The Hill Country Project is a non-profit 501(C) 3 organization located in Benton County, Mississippi. We record the stories of the residents of Benton County who have lived through the modern Civil Rights Movement and beyond and provide education support to the local school district.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
A native of Holly Springs, Mississippi, Roy is the Executive Director and one of the founders of the Hill Country Project. He was active in the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, first as a Freedom School student (whose teacher was Hill Country co-founder Aviva Futorian) and then as a general organizer. Roy earned his bachelor's degree in Sociology at Brandeis University in 1973. Continuing his education at Brandeis, he went on to earn a Masters and later a Doctorate in Political Science. He has also pursued additional studies at Jackson State University, Duke University, Carnegie-Mellon University, the University of Michigan and Harvard. Roy is certified to teach at the high school level, and has extensive administrative management experience. Roy believes firmly in education and strongly in a collaboration among education, human service, faith-based organizations and the business community. He also works to expand parent, community, alumni and business support for higher education.
Active in many community, civic and professional organizations, Roy has received numerous awards and has been cited for outstanding achievements and contributions. Roy recently retired as Vice President for Economic Development and Local Governmental Affairs at Jackson State University. During his administrative tenure at Jackson State, he also served as Executive Vice President and Vice President of External Relations. He has a wife, Rubye and one daughter, Aisha Isoke.
Aviva is presently a lawyer in Chicago working on prison reform issues in Illinois, with a focus on long-term prisoners. After coming to Mississippi as a freedom school teacher in the summer of 1964, she became an organizer for the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Benton County. After leaving Mississippi, she went to law school, worked as a legislative assistant for Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman, became director of the Women's Law Project of the Chicago legal services program, and represented death-sentenced defendants in their final appeals. She first met Hill Country Project Executive Director Roy DeBerry when he was her freedom school student in 1964. They worked together in Benton County in the 1960s and have both maintained close contact with Benton County residents during the intervening years. Aviva was also among the first organizers to initiate oral history interviews in Benton County in 1995.
John is an Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker and a teaching artist, who has been making films with students in the Chicago area for over 9 years. John has worked with young people in the Chicago Public School system, various community arts centers and Snow City Arts, an arts education organization dedicated to working with hospitalized children. He is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago and currently works at Marwen, a Chicago nonprofit that provides free visual arts education to underserved public school students, as their Assistant Director of Technology and Administration.
Stephen was with the U.S. Agency for International Development and later President of an international consulting firm spanning a career of over 35 years addressing economic development issues. He has served as energy policy advisor, worked in North Africa for five years on energy and natural resources, and was a member of the U.S. delegation for the worldwide U.N. Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. He lives in Washington, D.C., where he has been an active participant in community affairs.