Coahoma


Beating of Bessie Turner

(1960’s) Bessie Turner was arrested and beaten in jail. She was humiliated in jail by police who forced her to strip and then beat her over her buttocks and genitals. Turner claimed that her arrest arose out of her attempt to register to vote in a testimony in 1965. Medgar Evers and Aaron Henry tried […]

Blackwell, Unita

Unita Blackwell was a field worker for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), a prominent member of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), and a local elected official in Mayersville, Mississippi. Blackwell was born into a family of sharecroppers in Lula, Mississippi, (Coahoma County) in 1933. At an early age, Blackwell and her siblings were […]

Booker T. Washington School

Booker T. Washington School was a black school in the 1960s that taught first through fifth grade. Today it is no longer in operation. Sources: Payne, Charles M. I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: the Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle. Berkeley: University of California P, 1995. Henry, Aaron, and Curry Constance. Aaron Henry: […]

Coahoma County Federated Council of Organizations (CCFCO)

Coahoma County Federated Council of Organizations (CCFCO) was an “organizing screen” in which people who could not risk NAACP involvement could participate. Source: Crossroads at Clarksdale: The Black Freedom Struggle in the Mississippi Delta after World War II by Francoise Nicole Hamlin

Denzill Turner Murder

(1951) Denzill Turner was an epileptic black man who had a seizure at a local Greyhound bus station in Coahoma County. White men claimed that he was drunk and touching white women during his seizure, which they did not understand. The police were called and, upon arrival, attempted to restrain him. Turner broke free and […]

Fourth Street Pharmacy

Aaron Henry’s pharmacy located on corner of Ashton and Fourth. The pharmacy burned down in 1993. Sources: Payne, Charles M. I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: the Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle. Berkeley: University of California P, 1995. Henry, Aaron, and Curry Constance. Aaron Henry: the Fire Ever Burning. Jackson: University P of […]

Haven United Methodist Church

Aaron Henry’s church and site of the first Clarksdale NAACP. Haven served throughout the civil rights movement as a meeting place and safe house for activists. Located at 404 Yazoo Ave, Clarksdale. Sources: Payne, Charles M. I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: the Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle. Berkeley: University of California P, […]

Hazelton, Margaret Jo

Margaret Jo Hazelton, a native of Detroit, was a Freedom Summer volunteer who worked in the community center in Clarksdale. Source:http://www.lib.usm.edu/legacy/archives/m359.htm

Henry, Aaron

Aaron Henry, one of the most influential figures in the civil rights movement, grew up in Clarksdale (742 Garfield). Henry joined the military after attending high school in Clarksdale, and upon leaving the service he attended Xavier University and became a pharmacist. He opened a pharmacy in Clarksdale known as the Fourth Street Pharmacy. In […]

Louis Stapleton Murder

(1960) Louis Stapleton died in jail, most likely of a beating. The police claimed that he died of heat exhaustion. The matter was never resolved. Sources: Henry, Aaron, and Curry Constance. Aaron Henry: the Fire Ever Burning. Jackson: University P of Mississippi, 2000.

Myrtle Hall School

Myrtle Hall School was a black school during the segregation era that taught first through eighth grade. Still standing today. Sources: Payne, Charles M. I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: the Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle. Berkeley: University of California P, 1995. Henry, Aaron, and Curry Constance. Aaron Henry: the Fire Ever Burning. […]

Pigee, Vera Mae

Vera Mae Pigee was an active member of the Coahoma Chapter of the NAACP.  She helped Aaron Henry found the chapter and directed the Youth Council.  Under her leadership, black members of the Youth Council entered the whites-only train station, attempted to purchase tickets, and were arrested.  Pigee herself, along with other women in Clarksdale, […]

Zeman, Zoya

Zoya Zeman, a native of Virginia, was a Freedom Summer volunteer.  After training in Oxford, Ohio, she was assigned to work in the community center in Clarksdale. Source:http://www.lib.usm.edu/legacy/archives/m320.htm

Zwerling, Matthew

Matthew Zwerling was a Jewish Freedom Summer volunteer from New York. He was friends with Andrew Goodman with whom he was trained in Oxford, Ohio, and traveled to Mississippi in the summer of 1964. He was assigned to work in Clarksdale. Source:http://crdl.usg.edu/people/z/zwerling_matthew_1944/