Leflore

PEOPLE

Cleve Jordan, Sam Block, James Bevel, and Amzie Moore

Cleve Jordan of Greenwood, Sam Block and others like James Bevel of Itta Bena, Amzie Moore of Cleveland and Fannie Lou Hamer of Ruleville, were able to mobilize existing churches and civic organizations throughout the county and the Mississippi Delta, and blacks began to attempt to register in larger numbers. The reaction by local whites was violent. In Greenwood, a local SNCC office was attacked by an armed mob. Homes and businesses were burned. Bob Moses and Randolph Blackwell were shot at while traveling in a car. Worker Jimmie Travis was seriously hurt in the attack. Protestors and marchers were attacked by police dogs.

Sources:

Parker, Frank. Black Votes Count: Political Empowerment in Mississippi After 1965.

Payne, Charles. I've Got the Light of Freedom.

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EVENTS

End of the Federal Food Program

In October, 1962, the white county board of supervisors cut off a federal food program, a program that gave 27,000 people in the county, a large part of them black, aid on which to survive. The supervisors were probably reacting to the burgeoning voter registration drives, but they claimed that they could not afford the distribution. In the spring of 1963, this action brought national attention and an outpouring of support of money, food, and clothing. Comedian Dick Gregory and famed Mississippi activist Medgar Evers brought a spotlight to focus on the effort and to the injustices being suffered in the region.

Sources:

Parker, Frank. Black Votes Count: Political Empowerment in Mississippi After 1965.

Payne, Charles. I’ve Got the Light of Freedom.

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GROUPS

SNCC, CORE, COFO of Leflore

National support to the local region that ultimately helped turned the tide toward voting equality came to Leflore County in the 1960s. The Kennedy administration created the Voter Education Project which gave support to national organizations who sent in local economic and volunteer support to voter registration efforts. In 1962, multiple civil rights organizations such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) came into Leflore County and Greenwood for the sole objective of registering blacks to vote. Locals who had been influenced by these organizations from the state and national level first began to make inroads into the community – like activist Sam Block from Cleveland. Their entrance was slow and extremely labored, volunteers working door to door and living hand to mouth. Workers were arrested and put in jail on sham charges. They were harassed by officials and often had to change living and working locations lest those locals who were giving them support suffer as well.

Sources:

Parker, Frank. Black Votes Count: Political Empowerment in Mississippi After 1965.

Payne, Charles. I’ve Got the Light of Freedom.

Read more


DOCUMENTS

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