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Studies in Culture, People, and Place
series editor JOHN T. EDGE

6 X 9 | 160 PP. | 33 B&W IMAGES

Julian Rankin is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the recipient of the Southern Foodways Alliance’s first annual residency at Rivendell Writers Colony and is the director of the Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs, MS.

Catfish Dream is a significant resource on the history of race in the Mississippi Delta. Julian Rankin eloquently describes how Ed Scott courageously struggles with the bureaucracy of racism, only to discover that the system is embedded in our society at both the local and the national levels. Most important, Rankin shows how Scott and his family resisted and ultimately defeated that system.”

—William Ferris
author of The South in Color: A Visual Journey

“For anyone who has bought into the notion that somehow the playing field has been thoroughly leveled since the dawn of the Civil Rights era, this ought to be required reading. It ought to be required reading for everyone else too.”

— Steve Yarbrough
author of The Unmade World

Mr. Ed Scott is a hero our country needs to learn about, and this portrait of him is strong and beautifully written. His situation and his fate are central to the American experiment. I cannot recommend Mr. Rankin’s storytelling too highly. It is a powerful thing. We owe him a debt.”

— Randall Kenan
author of The Fire This Time

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Stories like Ed Scott’s are not only Mississippi and southern tales, but American ones.


Their characters contend with both human and nature, from the prejudice of their neighbors and the collateral consequences of political ambitions to failing infrastructure and the wrath of the drought and flood. When most of his peers farmed 40-, 80-, or 120-acre plots, Scott farmed thousands. He had the entrepreneurial savvy of a railroad baron. To borrow from a well-known contemporary poet, put Scott anywhere on God’s green earth and he’d triple his worth. His accomplishments flowed out to and benefitted others, primarily the surrounding Delta communities of black farmers and families. In its totality, Scott’s life serves up questions about who we ought to be—as a collective nation in service to our diversity of citizens, and as citizens striving for our perfect parcel of the American dream.


I knew Ed Scott for only a short time. I do not know his every secret. But when he unfurled his story before me, it had his soul in it. I met Scott in his dwindling sunset. I followed him backward through time. Layers of the man, the soldier, the boy. Not just old. Not only young. Scott the ageless—a man for all ages. A man who should be remembered.

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