Many people are acquainted with the Mississippi Delta as the home of the blues. Others may know a darker side of the Delta, as an epicenter of racial injustice, epitomized by the tragic murder of Emmett Till which helped inspire the modern civil rights movement. And some will also recognize that the Mississippi Delta remains one of the most impoverished areas in the country, with a major share of that misery visited upon its African-American population.
Many people are also familiar with the work of Habitat for Humanity, the non-profit organization that seeks to bring affordable, decent housing to people in need around the world. Prospective homeowners and Habitat volunteers work side by side under the guidance of skilled specialists. By bringing volunteers and local homeowners together in this effort, Habitat has managed in remarkable ways to break down some of the racial and class divides that continue to bedevil not just the Delta but the entire country.