Leake – Persons

Hudson, Winson

Winson Hudson was born on November 17, 1916, in Harmony, Mississippi, a rural town in the Leake County. Winson spent much of her life striving to improve local health care and early childhood education services in Leake County. In 1963 Winson helped instigate a Justice Department investigation that toppled the state literacy requirement that had effectively barred blacks from registering to vote for decades. Winson also conducted a voter registration drive after the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which suspend literacy tests and provided federal voting registrars, and helped register over 500 black Mississippians. During one of the many attempts to register to vote Winson was slipped a card that read “the eyes of the Klu Klux Klan are on you”. Winson even dealt with the fire bombing of her own home by the Klu Klux Klan.

Winson also helped bring the Head Start preschool program that provided education and nutrition for children to Leake County in the 1960s. She directed the Head Start until her retirement in the 1980s. Winson commissioned for the first telephone lines in Leake County, which became a vital tool of communicating and organizing around the movement. In 1976 Winson and the NAACP filed a letter of complaint to the Office of Revenue Sharing in Washington, DC, claiming that the reason for the unpaved roads in Harmony, Mississippi, was due to the all black community.
After decades of fighting to correct the injustices imposed on African-Americans in the South, Winson died on April 24th, 2004.

Sources:

Hudson, Winson, Constance Curry, and Derrick Bell. “Mississippi Harmony: Memoirs of a Freedom Fighter.”Macmillan: 2003.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE5DD153CF93AA35756C0A9629C8B63

Hudson, Dovie

Winson Hudson’s sister Dovie was also very active in the pursuit for civil rights. In 1963 Winson and Dovie collaborated efforts with the influential civil rights leader Medgar Evers to establish the Leake County chapter of the NAACP. One of Winson and Dovie’s greatest achievements in the fight for equality occurred in 1964 when they filed a lawsuit to desegregate Leake County schools. It was the first federal court suit to be brought up from rural Mississippi. White supremacists retaliated against the Hudson sister’s activity by using their influence over the area banks to foreclose on their homes. Winson invited the Farmers Housing Administration to survey the situation and then testified before the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.

Sources:

Hudson, Winson, Constance Curry, and Derrick Bell. “Mississippi Harmony: Memoirs of a Freedom Fighter.”Macmillan: 2003.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE5DD153CF93AA35756C0A9629C8B63