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The 12th Annual Dinner of Reconciliation special guest is the Emmett Till Interpretive Center represented by Mr. Benjamin Saulsberry, Community Engagement and Museum Director, and Ms. Jessie Jaynes-Diming, civil rights tour guide and Emmett Till Memorial Commission member.

Benjamin Saulsberry

Public Engagement and Museum Education Director

Benjamin Saulsberry is a native of West Tallahatchie County, Mississippi. He grew up surrounded by social justice activism, which he credits for his deep care and concern for his community today. Ben joined the Emmett Till Interpretive Center in 2016 and has spoken on race, racism, and racial reconciliation across the country on behalf of the Center, including at Harvard Law in 2017 and the University of Detroit at Mercy in 2019. He attended Mississippi Valley State University and the University of Mississippi for graduate work in music.

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Jessie Jaynes-Diming

Civil Rights Tour Guide, Member of the Emmett Till Memorial Commission

Jessie Jaynes-Diming was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1952, and married at a young age. She has always been involved in some type of program that makes a difference, beginning with her oldest child. While living in Chicago, she was heavily involved with the Head Start program and was a member of the Board of Directors for a clinic.

After moving to Mississippi, Jessie’s involvement with the community did not stop—in fact, it intensified. She was taken under the tutelage of the late Jerome G. Little, a trailblazing politician in Tallahatchie County, MS. She served three years with the AmeriCorps* VISTA program. During her time with VISTA, she was the recipient of the Above and Beyond award for her dedication and commitment to developing community health education programs for the low income and elderly by volunteering more than 2,000 hours of community service.

Jessie is a Certified Community Health Advocate and has completed instructor training with My Brother’s Keeper (Ridgeland, MS) for Obesity and Cancer Prevention for African Americans. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including one from the Boston University School of Medicine for participating in the Black Women’s Health Study, and the Mamie Till Mobley Woman of Courage Award. She has also volunteered with the Emmett Till Historic Intrepid Center in Glendora, MS as a special project coordinator.

Jessie is a founding member of the Emmett Till Memorial Commission on which she served from its inception in 2006 until her recent retirement; founding member and President of Tallahatchie County Alliance, Inc., a local nonprofit; and Founder and CEO of Mississippi Delta Experience Touring Service, LLC, and has organized several driving tours, specifically the Emmett Till Student Exchange Tour between Tallahatchie and Neshoba Counties (Neshoba County, MS was the site where three civil rights workers were brutally murdered in 1964 while helping blacks register to vote) and the Emmett Till Trail of Tears, Terror and Truth Tour.

Jessie is a certified carpenter through courses taken at Coahoma Community College. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, horseback riding, taking care of her pets, and spending time with family.



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