On January 14, 2022, as part of our annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Advanced STEM Winter Program, the Global Teaching Project hosted a virtual speaking event with Ms. Velma Benson Wilson, Quitman County’s inaugural Economic & Tourism Director. Each year, our Winter Program seeks to affirm the nexus between Civil Rights and educational opportunity; in learning from leaders like Ms. Wilson, our hope is that students will be encouraged to build upon the work of past generations. Well over 100 participants joined the Zoom event. A recording of our program is here.
Bayli Barnes, a student at Madison S. Palmer High School in Quitman County, introduced Ms. Wilson, who has been instrumental in leading efforts to educate students about Civil Rights history and commemorate the Marks Mule Train.
Ms. Wilson’s presentation highlighted key moments in the Civil Rights grassroots’ movement in Quitman County, including the Mark’s Mule Train and the Poor People’s Campaign history.
Using photos and maps, Ms. Wilson walked the students through 11 different markers where activities for the Mule Train to Washington, D.C. occurred, and discussed the efforts undertaken to have these sites commemorated and memorialized.
Ms. Wilson concluded her remarks by noting that “if you want to do something positive, knowledge is power; knowledge can give you direction to chart your course…your education is paramount.”
Ms. Wilson continues to do her part to educate others about the ongoing Civil Rights movement and sees signs of hope for the continued uplift of Quitman County and the Mississippi Delta.
We are grateful to Ms. Wilson, and proud of our students for working hard and taking on the challenge of rigorous courses to prepare them for future leadership in their communities one day.