This Month’s Book Made History

Learning and education are integral parts of the Alluvial Collective’s mission. What better way to educate ourselves than via a good read? With that in mind, we launched a monthly book giveaway recommending books that inspire us to discuss and reflect.

This month’s book is March: Book One by written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell.

Click here to enter by April 24.

About the Book:

A graphic novel trilogy, March is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis’ lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis’ personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement. It is the first comics work ever to win the National Book Award.

This Month’s Book is a Must Read for Southern Studies Scholars

Learning and education are integral parts of the Alluvial Collective’s mission. What better way to educate ourselves than via a good read? With that in mind, we launched a monthly book giveaway recommending books that inspire us to discuss and reflect.

This month’s book is “Just Trying to Have School: The Struggle for Desegregation in Mississippi” by Natalie G. Adams and James H. Adams.

Click here to enter by January 23.

From the Publisher:

Based on meticulous archival research and oral history interviews with over one hundred parents, teachers, students, principals, superintendents, community leaders, and school board members, Natalie G. Adams and James H. Adams explore the arduous and complex task of implementing school desegregation. How were bus routes determined? Who lost their position as principal? Who was assigned to what classes?

Without losing sight of the important macro forces in precipitating social change, the authors shift attention to how the daily work of “just trying to have school” helped shape the contours of school desegregation in communities still living with the decisions made fifty years ago.

This Month’s Book Explores the Civil Rights Movement in New Ways

Learning and education are integral parts of the Alluvial Collective’s mission. What better way to educate ourselves than via a good read? With that in mind, we launched a monthly book giveaway recommending books that inspire us to discuss and reflect.

This month’s book is “The Movement Made Us” by David Dennis, Jr., and David Dennis, Sr.

Click here to enter by December 19.

From the Publisher:

A dynamic family exchange that pivots between the voices of a father and son, “The Movement Made Us” is a unique work of oral history and memoir, chronicling the extraordinary story of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and its living legacy embodied in Black Lives Matter. David Dennis, Sr., a core architect of the movement, speaks out for the first time, swapping recollections both harrowing and joyful with David, Jr., a journalist working on the front lines of change today.

Panel Discussion: “The Power of Youth Voices” on October 28

Given the importance of youth engagement to the Winter Institute’s work, our Youth Engagement Manager Von Gordon is the perfect moderator to this panel for Operation Shoestring’s virtual version of their annual Conversation About Community.

Watch live on Facebook!

The Power of Youth Voices
October 28, 12pm

More than half a century ago, the Civil Rights Movement created Operation Shoestring, and its principles continue to inform our work. Now, with Black Lives Matter, how are young people affected by or shaping history, and what are they teaching us?

Watch LIVE on Operation Shoestring’s Facebook

Von Gordon Moderates Mississippi Alliance panel on Black Male Leadership

Executive Director Roundtable
Focus on Black Male Leadership

Moderated by Von Gordon
William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation


Ki Harris
Freedom Project Network

Ira Murray
United Way of the Capital Area

Richmond Vincent
Goodwill of South Mississippi

Wednesday, October 28
10:00 – 11:30 am

Register Here

We are living in a time when new voices need to reach leadership roles, particularly from communities that have long been marginalized, and fight against systemic racism.

While some growth has been made in recent years, it is not enough. Join us as we examine what barriers to success still exist, what pitfalls to avoid, and what keeps these amazing individuals fighting and succeeding in the face of systemic barriers (on top of those that face any Executive Director).

Introducing the Winter Institute Monthly Book Giveaway!

Caste book cover

Education is an integral part of the Winter Institute’s mission. What better way to educate ourselves than via a good read?

With that in mind, we’re launching a monthly book give away recommending books we’re reading and reflecting on.

This month’s book is “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,” by award winning author Isabel Wilkerson.

Click here to enter by October 15.

From the Publisher:

In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.

Only one winner will be announced each month, so check back often!

National Voter Registration Day 2020

In honor of National Voter Registration Day, we share these thoughts on civic responsibility written by Governor Winter in 2003. They feel as relevant as ever. 

“The most important office is that of citizen. It is the office that transmits all political authority.

Only through the collective judgement of private citizens, acting through their elected agents, are the public decisions made that affect the ultimate quality of our lives. Unfortunately too few of us take that office of citizen seriously enough. Too few of us choose to exercise the power that goes with that office. Too many of us do not bother to vote or to participate in the process of deciding vital public policy—of what kind of schools we shall have, of the quality of the environment in which we live, or the future of our most treasured institutions.

