/Morgan Freeman adds his voice to improving education

Morgan Freeman adds his voice to improving education

This is the weekly ‘Sip of Culture story, a collaboration between Mississippi Today Magazine and The Sip Magazine. Visit The ‘Sip Magazine’s website for more stories. You will expect wisdom when you hear that famous voice. Morgan Freeman is able to explain the intricacies and history of Hinduism. He’d acquired this knowledge through his travels around the world, including recent trips to India, Jerusalem, Egypt, Guatemala, Jerusalem, Egypt, and Egypt. Deep-voiced, and resonant he says there is no lesson. He said, “It’s their business.” “It’s not mine.” It’s just trivia to retell. * Freeman’s intellect can be sharp, contradictory and sometimes contradictory. He is opinionated and clear-voiced but does not want the “voice God.” He calls that an old joke and tiring one. Freeman visited a Charleston elementary school library recently. This is his current home, or his place to rest between his travels. He likes to “cave in” here, he stated. It’s an odd home for a star of international fame, with only one stoplight and one grocery store. Nearly half the population lives below the poverty level. He calls it his safest spot, and in a contradiction, a place with no assets. He said, “We’re trying build assets,” and raised his hands to point to the bright books on the shelves. Freeman is well aware of the sad facts. Mississippi’s education system has been consistently ranked among the worst in the country. According to recent ACT scores only one eighth of high school graduates are fully prepared for college. This number drops to 1 out 30 for black students in Tallahatchie County where Charleston is located. They make up 85 per cent of Tallahatchie County’s public-school students. Freeman stated that “it just didn’t sit right.” “Moving back to home, it just didn’t sit well for me.” Freeman attended Mississippi high school and elementary school and recalls receiving a better education. He said, “Even though our schools were segregated we still had an amazing system.” “I could quote Chaucer and Shakespeare — I still can. “That’s what we had learnt.” He was a member of the Greenwood glee club, debated on the debate team and performed in the band. They traveled to compete against other schools. As a 12-year old, he won his first acting prize, a state award for a one-act show. He has given a lot to education and arts organizations since he returned home 25 years ago. Morgana Freeman, his daughter, stated that if there is no focus you can easily get lost in a broad vision. She refocused the mission of her father’s philanthropic organization, Tallahatchie River Foundation three years ago. She is determined to improve Tallahatchie County’s early childhood education. She wants her students to “thrive” by the third grade. The research shows that pre-kindergarten is a cost-saving investment. Some studies show that it can save as much as $12 per dollar. Experts are disappointed by the state’s inability to fund pre-kindergarten. Mississippi funded statewide prekindergarten in 2014 for the first-time. It spent just $3 million. This was enough to reach approximately 6 percent of Mississippi’s 4-year olds. The state’s kindergarteners weren’t ready to go to school according to a national literacy test. Tallahatchie, a small rural county, faces some of the most difficult challenges. Tallahatchie River Foundation is designed to support these counties and their children. The Tallahatchie Early Learning Alliance was their first initiative. This organization supports the community in providing holistic assistance for young children in the county. It provides training for early childhood educators, resources for local schools, childcare providers, support for parents, and support for new mothers. Morgana, who is a city girl, said that she learned a crucial lesson after her early attempts. You must listen before you can change. This idea was incorporated into the foundation’s five year plan, which was launched in June. She believes that TELA should be owned by the community, not the foundation. She said, “The foundation was built on collaboration.” “No one can accomplish this work alone,” she said. Her father laughed and raised his eyebrows, as though this was the last thing that needed to be said. Freeman is perfectly happy to listen. When asked again if he had a vision of the ideal classroom, he resisted, despite his commitment to education. He said, “Give it up to the experts.” “I don’t know anything about this. * He didn’t always have it. Born in Memphis, Freeman was raised in Mississippi in 1937. As a child, he moved from one community to the