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Magee, Sylvester

Sylvester Magee (May 29, 1841 – October 15, 1971), is believed to be the last surviving American slave. However, as there are no birth records, his actual date of birth cannot be proven. The oldest person ever on record lived to be 122, but if Magee was actually born in 1841, he would claim that title. Magee was born in slavery in North Carolina and was sold at the age of 19 in Enterprise, Mississippi, to work in Covington County. He escaped slavery and served in the Union Army during the Civil War. Some records show he might have served in the Confederate Army for a time as well. After the war, he returned to Mississippi. He died in 1971 in Columbia, MS. He is currently buried in an unmarked grave near Foxworth, MS.

Sources:
Leggett, Karrie. “Foxworth Residents Claim Resting Place of Last American Slave Discovered.” WDAM. 28 Nov. 2011. Web. <http://www.wdam.com/story/16136479/foxworth-residents-claim-resting-place-of-last-american-slave-discovered>.

Sylvester Magee.” Wikipedia. Web28 Nov. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sylvester_Magee>.

The Klan of Madison Co.

During Reconstruction, President Andrew Johnson sent a militia of approximately 100 blacks with a white captain to Canton. While the soldiers were there, the city marshal found it necessary to jail several of the men for drunkenness. When the other black soldiers heard of it, they demanded the release of their comrades. The jailer refused their demand, and the black soldiers beat him to death and released those who were jailed.

White vengeance for that violence was not long in coming. As they drilled in the courthouse square, they were attacked and overpowered by Klansmen. Black soldiers, both dead and alive, were loaded onto a freight car bound for the North. Because of such incidents, black soldiers were recalled from duty in the South.

In the confrontation between the Klansmen and the black soldiers, one Klan member –Hugh Lawson- was killed. The black man who shot Lawson was sentenced to life, but never made it to jail.

Sources:

Brown-Wright, Flonzie. Looking Back to Move Ahead Germantown, OH: FBW, 1994.

Cheeks-Collins, Jennifer E. Black America Series: Madison County, Mississippi Charleston: Arcadia, 2002.

Townsend Davis, Weary Feet, Rested Souls: A Guided History of the Civil Rights Movement New York: W.W. Norton, 1998.

Dittmer, John. Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994.

Mead, Carol Lynn. The Land Between Two Rivers: Madison County, Mississippi. Canton, MS: Friends of the Madison County—Canton Public Library, 1987.

Orr-Klopfer, M. Susan. Where Rebels Roost : Mississippi Civil Rights Revisited. (self-published) 2005.

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

Rimmer, U.S.

U.S. Rimmer was the first Black elected to a judgeship in Beat 5, Madison County.

Sources:

Brown-Wright, Flonzie. Looking Back to Move Ahead Germantown, OH: FBW, 1994.

Cheeks-Collins, Jennifer E. Black America Series: Madison County, Mississippi Charleston: Arcadia, 2002.

Townsend Davis, Weary Feet, Rested Souls: A Guided History of the Civil Rights Movement New York: W.W. Norton, 1998.

Dittmer, John. Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994.

Mead, Carol Lynn. The Land Between Two Rivers: Madison County, Mississippi. Canton, MS: Friends of the Madison County—Canton Public Library, 1987.

Orr-Klopfer, M. Susan. Where Rebels Roost : Mississippi Civil Rights Revisited. (self-published) 2005.

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

Canton Multicultural Center and Museum

The Canton Multicultural Center & Museum is a celebration of the diverse cultures and contributions of the citizens of Canton and Madison County to the history of the city, state, and nation. The permanent exhibit focuses on the history, family life, business and community life of African Americans and recounts their struggle for civil rights. The museum features an interactive video kiosk and large, eight-panel graphic displays spot- lighting Early Struggles, Agricultural, Business Success, School Days, Voting Victories, Freedom Triumphs, Community Spirit, and Family Ties.

Sources:

http://www.cantontourism.com

Susan Orr-Koplfer’s, “Where Rebels Roost.”

http://www.visitmississippi.net

CORE of Madison Co.

Canton organized office for Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in 1963.

Sources:

Brown-Wright, Flonzie. Looking Back to Move Ahead Germantown, OH: FBW, 1994.

Cheeks-Collins, Jennifer E. Black America Series: Madison County, Mississippi Charleston: Arcadia, 2002.

Townsend Davis, Weary Feet, Rested Souls: A Guided History of the Civil Rights Movement New York: W.W. Norton, 1998.

Dittmer, John. Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994.

Mead, Carol Lynn. The Land Between Two Rivers: Madison County, Mississippi. Canton, MS: Friends of the Madison County—Canton Public Library, 1987.

Orr-Klopfer, M. Susan. Where Rebels Roost : Mississippi Civil Rights Revisited. (self-published) 2005.

