Tunica

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Sugar Ditch

In 1985 Jessie Jackson came to Tunica County, Mississippi. He proclaimed Tunica, Mississippi, to be “America’s Ethiopia”because of its rank as one of the poorest Counties in the United States. Jackson went to an area known as Sugar Ditch in Tunica where many poor African Americans were living under the poverty line without indoor plumbing or electricity.

Sources:

Lights in the Delta. Dir. Molly Blank. UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, 2004.

School Desegregation

Before desegregation, black children attended plantation schools. The plantation schools were usually one room schools, and they only ran for six months of the year. These types of schools continued all the way until the 1960’s. The teachers were hired by the local school districts, but they were treated with disrespect. On paydays the teachers would meet at the courthouse to receive their checks, but before being able to receive their checks they were forced to sing Negro spirituals. Edna Carpenter, a plantation school teacher, put it all bluntly when she said “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” was [the whites] favorite and we hated it. The whites thought relations between the races were just fine, but the black teachers saw it much differently. While black students attended plantation school white folks were attending the neat, red-brick schools on School Street in Tunica.

Winter 1969 was the pinnacle point in desegregation in Tunica County. When the two groups were forced to attend school together, the white community decided to leave the public schools rather than desegregate. The white students eventually formed the Tunica Institute of Learning. The poor white students that could not afford to go the all white academy were forced to drop out or move away. The white students continued to use the school district books that year, and 19 of the 25 teachers quit the public schools to teach their white students.
Patty Sue Tucker was one of the white teachers who decided to continue to teach in the public school. She, along with five other white school teachers, was initially rejected to teach in the public school, and it was not until [she] threatened to go to the Memphis newspaper

Jackson, Jessie

In 1985 Jessie Jackson came to Tunica County, Mississippi. He proclaimed Tunica, Mississippi to be “America’s Ethiopia”because of its rank as one of the poorest Counties in the United States. As well Jackson went to an area known as Sugar Ditch in Tunica where many poor African Americans were living under the poverty line without indoor plumbing or electricity.

Sources:

Lights in the Delta. Dir. Molly Blank. UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, 2004.

Rosa Fort School

Tunica’s high school for black students. It replaced all of the former plantation schools and served 3,000 black students in the 1960s.

Sources:

http://www.aliciapatterson.org/APF1802/Parker/Parker.html

Desegregation in Tunica County

(1960s) Before desegregation, black children attended plantation schools. The plantation schools were usually one room schools, and they only ran for six months of the year. These types of schools continued all the way until the 1960s. The teachers were hired by the local school districts, but they were treated with disrespect. On paydays the teachers would meet at the courthouse to receive their checks, but before being able to receive their checks they were forced to sing Negro spirituals. Edna Carpenter, a plantation school teacher, put it all bluntly when she said “Swing Low Sweet Chariot was [the whites] favorite and we hated it.”The whites thought relations between the races were just fine, but the black teachers saw it much differently. While black students attended plantation school, white folks were attending “the neat, red-brick schools on School Street in Tunica.”

Desegregation took place in Tunica County in the winter of 1969. When the two groups were forced to attend school together the white community decided to leave the public schools rather than desegregate. Several white families eventually formed the Tunica Institute of Learning. The poor white students that could not afford to go the all white academy dropped out, moved to the public school, or moved away. The white students continued to use the school district books that year, and nineteen of the twenty-five teachers quit the public schools to teach their white students.
Patty Sue Tucker was one of the white teachers who decided to continue to teach in the public school. She and five other white school teachers were initially rejected to teach in the public school. It was not until “[she] threatened to go to the Memphis newspaper”that the school board allowed her to teach black students.

Today the overwhelming majority of black students go to public schools in Tunica, and the majority of white students continue to go to Tunica Institute for Learning.

Sources:

http://www.aliciapatterson.org/APF1802/Parker/Parker.html

Grant, Joseph

According to the 1959 State Sovereignty Commission Report, Joseph Grant was a local plumber, who “attempted to organize the NAACP in 1954, but:considerable economic pressure was placed on Grant, and he could get no trade among the white people. As a result he almost starved.”

Sources:

Sovereignty Commission Online: http://mdah.state.ms.us/arlib/contents/er/sovcom/

Dulaney Jr., John

A local attorney, Mr. Dulaney was the first President and one of the founders of the local White Citizens Council.

Sources:

Sovereignty Commission Online: http://mdah.state.ms.us/arlib/contents/er/sovcom/

Grand, J.V.

Local Civil Right Leader.

Sources:

Sovereignty Commission Online: http://mdah.state.ms.us/arlib/contents/er/sovcom/

Norwood, Calvin

Civil rights leader and President of the local NAACP durring civil rights era.

Sources:

Sovereignty Commission Online: http://mdah.state.ms.us/arlib/contents/er/sovcom/