Lafayette

PEOPLE

W.R. Redmond Jr.

The Reverend W.R. Redmond, Jr., served as pastor of the Burns United Methodist Church. In 1945, he organized the Oxford Training School football team. In 1971, he became the first African-American member of the Oxford School Board. A scholarship was founded in his memory to assist local African-Americans to attend medical school.

Sources:

"We Cannot Walk Alone Exhibition" Olemiss.edu. 15 November 2006
<http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/general_library/files/archives/exhibits/civilrights/aa/burns.html>

Nelms, Chuck. "Thoughts and Recollections of Ole Miss Fall of 1962." Feb 4 1991. Jun 2006 http://www.llf.lib.ms.us/winnebago/LLF/Oral%20Histories/NELMS2.htm

"Integrating Ole Miss." Integrating Ole Miss: A Civil Rights Milestone. June 2002. John F. Kennedy Library. Jun 2006 http://www.jfklibrary.org/meredith/home.html

Sobotka, C. John Jr. A History of Lafayette County, Mississippi. Oxford, MS: Rebel Press, 1976.

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PLACES

Freemantown

The area of Oxford between North 7th Street and 5th Street extending south from Price to Jackson Avenue was originally called Freemantown. Oral tradition says that the area was sold to freed slaves after the Civil War and thus became known as Freemantown. By the turn of the century, small houses dotted the area, each with a small garden and often livestock such as pigs, chickens and cows. Water was furnished from cisterns and wells. The original 7th Street was dirt, becoming gravel with the use of cars, then rough pavement about 1939. Freemantown became a small African-American community with churches, schools, stores and businesses. Second Baptist's Church stands on the south edge near the site of former Mama Nance's (Nancy Humphrey's) grocery store. Bird Kirkland ran his blacksmith business nearby, shoeing horses and fixing wagon wheels. In 1974, Freemantown underwent Urban Renewal that created wider streets and new housing for many of the residents. On August 5, 1996, the historical marker for Freedmen Town was placed by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History."

Sources:

"We Cannot Walk Alone Exhibition" Olemiss.edu. 15 November 2006
<http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/general_library/files/archives/exhibits/civilrights/aa/burns.html>

Nelms, Chuck. "Thoughts and Recollections of Ole Miss Fall of 1962." Feb 4 1991. Jun 2006 <http://www.llf.lib.ms.us/winnebago/LLF/Oral%20Histories/NELMS2.htm>

"Integrating Ole Miss." Integrating Ole Miss: A Civil Rights Milestone. June 2002. John F. Kennedy Library. Jun 2006 <http://www.jfklibrary.org/meredith/home.html>

Sobotka, C. John Jr. A History of Lafayette County, Mississippi. Oxford, MS: Rebel Press, 1976.

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EVENTS

School Desegregation in Lafayette County

From the 1950s through the 1970s, many things changed for African-Americans on both the national and local level. In Oxford, organizations such as the Oxford Improvement Association, the Oxford Development Association, and the North Mississippi Rural Legal Services were founded. Schools were integrated resulting in the combined schools such as Bramlett Elementary, Oxford Junior High School, and Oxford High School.

With the entry of James Meredith into the University of Mississippi in 1962, many things changed. Local African-Americans had a mixed reaction to the changes in the traditional white-black relationships. Other African-Americans participated actively in the 1960s Civil Rights activities including housing northern Civil Rights workers in their homes, participating in Civil Rights marches, praising the work of Martin Luther King, Jr., and helping organize new improvement programs for their communities.

Sources:

“We Cannot Walk Alone Exhibition” Olemiss.edu. 15 November 2006
<http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/general_library/files/archives/exhibits/civilrights/aa/burns.html>

Nelms, Chuck. “Thoughts and Recollections of Ole Miss Fall of 1962.” Feb 4 1991. Jun 2006 <http://www.llf.lib.ms.us/winnebago/LLF/Oral%20Histories/NELMS2.htm>

“Integrating Ole Miss.” Integrating Ole Miss: A Civil Rights Milestone. June 2002. John F. Kennedy Library. Jun 2006 <http://www.jfklibrary.org/meredith/home.html>

Sobotka, C. John Jr. A History of Lafayette County, Mississippi. Oxford, MS: Rebel Press, 1976.

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GROUPS

William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation

William Winter Institute LogoIn 1997, then-President Bill Clinton inaugurated an unprecedented national conversation on race. “One America: The President’s Initiative on Race” marked the first time a sitting president had called for such a dialogue without the catalyst of a major crisis. It suggested, on a federal level, the importance of dealing positively with race relations on a daily basis.

Accepting the challenge to prod grassroots efforts, the University of Mississippi hosted the only deep-South public forum for One America. Preceded by dialogue groups representing ten constituency topics ranging from the arts to education to religion, the event highlighted elected delegates from each group. Sharing the insight and hopes of the more than 160 participants, the representatives crafted a frank yet civil discussion on one of our nation’s most difficult subjects.

The President’s staff hailed the UM experience as the single most successful of the entire Initiative year. That recognition encouraged the University to formalize its dialogue process with the creation of an institute to promote racial reconciliation and civic renewal.

Founded in 1999, the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation builds more inclusive communities by promoting diversity and citizenship, and by supporting projects that help communities solve local challenges.

Source:

“About Us.” William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation. U of Mississippi. http://www.winterinstitute.org/pages/aboutus.htm.

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DOCUMENTS

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