DeSoto

PEOPLE

Ollie S. Bates

Ollie S. Bates was the sister-in-law of Daisy Bates, a civil rights activist and mentor to the nine students who integrated Little Rock High School. According to the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission (MSSC), Ollie Bates and an African American man named Anthony Washington were suspected of being involved in rising African-American "unrest and agitation" in October of 1958. The MSSC spoke with Superintendent of Education Rutherford and he said that the problems were "being pushed by two white men whom he thinks are on some foreign payroll to do such work." Rutherford believed the two white men were Homer Oswalt of Hernando and Alton M. West of Lake Cormorant, based on his observations of their financial statuses and habits. Supposedly, the two white men approached Bates and Washington about school integration and perhaps participating in other activities. There is no follow-up information on the report. 

The MSSC files state that Sterling Davis interviewed Daisy Bates around November 24, 1958, when Bates was visiting Ollie Bates and Leonard Bates, Ollie's brother and Daisy's brother-in-law, in DeSoto County. While Daisy was there, Leonard's wife suddenly died and people suspected that she was poisoned. A county official named Sterling Wilson heard that the poison was meant for Daisy. As of July 1959, Daisy had not returned to visit Ollie and the family. 

In 1960, the MSSC placed Ollie on a list of "potential agitators." No further records or information has been found thus far. 

  

Sources:

"Daisy Bates," Wikipedia, 1 October 2012, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daisy_Bates_(civil_rights_activist)

"Sovereignty Commission Online: SCR ID # 1-7-0-3-1-1-1," Mississippi Department of Archives and Historyhttp://mdah.state.ms.us/arrec/digital_archives/sovcom/result.php?image=/data/sov_commission/images/png/cd01/000481.png&otherstuff=1|7|0|3|1|1|1|472|#

"Sovereignty Commission Online: SCR ID # 1-41-0-1-1-1-1," Mississippi Department of Archives and Historyhttp://mdah.state.ms.us/arrec/digital_archives/sovcom/result.php?image=/data/sov_commission/images/png/cd01/002950.png&otherstuff=1|41|0|1|1|1|1|2867|#

"Sovereignty Commission Online: SCR ID # 2-130-0-4-2-1-1," Mississippi Department of Archives and Historyhttp://mdah.state.ms.us/arrec/digital_archives/sovcom/result.php?image=/data/sov_commission/images/png/cd06/041165.png&otherstuff=2|130|0|4|2|1|1|40554|#

"Sovereignty Commission Online: SCR ID # 3-2-0-2-1-1-1," Mississippi Department of Archives and Historyhttp://mdah.state.ms.us/arrec/digital_archives/sovcom/result.php?image=/data/sov_commission/images/png/cd02/013966.png&otherstuff=3|2|0|2|1|1|1|13706|#

"Sovereignty Commission Online: SCR ID # 9-0-0-15-1-1-1," Mississippi Department of Archives and Historyhttp://mdah.state.ms.us/arrec/digital_archives/sovcom/result.php?image=/data/sov_commission/images/png/cd08/059396.png&otherstuff=9|0|0|15|1|1|1|58595|

Read more


PLACES

Highway 51

On June 5, 1966, James Meredith began his "March Against Fear" to protest racism. He began in Memphis, Tennessee, and planned to continue 220 miles to Jackson, Mississippi. At the twenty-sixth mile of the march on Highway 51, just south of Hernando, Aubrey Norvell stood in the roadside brush and fired three times at Meredith. It was later reported that doctors had to remove about seventy shotgun pellets from Meredith's head, neck, and body. Meredith was rushed to the hospital and about fifteen law officers apprehended Norvell.

While Meredith was unable to complete his march, other civil rights leaders continued in tribute to Meredith. With their arms linked, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Floyd McKissick, and Stokely Carmichael resumed the walk where Meredith left off on Highway 51 in Hernando. Other marchers, reporters, and Mississippi state troopers were also present that day. Citizens in Desoto County are currently making efforts to erect a marker at the place at which Meredith was shot and these events took place. Read more at the page for Meredith’s March Against Fear

Sources:

John Dittmer, Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi, University of Illinois Press, 1995.

"March Against Fear," Wikipedia, 30 May 2012, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_Against_Fear.

Taylor Branch, At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-1968. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2006.

Read more


EVENTS

Meredith’s March Against Fear

On June 5, 1966, James Meredith set out to demonstrate that Blacks could exercise freedom without the assistance of the National Guard in what he called the “March Against Fear.” This walk began in Memphis at the Peabody Hotel and was to continue 220 miles to the Mississippi capital in Jackson. Historian Taylor Branch notes that “Meredith wore a yellow pitch helmet, carried an ivory-tipped walking stick, and displayed a white horse’s tail among gifts from a Sudanese chief.” At the twenty-sixth mile of the march, just south of Hernando, Aubrey Norvell stood in the roadside brush and yelled “James Meredith” twice. He raised his 16 gauge automatic shotgun and fired three times at Meredith.It was later reported that doctors had to remove about seventy shotgun pellets from Meredith’s head, neck, and body. Meredith was rushed to the hospital and about fifteen law officers apprehended Norvell, who was an unemployed hardware contractor from Memphis. 

While Meredith was unable to complete his march, other civil rights leaders continued in tribute to Meredith.With their arms linked, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Floyd McKissick, and Stokely Carmichael resumed the walk where Meredith left off on Highway 51 in Hernando.Several other marchers, reporters and Mississippi state troopers were also present that day.State troopers confronted the marchers and ordered them to get out of the road.Stokely Carmichael attempted to defend the activists against an aggressive state trooper but King kept his arms locked tightly with Carmichael’s to restrain him.Citizens in Desoto County are currently making efforts to erect a marker at the place at which Meredith was shot and these events took place.

The march was completed on June 26, three weeks after Meredith left Memphis.The march which began as a solitary mission by James Meredith swelled to over 15,000 people when it ended in Jackson. Photographs from the March Against Fear are displayed at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN. (National Civil Rights Museum, 450 Mulberry Street, Memphis, TN 38103).

Sources:

John Dittmer, Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi, University of Illinois Press, 1995.

“March Against Fear,” Wikipedia, 30 May 2012, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_Against_Fear.

Taylor Branch, At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-1968. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2006.

Read more


DOCUMENTS

{phocadownload view=category|id=51|text=Click HERE to enter the DeSoto County Document Library|target=p}

(more…)