Walker, Joseph Edison

Joseph Edison Walker (1897-1958): Born in Tillman, Mississippi, Walker was a leading African American physician, businessman and religious leader. He graduated from Alcorn College in 1903 and then attended medical school at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. He practiced as a doctor in Mississippi and became president of a bank and an insurance company serving blacks. In 1920 he moved with his family to Memphis, Tennessee, and was a co-founder of Universal Life Insurance Company, which became one of the largest black-owned insurance companies in the nation under his leadership from 1923 to 1952. He also founded Tri-State Bank with his son and the Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis.


Ronald A. Walter, "Joseph E. Walker," The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, 25 December 2009,

Thomas Yesner, ed., Who's Who in Colored America: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Persons of African Descent in America (1930-1932) Brooklyn, New York: Who's Who in Colored America, 1933. 

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Corinth Contraband Camp

After the Union took control of Corinth in 1962, the town became a haven for thousands of runaway slaves who sought freedom and protection. Union General Grenville Dodge enlisted the escaped slaves as teamsters, cooks, laborers, and armed security guards, which led to the formation of the 1st Alabama Infantry Regiment of African Descent with about 1,000 men. Under the supervision of Chaplain James M. Alexander, the camp resembled a small town with a commissary, hospital, church, an American Missionary Association School, frame and log houses, and named streets. The camp allowed former slaves to create a life of their own, gain work and an education, and work toward the struggle for equality. Today, the site is a national park called the Corinth Contraband Camp. The park preserves and commemorates the events that change the lives of so many freedmen during and after the war. Bronze figures throughout the camp depict the lives of people who were considered “contraband” of war.


Cam Walker, "Corinth: The Story of a Contraband Camp," Corinth Information Database, 1996,

"Corinth Contraband Camp," National Park Service,

"Corinth, Mississippi: Attractions," Corinth Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau

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The Murder of William Roy Prather

On November 1, 1959, whites killed fifteen-year-old African-American William Roy Prather in Corinth. Whites called it a “Halloween prank,” but the African-American community considered it a hate crime. One of the eight youths involved was indicted on manslaughtercharges, but not convicted. As of November 2011, the case was still open under FBI investigation.


Arkansas Delta Truth and Justice Center, “Mississippi Civil Rights Martyrs,” Civil Rights Movement Veterans, accessed 6 September 2012,

Jerry Mitchell, “Two-Thirds of 124 Civil Rights Cold Cases Closed,” Clarion Ledger, 7 November 2011,

Myrlie Evers, For Us the Living, Oxford, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi, 1967, 24-25, 205.

“William Roy Prather,” Civil Rights and Restorative Justice, 2012,

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