Marshall

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Mississippi Industrial College

Opened in 1905, the college now lies in disrepair. Many of the civil rights leaders attended this school. The school’s objectives were to provide literary and industrial training to black youth, to train young men and women in Christian ideals, and to furnish a practical education.

Sources:

http://micaai.org/

Wells, Ida B.

Ida B. Wells was a precursor to Rosa Parks, as she refused to give up her seat on a train. Her father was on the school board at Shaw University (later renamed Rust College in 1890), where she attended. Today Ida B. Wells is memorialized by the Ida B. Wells Art Museum.

Sources:

Wells, Ida. To Keep the Waters Troubled, published in 1998.

Rust College

Rust’s curriculum spanned from elementary education to normal school training for teachers

Desegregation in Marshall County

(1960s) Wazir Peacock was a SNCC field secretary in Mississippi and Alabama who attended Rust College. He describes the desegregation movement and its origins in Holly Springs:

“I went to Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi. I was in college when the sit-ins started in North Carolina, so we started right there on the campus. The little theater we used to go to downtown, the movie theater, the first thing we did was boycott it, because we were sitting up there in the balcony. It was separate. The college students provided 90% of the income for that theater, but we had to sit up there in this balcony separated from the main floor. So we did that successfully. So rather than integrate it, the owner of it, he closed it. He closed it, because he wasn’t going to step out there on his own and do something. Economically, he couldn’t go on running the movie without us, so he closed it. That was our first action. We got our feet wet. That was the first thing we did.”

Sources:

www.crmvet.org/nars/wazir1.htm

Civil Rights Marches and a Federal Lawsuit

(5/15/1968) Following the death of Martin Luther King, citizens in Holly Springs conducted a peaceful march from Rust College, proceeding through town to the courthouse. About 500 marchers attended and were entirely peaceful. No incidents were recorded. However, the march led a Holly Springs alderman to pass a law mandating notice of such marches. The laws limited groups to twenty persons and did not allow for any singing or chanting.

Following the law, groups still gathered and marched peacefully along the streets of Holly Springs, at times in numbers approaching 200 persons. On May 15, 1968, many persons involved in a march were arrested, leading to a federal lawsuit challenging the laws limiting the ability of these peaceful marches.

The demonstrators won the case and the laws were deemed unconstitutional in Robinson v. Coopwood, 292 F. Supp. 926 (N.D. Miss. 1968).

Sources:

Lynch, John Roy. Facts of Reconstruction. Neale publishing: 1913.

David M. Callejo-Perez. Southern Hospitality: Identity, Schools, and the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi, 1964–1972. New York: Peter Lang, 2001.

McMurry, Linda. To Keep the Waters Troubled. Oxford Press: 1998.

Campbell, Claire T. Civil Rights Chronicle: Letters From the South. 264 pp. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.

Levine, Ellen. Freedom’s Children: Young Civil Rights Activists Tell Their Own Stories. Penguin Putnam: 2000.

Revels, Hiram Rhodes

Hiram Revels was Mississippi’s first black senator. He is buried in Hillcrest Cemetery. He moved to Holly Springs in 1870 and later became the first African-American United States Senator. It has been said of Revels:

“The most accomplished black who was connected to Holly Springs was Hiram Rhodes Revels, the first black to hold the office of United States Senator in 1870-1871. He held the seat formerly held by Jefferson Davis. Even though he was a carpetbagger, he was admired for his opposition to the corruption that plagued the state government during this time. His eloquent letter to President Grant in 1874 on the subject of political corruption presents us with a rare window on the troubled times that followed the Civil War. He died in 1891 and was buried in Hillcrest Cemetery at Holly Springs.”

Sources:

http://www.d-a-c.com/HollySprings/town.htm

Freedom Schools in Marshall County

Holly Springs Freedom School Project was located at the corner of 100 Rust Avenue and North Memphis Street and was referred to as Freedom House. It was the headquarters for the voter registration movement in north Mississippi and the headquarters of the local Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). It was also called the COFO (Council of Federated Organizations) house by some locals.

Sources:

Lynch, John Roy. Facts of Reconstruction. Neale publishing: 1913.

David M. Callejo-Perez. Southern Hospitality: Identity, Schools, and the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi, 1964-1972. New York: Peter Lang, 2001.

McMurry, Linda. To Keep the Waters Troubled. Oxford Press: 1998.

Campbell, Claire T. Civil Rights Chronicle: Letters From the South. 264 pp. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.

Levine, Ellen. Freedom’s Children: Young Civil Rights Activists Tell Their Own Stories. Penguin Putnam: 2000.

Hill, James

“One of the slaves of Holly Springs, James Hill became Secretary of State of Mississippi from 1874-1878. He had served the family of James W. Hill, one of the town’s leading citizens. After his emancipation, Hill continued to maintain a cordial relationship with the family of his former owner with whom he shared both first and last names. He was admired for his competence as a public official and for his generosity to his former masters during their times of need. It is remarkable that his public service extended beyond the time of domination by the Radical Republicans and that he was reelected even after the mass disenfranchisement of Mississippi’s black community. During the Civil War he served as the personal servant to two of the Hill boys, John H. and W. B. Hill.”

Sources:

http://www.d-a-c.com/HollySprings/town.htm

Farmer Jr., James

Civil rights leader James Farmer, Jr. founded CORE (the Congress of Racial Equality). Farmer was one of thirteen Americans who received the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Bill Clinton in a White House ceremony on Jan. 15 1996. Farmer was raised in Holly Springs where his father served on faculty at Rust College.

Sources:

http://www.interchange.org/jfarmer.html