Lowndes

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Sandfield Cemetary

In 1865, the year the Civil War ended, the population of Columbus was 6,000. By 1870 with the emancipation of slaves, that number had ballooned to 9,000. Most of those freed slaves settled in Sandfield, an area sandwiched between the Frisco Railroad (21st Street) and 25th Street and bordered on the north by Highway 182. The most prominent feature of the district is the cemetery that bears the same name.

Several notable African-Americans are buried there, among them Robert Gleed Sr., a state legislator and activist, and W.I. Mitchell, the first black principal in Columbus.

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African American Heritage Driving Tour of Lowndes County

Stringer, Dr. E.J.

Dr. E.J. Stringer was president of the state NAACP, and, at one time, had his dental office in an upstairs office on Catfish Alley as did Dr. Isaac Brown, the first African American doctor in Columbus.

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African American Heritage Driving Tour of Lowndes County

Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church

Shiloh was organized by Christian slaves. Land for the church was chartered in 1821.

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African American Heritage Driving Tour of Lowndes County

Union Academy

The first free school for African-Americans in Columbus, established in 1877.

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African American Heritage Driving Tour of Lowndes County

Missionary Union Baptist Church

Missionary Union Baptist is the oldest African-American Baptist church in northeast Mississippi. Organized in 1833. M.U. was and continues to be a dominant force in the black community.

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African American Heritage Driving Tour of Lowndes County

Concord CME Church

African-American church established in Lowndes County following the Civil War in 1867. The congregation met beneath a large tree prior to building in 1908.

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African American Heritage Driving Tour of Lowndes County

The Haven

The Haven is an antebellum structure built by two brothers, Isaac and Thomas Williams. Both were free men of color, black men who were not slaves. When the Williams brothers settled here in 1840 there were about 1,200 free men of color in Mississippi. About 10% of these – the Williams brothers among them – owned slaves. As a way to preserve their families, some of these free men of color owned their wives and children as slaves.

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African American Heritage Driving Tour of Lowndes County

Catfish Alley

In the late 19th and early 20th century Catfish Alley was the nexus of black commercial life in Columbus. Though historians are uncertain of how the block-long strip got its name, theories include the tendency of African-American commercial fishermen to sell their wares on the sidewalk and the smell of frying catfish that resulted. A less plausible theory holds the name was inspired by the Catfish Row of George and Ira Gershwin’s wildly popular 1927 musical, Porgy and Bess.

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African American Heritage Driving Tour of Lowndes County