Dr. Howard was a physician and prominent businessman in the 1940s and 1950s. Dr. Howard was the chief surgeon at the Knights and Daughters of Tabor Hospital located near Mound Bayou. Dr. Howard also opened the Magnolia Mutual Life Insurance Company in Mound Bayou as a way to provide insurance to poor blacks in the region. The Magnolia Mutual Life Insurance Company was one of the first black insurance companies in the state.
In addition to his various occupations, Howard was an avid civil rights activist. In the ’40s, along with Amzie Moore, Howard organized a gathering at Delta State called the Cotton Pickers’ Jubilee that 10,000 blacks from the area attended. This event would serve as the beginning of civil rights work and activism in the county.
Howard also founded the Regional Council of Negro Leadership (RCNL) in Cleveland in 1951. The RCNL grew strong in Cleveland, and it served an organizational role like that of the modern day NAACP. A great deal of work in the area that would come later occurred as a result of the planning and labor that went on in the RCNL.
Dittmer, John. “Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi.”University of Illinois Press: 1994.