Mississippi has some of the lowest performing schools in the nation, and many communities in the Delta remain highly segregated. At the Sunflower County Freedom Project, Class 22 learned about efforts to enrich literacy, build community, and draw upon Mississippi’s rich history of activism to create leaders ready to graduate high school, tackle college, and become agents of change.
Class 22 honored Fannie Lou Hamer at the site of her burial in Ruleville. A sharecropper with only a middle school education, Hamer lost her job and home when she tried to register to vote. But she was “sick and tired of being sick and tired,” and her witness helped to rouse a nation during the struggle for voting rights during Freedom Summer and beyond.
Ahavath Rayim may be a small congregation (15 members), but its spirit is mighty. Class 22 learned how Judaism remains vibrant in Greenwood, despite not having had a permanent Rabbi since the 1950s. We shared a meaningful Havdallah service with them to mark the end of Shabbat.
An abandoned building covered in vines is all that remains of Bryant’s Grocery, the store where 14-year-old Emmett Till purportedly flirted with a white woman in 1954. Till was kidnapped, brutalized, and murdered by the woman’s husband and his half-brother. The murder and trial that followed (during which the killers were acquitted) politicized many of the emerging activists who would go on to become the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement.