Mavis Staples to get honorary degree from Delta State

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Mavis Staples, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and a Grammy lifetime achievement award winner, will receive an honorary degree Saturday from Delta State University. | Getty file photo

CLEVELAND, Miss. (AP) — Delta State University will honor soul and gospel singer Mavis Staples with an honorary degree Saturday.

Staples is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and a Grammy lifetime achievement award winner.

The university will present diplomas to 350 graduates in morning and afternoon ceremonies on its Cleveland campus.

Addressing graduates will be Glen Jones, president of Henderson State University in Arkansas. In 2012, Jones became the first African-American to lead a historically white public college in Arkansas.

Staples was born in Chicago, but Delta State notes her early career was shaped by her father, who led the family Staple Singers. Her father was raised in Sunflower County and learned guitar from Mississippi bluesman Charley Patton. The Staple Singers were frequent performers for Civil Rights causes.

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