As of 1961, only two black people were registered to vote in Sharkey County. In 1964, several COFO workers were arrested for demonstrating, and COFO activity had been noticed in and around Sharkey County. COFO organized a boycott of a black school in Sharkey County in 1965 due to the administration’s refusal to allow students to wear Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee buttons. There was a notable presence of Jewish settlers in the town of Rolling Fork, the seat of Sharkey County, as early as 1870. Sam Rosenthal, son of Russian Jewish immigrants, served as mayor of Rolling Fork from 1924 to 1969. Today, Sharkey county is 70.7% black, 28.4% white, .1% Native American, and .3% Asian. 1.3% of the population identifies as Hispanic and/or Latino.