Since the release of Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom in April 2015, author Alysia Burton Steele ’97 has been on a whirlwind book tour of churches, nonprofit organizations, book fairs, colleges, and high schools across the country. Recently, she spoke at the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum with Reena Evers-Everette, daughter of slain civil rights activist Medgar Evers. “Talking at the Smithsonian was a childhood dream,” she said.
Inspired by memories of her grandmother, Delta Jewels is a collection of portraits and oral histories of 54 African American grandmothers in the Mississippi Delta. Alysia wrote, “They are ordinary women, like Gram, who have lived extraordinary lives under the harshest conditions of the Jim Crow era and were on the front lines of the Civil Rights movement.” Delta Jewels has been featured by the New York Times, National Public Radio, NBC.com, USA Today, and the Chicago Sun-Times. In addition, Alysia is a recipient of the Mississippi Humanities Council’s Preserver of Mississippi Culture award and the National Black Public Relations Society of Washington, DC’s Ofield Dukes Educator of the Year Award.
Author Alysia Burton Steele
An assistant professor at the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media, Alysia worked for 12 years as a photojournalist and was part of the Dallas Morning News photography team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2006 for its coverage of Hurricane Katrina. She also received the James Gordon Understanding Award for photographic excellence for her documentary work in Africa. Learn more on