songwriter, and recording engineer who has produced albums for Rosanne Cash, Michelle Branch, Shawn Colvin, Joan Osborne, Marc Cohn, Rodney Crowell and William Bell. As a musician he has worked with all of the above as well as artists such as Elvis Costello, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Jackson Browne, Emmylou Harris, Bruce Hornsby, and Charlie Haden. As a songwriter he has had over 100 songs recorded by various artists. In 1998 he won the GRAMMY for Record and Song Of The Year for producing and co-writing the song “Sunny Came Home.” Last year (2015 he was awarded 2 more Grammies for his work as songwriter and producer of Rosanne Cash’s The River and The Thread. He lives with his wife Rosanne Cash and their family in New York City.
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?”