Dr. Stuart Rockoff

The Lakeport Plantation will host Dr. Stuart Rockoff for its next Lakeport Legacies on September 19. Rockoff, director of the history department at the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life in Jackson, Mississippi, will present “A History of the Jews in the Delta.”

Refreshments will be available at 5:30 pm and the program will begin at 6 p.m. at Lakeport Plantation, located at 601 Highway 142 in Lake Village. This event is free, but due to limited seating, guests should RSVP by phone to 870.265.6031.

Many people are surprised when they learn that Jews have thrived in the Delta, “most southern place on earth.”  While Jews have always been a tiny minority of Arkansas and Mississippi’s population, they have forged communities and preserved their religious traditions for over 160 years.

Jews flocked to the Delta as it emerged as the leading cotton producing region in the country in the late nineteenth century. Jewish merchants and their families opened stores in most every Delta market town. They have worked to assimilate into the culture of the Delta, but at the same time, they sought to preserve their religious traditions and formed cohesive social and religious communities that brought this dispersed population together. While recent decades have seen a steep decline in the Delta’s Jewish population. Jews still pray and socialize together, keeping the light of Judaism shining in the Mississippi River Delta in the 21st century.

Lakeport Legacies is a monthly history talk held on the last Thursday (usually) at the Lakeport Plantation. Each month a topic from the Delta region is featured. The event is free and open to the public.

The Lakeport Plantation is an Arkansas State University Heritage Site. Constructed in 1859, it is Arkansas’s only remaining antebellum plantation home along the Mississippi River. The plantation was donated to Arkansas State University in 2001 by the Sam Epstein Angel family. After more than five years of restoration, the plantation opened as a museum and educational center in September 2007 and permanent exhibits were unveiled in September 2012.