Civil rights activist influences young voters in a unique way

Civil Rights activist Flonzie Brown-Wright has now started a campaign by going to different high schools in the area giving away 81 books to high school students for her 81st. birthday
Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 9:10 PM CDT
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CANTON, Miss. (WLBT) - On National Voter Registration Day, a Mississippi civil rights icon and trailblazer for equal voting rights is celebrating her 81st birthday.

Instead of a party or being showered with gifts, she is giving back in a special way - encouraging high school students to register to vote

To celebrate, the civil rights icon Flonzie Brown-Wright decided to start a campaign where she traveled to high schools in the area giving away 81 books to students.

“So, as I began to think about giving, I was saying, ‘What can I give?’ Then I remembered my book,” she said.

Brown-Wright says after witnessing parts of the country banning books about African American history, she felt compelled to offer her book “Looking Back to Move Ahead” to thriving students.

The goal is to encourage them to register so they’re ready to vote when they turn 18.

“This is not just a Black thing,” she said. “And I think those of us who have been able to achieve certain things in life because of the struggles of our ancestors. We have to treasure it, we have to tell it, and we have to preserve it.”

Wright was the first Black woman to be elected in Mississippi in 1968 as the Election Commissioner in Canton.

She now hopes to pour knowledge and motivation into the young people in her state. Many students we spoke with say the book is inspiring.

“It inspired me to always stand up for what’s right and never let anyone tell you what to do or what you can’t do and stand up for what you believe in,” Jefferson Augustine said.

“I felt honored to be able to learn a part of civil rights history from a person that actually went through it and felt the pains and ups and downs from it,” Katelyn Flint said.

The funding for this was made possible through donations from local and national organizations. Because of that, instead of giving away 81 books, she was able to give more than 300 books to students all over the metro.

Anyone who would like to donate to this cause or purchase a book, click here.

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