Therein lies the potential for our greatest peril… The gravest danger may lie in letting ourselves be overwhelmed by fear or suspicion or apathy or cynicism; by putting our petty self-serving personal interests ahead of community building; by making the question, “What’s in it for me?” our principal concern; in short by forgetting about that contract that we have with each other. 

…If we have become a society riven by race and class where the gap between the rich and poor continues to widen, we shall pay a huge penalty in the quality of our lives and the stability of our country in the future. 

A democratic society cannot leave these problems to be solved by blind chance or individual impulse. We must work at it together. We must have a shared vision that recognizes our mutual obligation. It is a vision that must be transmitted to others. 

All of us must work at helping to create more knowledgeable and informed public opinion that will be able to stand up to the demagogues and the political hucksters… That is how you pay your dues for the privilege… of living in a free society.”

Citation: The Measure of Our Days: Writings of William F. Winter, edited by Dr. Andrew P. Mullins, Jr. (pp. 89-90) 

Election Day is Tuesday, November 3rd. Here’s what you can do to prepare starting now: 

Register or Update your Registration

If you are in Mississippi, fill out this form and mail it to your county circuit clerk’s office by October 5th. If you need to update your address or other information, you can do so through the Secretary of State’s Y’all Vote website

If you live outside of Mississippi, check your state’s registration procedures online here

Check your ID

Mississippi requires voters to present a valid photo ID at the polls. Visit the Secretary of State’s Voter ID website to make sure your ID will be accepted, or apply for a voter ID card if you do not have one. 

Find your Polling Location

Where you vote can change from election to election. Look up your polling location here, and start thinking about how you will be able to get there and back safely.  

Serve as a Poll Worker

Every polling location is staffed by volunteer poll workers, and there is a critical need for additional workers this year to ensure health and safety – particularly young people without preexisting health vulnerabilities. Poll workers receive between $100-150 for their service. If you are interested, you can submit this online form.  

Make a Plan

Mississippi is one of the only states that has not expanded mail-in voting due to the pandemic, so please plan ahead to vote safely in person on Election Day or by requesting an absentee ballot. To vote absentee, you must contact your circuit clerk and provide an approved excuse, including being under a “physician-imposed quarantine” or having a preexisting condition that increases COVID risk. You can request an absentee ballot by mail, which must be notarized and postmarked by Election Day, or you may vote absentee in person at your county clerk’s office until October 31st

Winter Institute ED Portia Espy Moderates Roundtable Discussion on Women of Color

The Mississippi Alliance of Nonprofits and Philanthropy Executive Director Roundtable

The Executive Director Roundtable series is an opportunity for leaders of all levels to come together and learn and reflect on what it takes to create sustainable organizations that will be able to have a long term impact. Participants will have the opportunity to hear wisdom and insight from some of the most influential and veteran leaders in the nonprofit sector as well as new leaders who are working as hard as they can to set themselves and organizations up for success.

Focus on Women of Color

It’s time for voices from communities that have long been marginalized to obtain leadership roles. Join us as we examine what barriers to success still exist, what pitfalls to avoid, what keeps these amazing women moving forward and succeeding and how you can advocate for other women of color.

Moderated by

Portia Espy
Executive Director, William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation


Chelsea Presley
Diaper Bank of the Delta

Mavis Creagh
R3SM, Inc., Recover, Rebuild, Restore Southeast MS

Sharon Jones

Register at

William Winter Institute Statement on the Mississippi State Flag

Symbols, when done right, instill pride and unity. They represent the shared ideals and values that bind together members of a society.

When done wrong, symbols instill division and degradation. They demarcate status and belonging among members of a society.

By featuring the battle flag of the Confederacy, Mississippi’s state flag is a symbol done wrong. It was adopted in 1894 to herald the end of Reconstruction efforts to provide Black Mississippians the right to vote, hold public office, and access public education.

Spend time looking at photos from the Jim Crow and Civil Rights eras, and you’ll see that the Confederate flag has been used to signal resistance to Black equality ever since. While some people may not intend to use the flag for that purpose, its association with hatred, violence, and oppression run too deeply for it to be viewed any other way.

Today, Mississippi has an opportunity to choose a new flag that symbolizes the best of our state rather than the worst. A new flag will not rid our state of racism, poverty, or ignorance, but it will signal to the nation—and to ourselves—that we recognize the dignity of every Mississippian. It’s not enough, but it’s important. We will proudly fly the new, unifying flag as we continue to work for a more inclusive and equitable future.

The Winter Institute Staff

Support our collective movement to end inequity for all people.