Spring Break Pro Bono Trips

Each Spring Break, the Mississippi Delta Project partners with Delta Directions and Harvard Law School to send students (some who are involved with the Mississippi Delta Project and some who are not) to Mississippi to work on various law and policy projects. See below for more information on some of the recent trips.

2016: The Mississippi Delta Project worked with the Crossroads Cultural Arts Center in Clarksdale, a new community arts center that aims to empower young musicians and artists, many of whom are being exploited and are failing to monetize their art. The team conducted legal research and informational interviews with music label heads, radio producers, music professors, local musicians, and high school students to learn about the challenges facing young artists and the cultural and industry norms in the Delta. The team then presented a comprehensive strategic plan to the CCAC board on how the center could become a financially sustainable, educational hub for young artists.

When team members arrived in Clarksdale, flooding had displaced more than 200 families and the city was struggling for how to distribute resources. After meeting with the mayor, the team did research and interviews across Clarksdale and presented him with a ten-page donation management plan. Before the team left Mississippi, the mayor had already implemented several of its recommendations.

2013: Partnering with the Ole Miss Transactional Law Clinic and Delta Directions, the Mississippi Delta Project conducted a fact-finding trip in the Delta during Spring Break. The team surveyed low-income residents in Clarksdale in order to assess the community’s access to healthy food and to identify opportunities for increasing access to healthy food in the region. After establishing which issues community members found most important, students researched policy initiatives designed to address these issues. The Mississippi Delta Project and its partners in Mississippi will use this research to plan new projects and next steps.

2012: During spring break in 2012, the Mississippi Delta Project worked with local partners to host a workshop and draft a guide on estate planning and how to gain clear title to land for small farmers. Generations of small landowners in Mississippi have lacked the resources to draft wills and otherwise prepare for estate succession. As a result, current small farmers often lack clear title to their own property, leaving them unable to access a variety of federal programs, including those designed to provide disaster relief and to serve small and underserved farmers.