William (Bill) Ferris

Dr. William R. Ferris, a widely recognized leader in southern studies, African American music and folklore, is professor of history and folklore, and senior associate director of the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ferris, former chairman of the National Endowment of the Humanities, has written or edited 10 books and created 15 documentary films.

He co-edited the massive "Encyclopedia of Southern Culture" (UNC Press,1989), which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. His other books include: "Ray Lum's Tales of Horses, Mules and Men" (1992), "Local Color" (1982, 1992), "Images of the South: Visits with Eudora Welty and Walker Evans" (1978), "Mississippi Black Folklore: A Research Bibliography and Discography" (1971) and "Blues from the Delta" (1970,1978, 1988).

His films include "Mississippi Blues" (1983), which was featured at the Cannes Film Festival. A nationally acclaimed expert on blues music, Ferris has produced numerous sound recordings. He hosted a weekly blues program on Mississippi Public Radio for nearly a decade. He also has published his own poetry and short stories.

Interview with Bill Ferris (University of North Carolina Press, 2009)