Marshall – Persons

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.


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

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.”


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.”


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.