Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Journalism

First Advisor

Joseph B. Atkins

Second Advisor

Cynthia Joyce

Third Advisor

Vanessa Gregory

Relational Format



This thesis project is an in-depth personal exploration of the hot tamale in the Mississippi Delta, presented in a long-form magazine piece. It analyzes the cultural exchange that brought the hot tamale to the region in the early 20th century, its racial representation in the Delta, and its future as chefs across the nation seek to interpret the regional cuisine. Further, this thesis analyzes the hot tamale’s components that tell why and how the hot tamale became a staple, and the story of hardship and discrimination that it symbolizes. Traveling through my own past, this piece reflects the interactions that I had with hot tamales growing up, and the evolution of understanding that led me to learn about my homeland and the people that live there. Through personal interviews and scholarly texts, the research used to produce this project focuses on the Mississippi Delta’s past and present economy and cultural norms that affect the way of life for its citizens.


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