SAVANNAH, GEORGIA — The Georgia Historical Society will dedicate a new historical marker to Elizabeth Evelyn Wright (1872-1906), a Talbotton, Georgia, native who founded Denmark Industrial School, now Voorhees College.
“Elizabeth Evelyn Wright was a woman of great determination who believed in the power of education to inspire future generations,” said Dr. W. Todd Groce, president and CEO of the Georgia Historical Society. “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.”
Cynthia Epps, assistant superintendent of Talbot County Schools (Georgia), and Brandon Smith, Voorhees College alumni, will serve as masters of ceremonies. Other speakers will include Talbotton Mayor Tony Lamar and Elyse Butler of the Georgia Historical Society. Music will be provided by the Voorhees College Choir, and Dr. Cleveland L. Sellers Jr., president and CEO of Voorhees College, will deliver the keynote speech.
The dedication will take place at 1 p.m. Sunday, April 3, at Greater St. Phillip Methodist Church, 67 East Tyler St., in Talbotton, Georgia.
The marker reads: “Pioneering educator Elizabeth Evelyn Wright was born in Talbotton, Georgia, and attended school here at St. Phillips African Methodist Episcopal Church, where many local African-American children received their education. Under the tutelage of President Booker T. Washington and his wife, Olivia, Wright graduated from Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute in 1894 and moved to South Carolina to start a school inspired by Washington’s model of industrial education for African Americans. Despite the support of wealthy and influential friends from across the country, Wright faced suspicion, racism, and multiple arson attacks in her efforts to found the school. In 1897 she successfully established the Denmark Industrial School, later named Voorhees Industrial School, in South Carolina. Wright died in 1906 and is buried on the campus, which became Voorhees College in 1962 when the school received accreditation. Erected by the Georgia Historical Society, Voorhees College, Greater Saint Phillip Methodist Church and the City of Talbotton.”