Workshop Report: De’Vante Wiley of Baptist Town Community Garden

Devante and Garden_Hannah_cropped
De’Vante Wiley of the Baptist Town Community Garden in Greenwood, MS. Photo by Hannah Threadgill.

When our oral history workshop group was visiting with Spooney Kenter in Greenwood’s Baptist Town neighborhood, a young man walked up to introduce himself. That young man would later share his story with our group and become not only a lesson in thinking on your feet (we hadn’t planned to record an interview with him), but an illustration of the impact just one person can have on an entire community.

De’Vante Wiley grew up in the Baptist Town neighborhood of Greenwood, Mississippi. In 2009, when he was just 16, he founded the Baptist Town Community Garden. De’Vante envisioned a place for people to come together and support each other. Five years later, the garden is thriving and other community projects have sprung up in the neighborhood. De’Vante is also a fellow at the newly established Emmett Till Interpretive Center and begins classes at Jackson State University this fall. He is just one of the many young people who are making a difference in the Mississippi Delta.

Listen do De’Vante’s story via the SoundCloud player featured below.

Many thanks to our impromptu fieldwork group, Lilli Voorhies (interview) and Hannah Threadgill (photographs).