Historical marker to honor pioneering educator

Elizabeth Evelyn Wright
Elizabeth Evelyn Wright

A historical marker will be dedicated this weekend in the Chattahoochee Valley to honor a pioneering educator who established a high school that became a college.

The life and work of Talbot County native and Voorhees College founder Elizabeth Evelyn Wright (1872-1906) will be celebrated during Sunday’s 1 p.m. ceremony at Greater St. Phillip Methodist Church, 67 E. Tyler St., in Talbotton.

According to the marker, Wright attended school at the church along with other black children. She graduated from the Tuskegee Institute in 1894. Three years later, she overcame racism and multiple arson attacks to start the Denmark (S.C.) Industrial School, modeled after the vision of her mentor, Tuskegee founder Booker T. Washington. Wright died in 1906 and is buried on the campus that became Voorhees College in 1962.

“Elizabeth Evelyn Wright was a woman of great determination who believed in the power of education to inspire future generations,” W. Todd Groce, president and CEO of the Georgia Historical Society, said in a news release. “Even in the face of adversity, she pushed on toward her goal, and, because of her vision, generations of students have had the opportunity to receive their education at Voorhees College.”

Talbot County Schools assistant superintendent Cynthia Epps and Voorhees alumnus Brandon Smith will serve as masters of ceremonies at the dedication. Voorhees president Cleveland Sellers will deliver the keynote address. Other scheduled speakers include Talbotton Mayor Tony Lamar and Georgia Historical Society membership and outreach associate Elyse Butler. The Voorhees College Choir will provide the music.