Coahoma

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Pigee, Vera Mae

Vera Mae Pigee was an active member of the Coahoma Chapter of the NAACP.  She helped Aaron Henry found the chapter and directed the Youth Council.  Under her leadership, black members of the Youth Council entered the whites-only train station, attempted to purchase tickets, and were arrested.  Pigee herself, along with other women in Clarksdale, desegregated the whites-only bus terminal by sitting in the waiting room day after day and appealing to the U.S. Department of Justice. After being threatened with a lawsuit, the bus terminal removed its “Whites Only” signs.

Source:
http://mshistorynow.mdah.state.ms.us/articles/369/1961-in-mississippi-beyond-the-freedom-riders

Coahoma County Federated Council of Organizations (CCFCO)

Coahoma County Federated Council of Organizations (CCFCO) was an “organizing screen” in which people who could not risk NAACP involvement could participate.

Source:
Crossroads at Clarksdale: The Black Freedom Struggle in the Mississippi Delta after World War II by Francoise Nicole Hamlin

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 ran down the street where he was shot to death in the back of the head. The three policemen called to the scene were exonerated by the Justice of the Peace. The police captain refused to suspend them.

Sources:

Henry, Aaron, and Curry Constance. Aaron Henry: the Fire Ever Burning. Jackson: University P of Mississippi, 2000.

Myrtle Hall School

Myrtle Hall School was a black school during the segregation era that taught first through eighth grade. Still standing today.

Sources:

Payne, Charles M. I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: the Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle. Berkeley: University of California P, 1995.

Henry, Aaron, and Curry Constance. Aaron Henry: the Fire Ever Burning. Jackson: University P of Mississippi, 2000.

Hazelton, Margaret Jo

Margaret Jo Hazelton, a native of Detroit, was a Freedom Summer volunteer who worked in the community center in Clarksdale.

Source:
http://www.lib.usm.edu/legacy/archives/m359.htm

Louis Stapleton Murder

(1960) Louis Stapleton died in jail, most likely of a beating. The police claimed that he died of heat exhaustion. The matter was never resolved.

Sources:

Henry, Aaron, and Curry Constance. Aaron Henry: the Fire Ever Burning. Jackson: University P of Mississippi, 2000.

Booker T. Washington School

Booker T. Washington School was a black school in the 1960s that taught first through fifth grade. Today it is no longer in operation.

Sources:

Payne, Charles M. I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: the Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle. Berkeley: University of California P, 1995.

Henry, Aaron, and Curry Constance. Aaron Henry: the Fire Ever Burning. Jackson: University P of Mississippi, 2000.

Zeman, Zoya

Zoya Zeman, a native of Virginia, was a Freedom Summer volunteer.  After training in Oxford, Ohio, she was assigned to work in the community center in Clarksdale.

Source:
http://www.lib.usm.edu/legacy/archives/m320.htm

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 to get an indictment by a grand jury in Oxford for police brutality but did not succeed.

Sources:

Henry, Aaron, and Curry Constance. Aaron Henry: the Fire Ever Burning. Jackson: University P of Mississippi, 2000.