SNCC began in 1960 as an organization of students concerned with the lack of equality and social justice in the United States. SNCC organized local volunteers for protests and voter registration drives, among other things, in Issaquena County. Source: “SNCC: 1960-1966.” http://www.ibiblio.org/sncc/
Born in 1881, Henry Sias was a prominent member of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP). After serving in World War I, Sias returned home to Issaquena County and worked as a teacher and farmer for the next four decades. By 1964 when the first civil rights organizers came to Issaquena County, Sias owned 160 […]
W.E. Mollison was an early leader for equal rights in Mississippi and served as historical inspiration for noted activists like Henry Sias and Unita Blackwell. W.E. Mollison was born in 1859 near Mayersville, Mississippi. Following attendance at Fisk University and Oberlin College, Mollison returned home and worked as a newspaper editor, served as superintendent of […]
The MFDP grew out of protest against the lack of diversity among the party elite of the Mississippi Democratic Party. Several Issaquena County leaders, including Unita Blackwell, Henry Sias, and Minnie Ripley, were active in the MFDP. Sources: “Council of Federated Organizations (COFO).”King Encyclopedia. http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/about_king/encyclopedia/cofo.htm “An Oral History with Honorable Unita Blackwell.”Civil Rights in Mississippi: […]
(Date of Event: 1965-1966) On January 29, 1965, roughly thirty students at Henry Weathers High School (an all black public school in Issaquena County) began wearing SNCC paraphernalia to school. When the students were reprimanded by school administrators, an outpouring of support from other students and outside leaders occurred. Ultimately 300 students were suspended from […]
Clarence Hall, Jr. was a local activist who made some of the first inquiries into an NAACP law suit against the Issaquena County Board of Education for the suspension of students wearing pro-SNCC materials in 1965. Following the ruling in Blackwell v. Issaquena that black students could not be prohibited from attending white schools, Hall […]
COFO was a coalition of organizations such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) under the direction of Bob Moses. COFO registered black residents of Issaquena County beginning in 1962 to vote in the 1964 presidential election. Sources: […]
The Delta Ministry was formed by the NCC in 1964 to hold grassroots training sessions for sharecroppers on the importance of voting, political activism, and community communication. In Issaquena County and throughout the Delta, the Delta Ministry fought for the Head Start program, increased healthcare quality, and affordable housing. The Delta Ministry is often credited […]
Thelma Barnes was an activist for the Delta Ministry throughout the 1960s and ’70s. Barnes was born in Issaquena County. After college graduation, Barnes worked as a management analyst at the Greenville Air Force Base and as secretary to Bishop Charles Golden of Nashville, Tennessee. Barnes spent a year in Nashville on Bishop Golden’s staff, […]
Reed served as a grassroots organizer and voter registration activist for Unita Blackwell during the “Freedom Summer”of 1964 and throughout the Civil Rights movement. Sources: “An Oral History with Honorable Unita Blackwell.”Civil Rights in Mississippi: Digital Archive. 1977. http://www.lib.usm.edu/%7Espcol/crda/oh/blackwell.htm “Barfootin’.”Unita Blackwell and JoAnne Prichard Morris. Crown Publishers. 2006.
The NCC is a confederation of churches of various denominations that took part in lobbying Congress for civil rights reforms in the 1960s and ’70s. In Mississippi, the NCC created the Delta Ministry, which played an important role in the lives of Issaquena County activists and sharecroppers. The NCC also was active in establishing prison […]
Freedom Schools were established by rights activists to provide high quality educators to underserved areas. In Sharkey and Issaquena Counties, Freedom Schools were started in the mid-1960s to ensure students who were suspended for wearing pro-SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) paraphernalia still had the opportunity to attend public school.
Fleming, an Army veteran, worked as a voter registration activist during the “Freedom Summer”of 1964. Sources: “An Oral History with Honorable Unita Blackwell.”Civil Rights in Mississippi: Digital Archive. 1977. http://www.lib.usm.edu/%7Espcol/crda/oh/blackwell.htm
Minnie Ripley, known as “Momma Rip”in Issaquena County, was among the first symbolic black members of the Mayersville community to register to vote and was an involved activist at the local, state, and national levels. Born in 1900 in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Ripley was raised in Mount Level, Mississippi, (Issaquena County) by her grandparents who were […]
Clarence Hall, Jr. was a local activist and Issaquena County native who made some of the first inquiries into an NAACP law suit against the Issaquena County Board of Education for the suspension of students wearing pro-SNCC materials in 1965. Following the ruling in Blackwell v. Issaquena that black students in Issaquena and Sharkey Counties […]
Charles Cobb was a political activist in Springfield, Massachusetts, through his church, St. John’s United Church of Christ. His reputation for community organization led him to the Mississippi Delta in the 1960s when he worked on behalf of SNCC, the Greenville Student Movement, and various ecumenical rights-oriented organizations. Cobb began organization efforts in Sharkey County […]