Crossing Divides: Beloit Students Tackle Mississippi’s Education Gap

Beloit Tutoring Center in Mississippi (BTCM) took a bold step to break the cycle of ignorance.

An image of Doris Roy, a twelve-year-old Black child, with accompanying caption with quotes from tutor Jim Jones. “Doris Roy is a twelve-year-old peer,” said Tutor Jim Jones. Doris is kind, gentle, quiet, and sure of herself. She began white school this fall determined not to, “take any crap from those white kids.” She is interested in continuing her schooling and may the chance to continue, since her mother is Amzie Moore's “woman.”Amidst the 1960s racial tensions in the South, Beloit College students embarked on a groundbreaking mission: Beloit Tutoring Center in Mississippi (BTCM).

Fueled by the belief that education could “break the cycle” of ignorance, Drex Godfrey, a 20-year-old Beloit student gathered 25 like-minded students. With Rev. Clark’s support and a $1500 starting budget, they traversed geographical and racial boundaries to empower Cleveland’s Black Community. 

Days were spent preparing the library and evenings were filled with teaching the children from the white school and taking them back home from the tutoring center. Beyond fostering a burning desire to work for the betterment of the Black community through education, the tutors gained an insight into the social and political structure. “My experience was useful in that it gave me great insight into the workings of our country, state and federal governments, especially the way the government works Mississippi style.” reflects Micheal Dennis Young, a member of the BTCM.

Even after several years, the BTCM project stands as a powerful testament to the transformative power of education and the courage to shatter chains of inequality.

By: Abhas Oli'26
February 19, 2024

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