Sunflower – People/Persons

Eastland, Senator James

Senator Eastland, born in Doddsville and known as “Slippery Jim,”served in the Senate in 1941 and from 1943 to 1972. His legacy is one of opposition to equal rights for all Mississippians. Before serving in the Senate, he was trained as a lawyer and served in the Mississippi House of Representatives. He opposed civil rights legislation, specifically denouncing Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Senator Eastland died on February 19, 1986, in Doddsville.

Sources:

Moye, J. Todd. Let the People Decide: Black Freedom and White Resistance Movements in Sunflower County, Mississippi. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.

McLaurin, Charles

In the 1960s, Charles McLaurin came to Ruleville as part of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), in order to register black voters. McLaurin initially worked out of the Williams Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, using it as an venue to meet local blacks and run a voter educational school. He had to stop using the church when Mayor Dorrough threatened to shut off the utilities and cut tax exemptions because the church was not being used solely for worship (Moye 101). McLaurin responded by going door to door, holding voter registration meetings in yards. McLaurin’s efforts, along with those of other SNCC workers, enabled many blacks to vote by helping them register in Indianola. During his work, McLaurin met Fannie Lou Hamer, who became a model spokeswoman for black voters.

Sources:

Moye, J. Todd. Let the People Decide: Black Freedom and White Resistance Movements in Sunflower County, Mississippi. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.

Campbell Jr., Milton

Inverness is the birthplace of the blues artist, Milton Campbell, Jr., also known as “Little Milton.” Born in Inverness in 1934, he grew up in Greenville. His song, “We’re Gonna Make It”was produced in 1965 and was inspired by the civil rights movement. He recorded with various record labels, including Sun and Stax, and he was initiated into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1988.

Sources:

Moye, J. Todd. Let the People Decide: Black Freedom and White Resistance Movements in Sunflower County, Mississippi. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.

King, Annie Mae

Annie Mae King helped African-Americans register to vote, and during Freedom Summer she housed white volunteers. As a result of her efforts she was fired from her job as a cook, and her home was bombed. Annie May King also was a teacher of Head Start, a federally funded educational program with the purpose of educating blacks and the poor (Olson).

Sources:

Moye, J. Todd. Let the People Decide: Black Freedom and White Resistance Movements in Sunflower County, Mississippi. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.

Olson, Lynne. Freedom’s Daughters: The Unsung Heroines of the Civil Rights Movement from 1830 to 1970. New York and London: Scribner, 2001.