Press Release from Coahoma Community College Public Relations; (662) 621-4061 - Brittany Davis-Green - firstname.lastname@example.org
Marks – All eyes were on Coahoma Community College Art Instructor Rosalind Wilcox Friday as organizers of the Quitman County, MS “Mules and Blues” festival anxiously cut the tarp covering a mural, painted by Wilcox, that tells the story of the Mule Train that traveled from Marks, MS to Washington D.C in the 1960's as part of Dr. Martin Luther King's "Poor People's Campaign".
The round of applause that followed was evidence that the crowd approved of the dozen 4x8 panels that begins by depicting King’s initial visit in Marks, MS and continues through the journey to the White House by way of mules and trains to protest social and economic disparity.
“When King visited here and saw what kids had to eat for lunch, which was very little, it touched his heart and he realized this was one of the poorest areas of the country and they begin to organize this campaign in Marks, MS,” explained Wilcox. “Although King was assassinated before the actual campaign began, I wanted to make sure I included King. There’s a lot of spiritual representation of him throughout the piece but that’s just one part of it. The story is that he was here, it touched his heart and they decided to do something about it.”
The festivities were part of Quitman's County's two-day "Mules and Blues" Festival this weekend. The mural will remain on display outside of the city’s new Marks Mule Train Market, created to promote local entrepreneurship.
President of Shreveport Federal Credit Union Helen Smith, who commissioned Wilcox to complete the project, said that the mural represents the history of Marks on a building that will now help break some of the economic disparities that continue on today.
“We’re just so excited. This building is a 30,000 square foot market…. our partners have worked together to bring this beautiful market to the people of the Delta,” said Smith. “This project is important because it provides access to fresh food, it’s fighting against the food deserts here in the Delta, and it’s also fighting poverty by allowing vendors and small town farmers to have access to a market where they can sell their goods and add income to ensure their family’s success.”
Despite being legally blind, Wilcox said she completed the project in just two months.
“I’m excited! It’s like I’m from Marks—I honestly feel that way. I never met a person I didn’t like from Marks. I love this place.”
Following the unveiling, Wilcox gave an interview describing the details and inspiration behind the mural with Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB). She also presented Smith with her own mini paper replica of the mural.
Future plans include creating a calendar with one panel displayed on each respective month as a fundraising project for the market and CCC’s Art Club, Wilcox said.
CLICK HERE to view more photos on CCC's Facebook page!