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

Freedom House of Madison

The Freedom House was used during the Civil Rights era to house Civil Rights workers who came to Madison County. Located on Lutz Street (now George Washington) in Canton, the house was donated to the freedom riders and other Civil Rights organizations by Mr. George Washington. The Freedom House was the target of bombings, vandalism, and threats during the Civil Rights movement.

Sources:

Brown-Wright, Flonzie. Looking Back to Move Ahead Germantown, OH: FBW, 1994.

Cheeks-Collins, Jennifer E. Black America Series: Madison County, Mississippi Charleston: Arcadia, 2002.

Townsend Davis, Weary Feet, Rested Souls: A Guided History of the Civil Rights Movement New York: W.W. Norton, 1998.

Dittmer, John. Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994.

Mead, Carol Lynn. The Land Between Two Rivers: Madison County, Mississippi. Canton, MS: Friends of the Madison County—Canton Public Library, 1987.

Orr-Klopfer, M. Susan. Where Rebels Roost : Mississippi Civil Rights Revisited. (self-published) 2005.

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

Lynchings of Madison County

(1886-1965) There were seven reported lynchings in Madison County, over the span of 1886-1965.

This list was comprised from A Partial List of Mississippi Lynchings compiled by the Tuskegee Institute. The list appears in Susan Orr- Klopfer’s Where Rebels Roost.

Name, Town, Date, Alleged Crime
Ben Chambers, Madison, May 7, 1886, Attempted Rape
Spencer Costello, Flora, Jan. 7, 1895, Murder & Robbery
Red Bilbro, Madison, Jan. 29, 1921, Murderous Assault
Claude Brooks, Canton, July 29, 1938, Assault
Joe Rogers, Canton, May 8, 1939,
Sylvester Maxwell, Canton, Jan, 17, 1963,
Allen W. Shelby, Flora, Jan. 22, 1965,

Sources:

Brown-Wright, Flonzie. Looking Back to Move Ahead Germantown, OH: FBW, 1994.

Cheeks-Collins, Jennifer E. Black America Series: Madison County, Mississippi Charleston: Arcadia, 2002.

Townsend Davis, Weary Feet, Rested Souls: A Guided History of the Civil Rights Movement New York: W.W. Norton, 1998.

Dittmer, John. Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994.

Mead, Carol Lynn. The Land Between Two Rivers: Madison County, Mississippi. Canton, MS: Friends of the Madison County—Canton Public Library, 1987.

Orr-Klopfer, M. Susan. Where Rebels Roost : Mississippi Civil Rights Revisited. (self-published) 2005.

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

Howcott Monument

This monument was created for slaves that went off to the Civil War with the Harvey Scouts from Madison. These slaves fought on the side of the Confederacy alongside their slave masters. They also served as servants on the battlefield. One loyal slave was individually recognized for his valor. The inscription on the monument reads, “A tribute to my faithful servant and friend, Willis Howcott, a colored boy of rare loyalty and faithfulness, whose memory I cherish with deep gratitude.”The monument is located at the 300 block of East Academy Street in Canton.

Sources:

Brown-Wright, Flonzie. Looking Back to Move Ahead Germantown, OH: FBW, 1994.

Cheeks-Collins, Jennifer E. Black America Series: Madison County, Mississippi Charleston: Arcadia, 2002.

Townsend Davis, Weary Feet, Rested Souls: A Guided History of the Civil Rights Movement New York: W.W. Norton, 1998.

Dittmer, John. Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994.

Mead, Carol Lynn. The Land Between Two Rivers: Madison County, Mississippi. Canton, MS: Friends of the Madison County—Canton Public Library, 1987.

Orr-Klopfer, M. Susan. Where Rebels Roost : Mississippi Civil Rights Revisited. (self-published) 2005.

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

Bowman, Sister Thea

Sister Thea Bowman (1937-1990) was born in Canton. She was a nationally and internationally known evangelist, teacher, gospel singer, writer, lecturer and advocate for justice and peace. She was the first African American woman to receive a Doctorate in Theology from Boston College. Sister Thea, a Francisan Sister of Perpetual Adoration, was the daughter of Dr. & Mrs. Theon Bowman of Canton and grew up in the community.

Sources:

Brown-Wright, Flonzie. Looking Back to Move Ahead Germantown, OH: FBW, 1994.

Cheeks-Collins, Jennifer E. Black America Series: Madison County, Mississippi Charleston: Arcadia, 2002.

Townsend Davis, Weary Feet, Rested Souls: A Guided History of the Civil Rights Movement New York: W.W. Norton, 1998.

Dittmer, John. Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994.

Mead, Carol Lynn. The Land Between Two Rivers: Madison County, Mississippi. Canton, MS: Friends of the Madison County—Canton Public Library, 1987.

Orr-Klopfer, M. Susan. Where Rebels Roost : Mississippi Civil Rights Revisited. (self-published) 2005.

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