GREENWOOD, MISSISSIPPI -- Authors and blues musicians coordinated by Myrna Collie-Lee (Mrs. Morgan Freeman) raised more than $15,000 for Katrina victims and deserving students during the first annual Books 'n Blues festival and silent auction in the Mississippi Delta on Oct. 1.
Hosted by the Viking Range Corporation at their Greenwood headquarters, Books 'n Blues began as a benefit for Communities in Schools which serves approximately 2,500 court-involved students ages 12 to 17 through artist residency and arts education programs for schools, after-school programs and Adolescent Offender Programs.
Following the Katrina devastation, Books 'n Blues dedicated half of the evening's proceeds and expanded its focus to include:
Books 'n Blues also prompted author Clyde Ford to start a parallel effort, "A Writer's Day of Action", which, Ford said, also helped inspire the American Bookseller's Association Special Fundraising Effort. Both the ABA and Ford's effort coincided with the Oct. 1 Books 'n Blues event.
Books 'n Blues is the brainchild of Greenwood native and New York Times best-selling author Lewis Perdue who wanted to use his donation in an entrepreneurial way to create an ongoing organization, modeled after Sonoma wine country charity events, that continue to benefit schools year after year.