next — from Mississippi to Chicago to Chicago. He turned down a scholarship for drama at Jackson State University because he didn’t believe it could lead to Hollywood. He joined the U.S. Air Force to escape the state. He soon discovered that he preferred the movies of the military to the true thing. In 1961, eleven years after winning the statewide prize, Freeman boarded a Greyhound bus to Los Angeles. Freeman was an actor and dancer, but he also worked in clerical positions. Freeman also tried his luck in New York where, between Broadway gigs and auditions, he maintained a steady stream of temp jobs. He said that he thought a few times that he would spend his life doing whatever he was eating. He said, “Even though my career had gotten the good, solid foothold, I still had to say, ‘OK. My 15 minutes are up. Now what?'” At 40, his fortune turned when he landed a job on The Electric Company. It was a Children’s Television Workshop program that aimed at children who had grown up without Sesame Street. He didn’t enjoy the role. Those years were hard and marked by alcoholism and divorce. He had money and a job. In 1987, at nearly fifty years old, he was offered a part in Street Smart. His performance received rave reviews. He starred in Glory within two years and Driving Miss Daisy within three years. This sparked a series of highly acclaimed performances that has lasted almost unbroken. He has won the Academy Award, Screen Actors Guild Award and a Golden Globe. He is also the fourth highest-grossing actor of all times. After years of hard work and many life lessons, Freeman finally arrived. * Here’s a quick overview of Freeman’s filmography, 78 years old: Freeman has played the role of a scientist who seeks to save the world; a senator from the United States; speaker of the House; and a wizard with all the power. Freeman was the voice of Earth in a commercial that aired last year during United Nations climate talks. He was the Hollywood version of God in 2003’s Bruce Almighty. He seems to have many lessons to share. He has learned a lot from hard work. He began to practice speaking slowly and enunciating his last consonants. This helped him shed his Southern accent, improve his tone, and also practiced slow speech. Freeman uses his voice to guide. Freeman is the narrator in the foundation’s latest messaging campaign. This campaign aims to educate Mississippians about his daughter’s key idea: students must “thrive” by three. Freeman recently traveled around the globe as both a producer and narrator. Freeman stated that he does not believe in God. He said, “Write it down.” Morgan Freeman believes that God exists. However, he believes something a little different: Zoroastrianism is an ancient Persian religion rarely discussed outside of history class. He raised his hand to indicate that he understood the three main principles of Zoroastrianism. With a mischievous glint, he stated, “That’s all life requires of you.” “After that, have children and die.” * Freeman dropped his voice almost to the point of mourning when he mentioned that Tallahatchie County’s largest employer is a prison. He whispered, “I don’t think that’s helpful.” “I don’t believe that’s helpful,” he whispered. He is at his most vulnerable when he talks about his adopted state. He called it “special” at one point. Why? He replied that Mississippi is different because we are still stuck in the Confederacy. He exclaimed that last word with mock grandeur. He said, “Y’all lost.” He said, “That’s it, that’s over.” The Confederate saltire was the last remnant of the Confederate flag in the country. It is not a symbol for heritage as some claim. Freeman was still there. He claimed that he experienced a quiet epiphany while visiting his parents in early 1980s as his career was just beginning to take off. I’ve always felt a sense of “Ah, OK, just relax.” He said, “I’m good.” In Charleston, he stated that he can walk to the grocery store without fear and no one will be following him with their cell phones. Morgana shrugged. “Yes, they do,” Freeman said. His daughter is correct. Freeman did indeed see cell phones on his recent trip home. Freeman and his daughter attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open a new town wellness center. As she shared with her friends, a woman in the lobby had giddy plans to take a selfie with Freeman. He was her favorite actor. Freeman smiled politely and then said goodbye to his daughter. He climbed into a black sedan. The 160-acre ranch of Freeman was hidden in these hills. Freeman was eager to return home, to perhaps find safety. To support this important work, you can make a regular donation to the Spring Member Drive today.