1955 Lynchings

After the 1955 murder of Emmett Till, several gentlemen of the Benton County area were lynched in association with Till’s death. Oliver Maxey, the Panam Brothers, John Henry Remmer, and Jones and Hugh Smith were lynched.

Beating of Bessie Turner

(1960’s) Bessie Turner was arrested and beaten in jail. She was humiliated in jail by police who forced her to strip and then beat her over her buttocks and genitals. Turner claimed that her arrest arose out of her attempt to register to vote in a testimony in 1965. Medgar Evers and Aaron Henry tried […]

Black Monday

Judge Thomas Brady’s pamphlet, Black Monday, outlined the White Citizen’s Council’s goals, including the abolition of public schools, nullification of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and establishment of a separate black state. The publication of this handbook inspired many Mississippians to join the Citizens’ Council movement. Sources:

Blackwell v Issaquena County Board of Education (1966)

(Date of Event: 1965-1966) On January 29, 1965, roughly thirty students at Henry Weathers High School (an all black public school in Issaquena County) began wearing SNCC paraphernalia to school. When the students were reprimanded by school administrators, an outpouring of support from other students and outside leaders occurred. Ultimately 300 students were suspended from […]

Blasts Rock Negro Church Home in Canton

(1965) “Explosions rocked a Negro church and a Negro home early Friday in this central Mississippi town which has been the target of increased civil rights activity in recent months. There were no injuries. Windows were shattered in both Pleasant Green Church of Christ, used by civil rights workers for rallies, and the nearby home […]

Bus Sit-In of 1961

At Lamar and Capitol Streets on April 20, 1961, three Jackson State students, George Washington, Doris Bracey, and Walter Jones, and a Campbell College student, Johnny Barbour, Jr. boarded a city bus and sat in the white-only section. When they refused to move to the “colored”section, they were arrested and charged with breach of the […]

Canton Ordered to Allow Negroes Use or Park

(1960s) “A federal judge Monday ordered officials at Canton, Miss. to permit Negroes the same use of a city park as that extended to white residents of the area. U.S. District Judge Harold Cox granted a temporary injunction sought by a group of civil rights workers. The order enjoined officials from arresting or otherwise seeking […]

Canton’s First Freedom Day

(Feb. 28, 1963) More than 350 African-American residents arrived at the Madison County Courthouse demanding their voting rights. Sources: Brown-Wright, Flonzie. Looking Back to Move Ahead Germantown, OH: FBW, 1994. Cheeks-Collins, Jennifer E. Black America Series: Madison County, Mississippi Charleston: Arcadia, 2002. Townsend Davis, Weary Feet, Rested Souls: A Guided History of the Civil Rights […]

Carrollton Courthouse Massacre

(1886) In February of 1886, Ed and Charley Brown, who were both part Indian and part African-American, were delivering molasses when they ran into James Liddell, a white man, spilling molasses on Liddell. A fight ensued in which Lidell and Ed Brown exchanged heated words. Later, Liddell, who was joined by a group of men, […]

Church Burnings of Benton County

(1960s) In the summer of 1964, civil rights workers conducted their first meeting at Mt. Zion CME. Meetings took place at several churches in the area, and many churches were later burned or vandalized. Everett Chapel was one of the many churches burned. Vandalism did not stop civil rights activity in the county.

Church Fires in Rankin County

On June 21, 1964, a Molotov cocktail exploded in the basement of Sweet Rest Church of Christ’s Holiness in Rankin County. A fire broke out, but there were only minor damages. On July 19th, 1964 both St. Matthew’s Negro Baptist Church and the Grill Chapel Methodist Church were burned. On July 31, 1964, just miles […]

Civil Rights Marches and a Federal Lawsuit

(5/15/1968) Following the death of Martin Luther King, citizens in Holly Springs conducted a peaceful march from Rust College, proceeding through town to the courthouse. About 500 marchers attended and were entirely peaceful. No incidents were recorded. However, the march led a Holly Springs alderman to pass a law mandating notice of such marches. The […]

Claiborne County Boycott

In 1966, a boycott of white merchants in Claiborne County, Miss., was launched at a meeting of a local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) attended by several hundred black persons. The purpose of the boycott was to secure compliance by both civic and business leaders with a lengthy […]

Cross Burning

On May 5, 1965, two crosses were burnt on the property of Forest Industries Company and at the home of the manager of the company. The Forest Industries Company had hired two black men in place of two white men they had fired. Evidence was discovered that linked an employee dismissed from the company for […]

Denzill Turner Murder

(1951) Denzill Turner was an epileptic black man who had a seizure at a local Greyhound bus station in Coahoma County. White men claimed that he was drunk and touching white women during his seizure, which they did not understand. The police were called and, upon arrival, attempted to restrain him. Turner broke free and […]

Desegregation in Carroll

(1965) Until 1965, Carroll County maintained separate schools for white students and African-American students. In Carrollton, the white students attended J.Z. George High School, and the African-American students attended Marshall High School. Similarly, in Vaiden, the white students attended Vaiden High School, and the African-American students attended the North Vaiden School (later known as Percy […]

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