Just over fifty years ago, volunteers from across the country helped open Freedom Schools in Mississippi. These leaders believed that Mississippi’s African American students were brilliant—but that brilliance needed to be set free.
Today, still too few believe in Mississippi. In particular, still too few notice the structural obstacles blocking the opportunities available to our state’s African American students.
The old story says that Mississippi is a state of scattered brilliance—that the William Faulkners and B.B. Kings and Fanie Lou Hamers rose above the mediocrity that typifies this place. But we know that all of Mississippi’s students, of all races and all economic backgrounds, possess the capacity for brilliance. To set loose that capacity, Mississippians need to come together, creating strong public schools that celebrate students’ culture and equip them to lead.
Teach For America brings remarkable people to help Mississippi deliver on the promise of equal opportunity for all students—with an increasing emphasis on recruiting native Mississippians with a long-term commitment to this state. Our teachers invest in their local communities and push themselves to lead rigorous and culturally responsive classroom—and find as a result that their hearts are tied to the brilliant students of Mississippi.