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FSB-Belzoni_sliderA veteran of the Civil Rights Movement and founder of the Freedom School in Belzoni will be the featured speaker at a free program that will also feature presentations on the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum now under construction in Jackson and the collections of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Freedom Summer and Beyond: Belzoni will begin at 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 31, at the O.M. McNair Elementary School Multipurpose Room.

Bessie Ree Moore Thurman was a longtime member and assistant secretary of the Humphreys County chapter of the NAACP. She helped organize a boycott of white-owned businesses in the 1960s and played a leading role in the creation of the Freedom School in Belzoni in 1964. During that time Mrs. Thurman organized a clothes pantry for the needy that is still in operation. She remains an advocate for civil rights, speaking at local churches and gatherings.  

In addition to the address by Mrs. Thurman and the presentations by MDAH, there will be a performance by local school choir Youth with Vision and a tour of the Humphreys County Cultural Museum. Former Belzoni mayor Wardell Walton will be the master of ceremonies, the honorable Lenora Holmes Sutton, mayor of Belzoni, and Humphreys County circuit clerk Mrs. Timaka Jones will welcome attendees, and the Reverend Morris Allen will offer an invocation.

Freedom Summer and Beyond: Belzoni is made possible through a partnership between the Humphreys County chapter of the NAACP, the Humphreys County Cultural Museum, MDAH, and the Mississippi Humanities Council. Contact Eula Davis of the Humphreys County Cultural Museum at 662-836-8771 for more information. The O.M. McNair Elementary School is located at 901 Church Street in Belzoni.

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