Stokes retells story of Delta’s Jewel Featured

moundbayoucover10-27-16Cover of The Jewel of the Delta

Children's book author Floyd "SuperReader" Stokes is hosting a book signing April 8 in his hometown of Mound Bayou in the Floyd Stokes Library at John F. Kennedy Memorial High School.

Stokes’ book, "Jewel of the Delta: The Founding of Mound Bayou" tells the rich history of Mound Bayou and the town's founders Isaiah T. Montgomery and Benjamin T. Green.

Both Montgomery and Green were former slaves who established the all-black town in the Deep South of the Mississippi Delta.

Along with other brave settlers, they persevered to build a thriving town.

Founded in 1887, the book covers the history of the town from its inception through the 1950s.

"Being from Mound Bayou and reading things from print in school, nothing I saw appealed to elementary age students, and I wanted to give a try and write something about Mound Bayou in a picture format," Stokes said.

Sheena Hisiro, who currently lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., illustrated "Jewel of the Delta," along with a few other books written by Stokes.

Stokes said "Jewel of the Delta" is the only history book he has written.

"There is just so much rich information in Mound Bayou, so I wanted to capture some of that history, and share it with the reader," Stokes said.

Stokes said he would be reading and explaining the origins of the books to his audience.

Stokes said he read many magazine articles and books while in school about Mound Bayou.

He said, "When reading all of those things, you began to appreciate the town, founders, what they created, and what they achieved.

"The message I came away with is that no matter where we started and come from, with hard work, determination, and a good education, you can do anything you put your mind to," Stokes said.

He is also founder of the American Literacy Corporation, which has allowed him to travel to all 50 states to read to children.

ALC is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2000, and its missions is to support new and on-going literacy efforts by working with Head Start, schools, libraries, churches, community-based organizations, and other institutions.

Stokes said, "I read to 10,000 students per year on average and have visited all 50 states. It's my way of giving back to others which was given to me."

Stokes visits his hometown twice a year during winter and summer to come back and have a literacy program for the students in Mound Bayou.

He encourages students to strive to do their best in school and talk to them about the importance of making good grades.

Stokes is a member of the Mound Bayou Public School Alumni Association where he has partnered with civil rights activist and educator, Dr. Elaine Baker and other members to host toy drives for kids in the Mound Bayou area.

They have also gotten sponsors to purchase his book for students in Mound Bayou.

Stokes said "Jewel of the Delta" would be given to high school students down to third grade.

"I feel the older students will appreciate and understand what they're reading a little better. That's what I hope to achieve.

Stokes said he has also received great responses from the public, and he wants to thank each and every one of them for all of the support he has been receiving.

Stokes book signing will begin at 11:45 a.m. and refreshments will be served.

Stokes recommends individuals who want to attend to RSVP by March 28 to Oneida Causley and DeVoyce Morris at 662-719-2149 and 662-719-0090.

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