Sharkey


Alexander, Sidney

Sidney Alexander and his wife Fanny were natives of Sharkey County and rights activists. In addition to serving as an administrator for anti-poverty programs, Alexander was active in voter registration efforts and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. In 1967, Alexander was a co-plaintiff in the Willis v. Carson suit. Willis v. Carson challenged the state […]

Boolens, Peter

Peter Boolens was an activist who, following graduation from medical school, moved to Cary, Mississippi, in Sharkey County and established a health center in 1972. The health center went on to expand into health cooperatives across Sharkey County. Sources: “Mississippi on the Mind and Cuba.”W.T. Whitney, Jr. People’s Weekly World. http://www.pww.org/article/articleview/11001/1/370

Decell, Hal

Hal Decell was the editor, publisher, and co-owner of the “Deer Creek Pilot”, Sharkey County’s newspaper of widest circulation, for thirty-nine years, including the civil rights era. The “Deer Creek Pilot”is based in Rolling Fork, Mississippi. Born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Decell and his wife, the daughter of newspaper owners, bought a portion of the “Deer […]

Delta Ministry

The Delta Ministry was formed by the NCC (National Council of Churches) in 1964 to hold grassroots training sessions for sharecroppers on the importance of voting, political activism, and community communication. In Sharkey County and throughout the Delta, the Delta Ministry fought for Head Start programs, increased healthcare quality, and affordable housing. The Delta Ministry […]

Delta Ministry in Sharkey Co.

The Delta Ministry was formed by the NCC (National Council of Churches) in 1964 to hold grassroots training sessions for sharecroppers on the importance of voting, political activism, and community communication. In Sharkey County and throughout the Delta, the Delta Ministry fought for Head Start programs, increased healthcare quality, and affordable housing. The Delta Ministry […]

Freedom Schools in Sharkey County

Freedom Schools were established by rights activists to provide high quality educators to underserved areas. In Sharkey and Issaquena Counties, Freedom Schools were started in the mid-1960s to ensure students who were suspended for wearing pro-SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) paraphernalia still had the opportunity to attend public school. Sources: “Council of Federated Organizations (COFO).”King […]

Lillie Willis and Sidney Alexander v. Joe Carson et al.

(1966) In February 1966, Lillie Willis and Sidney Alexander, natives of Sharkey County, filed suit alleging discrimination based on race and gender in the selection of jury members. Specifically, they called into question the explicit exclusion of women from juries written into statute and the ability of county boards of supervisors to appoint jury members […]

McInnis, Hattie V.J.

McInnis was the first music teacher of Leontyne Price and the first minority columnist for the Laurel Leader-Call (then known as the Laurel Daily Leader). She and her husband owned a funeral parlor on Meridian Avenue in northeast Laurel. Her weekly column “News for the Colored Reader”ranged from calendars of social events to essays critical […]

NCC in Sharkey County

The NCC is a confederation of churches of various denominations that took part in lobbying Congress for civil rights reforms in the 1960s and ’70s. In Mississippi, the NCC created the Delta Ministry, which played an important role in the lives of Sharkey and Issaquena County activists and sharecroppers. The NCC also was active in […]

Panther Burn Plantation

The black church inside Panther Burn Plantation served as a meeting place for many civil rights organizers, including the COFO, in and around Sharkey County. Source: Mississippi Sovereignty Commission, Mississippi Department of Archives & History

Rosenthal, Sam

Sam Rosenthal was the Jewish mayor of Rolling Fork, MS, county seat of Sharkey County. He served uncontested from 1924 to 1969. As mayor, he modernized the town’s electricity and improved the library and school systems. Sources: Institute of Southern Jewish Life

Sharkey Underground

Newspaper published in Sharkey County beginning in the 1960s to cover civil rights issues and news.

Skates, John R.

John Ray Skates was a noted political and military historian born in Sharkey County in 1934. He served as a professor of history at the University of Southern Mississippi and President of the Mississippi Historical Society. His “Mississippi: A Bicentennial History”includes coverage of the civil rights era. Sources: http://www.olemiss.edu/mwp/onthisday/october/index.html