Leflore – People/Persons

Cromwell, Oliver

Oliver Cromwell was a primary organizer and leader of the Colored Farmers’ Alliance in Leflore County, MS. The Colored Farmers’ Alliance formed to create an organization for black farmers and farm workers who weren’t allowed membership in the whites-only Southern Farmers’ Alliance. In September 1889, a group of whites in Leflore County retaliated against what they saw as a threat to white businesses by black economic independence, threatening Cromwell, whose supporters responded by organizing a march. A 75 black men who stood up to the threats and vowed to protect Cromwell if he were attacked. There were reportedly 3,000 men ready to defend Cromwell. The sheriff, national guard, and white posse members hunted down black people in Leflore County that were purported to be associated with the Colored Farmers’ Alliance. Although Cromwell escaped and eventually fled the state, as many as 100 black men, women, and children were killed in what is known as the Leflore County Massacre.


“The Leflore County Massacre and the Demise of the Colored Farmer’s Alliance,” William F. Holmes, Phylon (1960-) Vol. 34, No. 3 (3rd Qtr., 1973), pp. 267-274

“Farmers’ Alliance and Colored Farmers’ Alliance”

“My Ancestor Died in the Leflore County Massacre”

Jordan, Cleve; Block, Sam; Bevel, James; and Moore, Amzie

Cleve Jordan of Greenwood, Sam Block and others like James Bevel of Itta Bena, Amzie Moore of Cleveland and Fannie Lou Hamer of Ruleville, were able to mobilize existing churches and civic organizations throughout the county and the Mississippi Delta, and blacks began to attempt to register in larger numbers. The reaction by local whites was violent. In Greenwood, a local SNCC office was attacked by an armed mob. Homes and businesses were burned. Bob Moses and Randolph Blackwell were shot at while traveling in a car. Worker Jimmie Travis was seriously hurt in the attack. Protestors and marchers were attacked by police dogs.


Parker, Frank. Black Votes Count: Political Empowerment in Mississippi After 1965.

Payne, Charles. I’ve Got the Light of Freedom.