Monroe – Places

Freedman’s Town of Aberdeen

Aberdeen was established prior to the Civil War in 1837. During slavery, there were several free blacks that lived in the community. Laws were then passed in Mississippi that would discourage free blacks from living in town before the Civil War. This caused many blacks to leave the town out of fear. However, for those who could not leave until after the war or those who did not want to leave, there developed a settlement below Burnett Street. This community was first called “Freedman’s Town,”then later “Out South”.

Federal Housing Grant Controversy

In 1963, the town of Aberdeen was given a grant to build public housing with proper electricity, water and sewage capabilities. This was to be used in Aberdeen’s poorest section of town, which happened to be in a black neighborhood. In early February, a mayoral candidate for Aberdeen, Ray Tolar, blasted the housing project saying that these people shouldn’t be given these utility services unless they pay taxes. The local paper defended the project, stating that it was an opportunity for the city to relieve some of its poorest citizens.

Sources:

“Public Housing”, Aberdeen Examiner, February 14, 1963