Beam, Sally: Oral History

Sally Beam was a juror on the Grand Jury case against Edgar Ray Killen, the man responsible for the murders of the civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman. She begins by discussing how outsiders viewed Neshoba […]

Bender, Rita Schwerner

Rita Schwerner Bender was born in 1942 and is considered a key player and civil rights activist during the Freedom Summer of 1964. Rita Schwerner and her husband Michael Schwerner were native New Yorkers who moved to Meridian, Mississippi, in […]

Bogue Chitto Swamp

The burned 1963 blue Ford station wagon driven by the three missing civil rights workers (Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner) was found by a Choctaw Indian in the Bogue Chitto Swamp thirteen miles northeast of Philadelphia on Highway 21. Investigating officers […]

Booker T. Washington School

The first school for black children in the city of Philadelphia was held in the Black Masonic Lodge just off Wilson Street. Mr. and Mrs. Ed Stephens organized the school with Mrs. Stephens being one of the first teachers. The […]

COFO of Neshoba County

The COFO office was located on Carver Avenue. COFO was a coordinating body for civil rights movement efforts in Mississippi during the Freedom Summer. The Neshoba office was housed in a building originally owned by Calloway Cole of Longdale and […]

Carver Avenue

Carver Avenue was named after George Washington Carver, a prominent African-American. It is the “main street”of the predominantly African-American community in Philadelphia. Most black businesses were located on Carver Avenue during the civil rights movement and remain there today. Sources: […]

Chaney, James

James Chaney (1943-1964) was an activist during the Civil Rights Movement, fighting for voting rights for African Americans. He joined the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in 1963 and was part of a campaign for voter registration and desegregation known […]

Charles Evers Funeral Home

In the 1950s, this building housed a funeral home operated by Charles Evers, brother of Medgar Evers, who urged blacks to register to vote. He also ran a taxi company and hotel. The hotel was located next to the COFO […]

Cole, J.R. (Bud)

Mr. Cole was one of several Mt. Zion United Methodist Church members who was beaten by the Klansmen on the night of June 16, 1964, the same night the church was burned. Mr. Cole suffered permanent nerve damage to his […]

Cole, James (Jim)

Jim Cole was Sunday school teacher and steward at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church and the brother of the J.R. (Bud) Cole. He was at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church for the church meeting, but he was not beaten the […]

Coleman, Chief Kenneth

Mr. Coleman was born in Neshoba County and attended Booker T. Washington Elementary. He is a graduate of Philadelphia High School. In 1977, after college, he became a firefighter for the City of Philadelphia. He has served as the Fire […]

Coles and Jones Cleaners

Calloway Cole owned the building located on Beacon Street which was the first black dry cleaners in downtown Philadelphia. Curtis “Threefoot”Cole, Calloway Cole’s brother, operated the dry cleaners. Mr. Calloway Cole also owned the building that housed the former COFO […]

Collier, Reverend Clinton

Reverend Clinton Collier, a dynamic Methodist Minister from the Laurel Hill Community, was deeply involved in the civil rights movement in Neshoba County. He taught social studies at Carver School near Philadelphia. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he […]

Cox, Nettie Ann: Oral History

Nettie Ann Cox was raised in Neshoba County, Mississippi, by a single mother. Cox vividly remembers the events of the Freedom Summer of 1964, from the efforts of the COFO workers to the burning of Mt. Zion Church and the […]

DeWeese Lumber Company

The DeWeese Sawmill and Mercantile Store, owned by A. B. DeWeese, came to Philadelphia with the railroad in 1905. DeWeese Lumber Company was one of the largest employers of African-Americans in the county. In 1966, DeWeese Lumber Company was sold […]

Dearman, Stanley: Oral History

Stanley Dearman was born in raised in Lauderdale County Mississippi. He joined the navy after community college then returned to attend the University of Mississippi. After graduation he began working at the Neshoba Democrat, where he would serve as editor […]

Deemer Lumber Company

At Deemer Lumber Company, the work force was evenly divided between blacks and whites. Because of working side by side, many good relationships grew between the races. Sources: Neshoba County: African-American Heritage Driving Tour of Philadelphia Mississippi.

Freedom Schools in Neshoba County

As part of Freedom Summer, COFO helped create “Freedom Schools”in communities across the state. Freedom Schools were designed to provide traditional instruction in reading, writing, and arithmetic, along with an awareness of black history and politics. The students were encouraged […]

George Washington Carver – Hopewell

The school was located on County Road 553. In 1928, the black farmers in the Hopewell Community decided to build a school that was the first black high school. The Rosenwald Foundation covered half the expense for construction. A local […]

Goodman, Andrew

Andrew Goodman (1943-1964) was a participant in the Freedom Summer movement of 1964.  He originally got his start in the civil rights movement after graduating from Walden School.  He was from the Upper West Side of New York; however, he […]

Head Start Schools of Neshoba County

Head Start is a pre-school program for disadvantaged children that grew out of the civil rights movement. It was funded by President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty program in the late 1960s. There were several Head Start centers located in […]

Henry Latimer’s Grocery

Mr. Henry Latimer was the first black person to own and operate a grocery store and service station, pictured below, on Northwest Street in Philadelphia. He operated this business for more than twenty years. He also owned and operated a […]

Jackson, Luther

On Oct. 30, 1959, Luther Jackson was murdered by then Philadelphia, Mississippi policeman Lawrence Rainey. Rainey was not prosecuted. He went on to become Neshoba County Sheriff and was accused of playing a role in the cover up of the […]

Jones, Lillie

The Jones House was located at 241 Carver Avenue. Lillie “Aunt Lil”Jones encouraged the civil rights movement from her front porch rocking chair across the street from the COFO office. Here house was an ideal lookout post for cars coming […]

Kirkland, Earnest

Earnest Kirkland was born May 10, 1934. Mr. Kirkland was one of the last people to see the three civil rights workers alive. After their deaths, he continued participating in the civil rights movement. He, along with Fred Black, Burline […]

Kotz, David: Oral History

David Kotz was a volunteer working for COFO (Council of Federated Organizations) during the summer of 1964. After twelve hours of being in Mississippi, Kotz and five other volunteers were left in charge of the COFO office in Meridian, while […]

Lee, Reverend Clay F.: Oral History

Laurel, MS native Reverend Clay F. Lee discusses his introduction and rise into religion and clergymen of Mississippi. Upon the murders of the three civil rights workers, he talks about to what extent it affected his preaching. Lee mentions incidents […]

Longdale High School

Longdale High School, located near Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, was built in 1948. The people of Mt. Zion and the neighboring Poplar Springs Community borrowed $7,000 from a white Philadelphia businessman and were granted $5,000 from the state. A […]

Mars, Florence

Florence Mars (1923-2006) was a native Mississippian who spent much of her life in Neshoba County. She graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1944. Upon graduation Mars traveled and lived in various southern cities, such as Atlanta and New […]

Matthews, Carolyn: Oral History

Carolyn Matthews was born in 1946 in Philadelphia, MS, which she describes as a normal, quiet, small town.  Her father was a policeman, and her mother was a dressmaker.  Because her parents worked most of the time, she was raised […]

McLelland’s Cafe

Mrs. Mamie McClelland established McClelland’s Cafe, located at 245 Carver Avenue, in the early 40’s. The business operated for a while from a small covered truck trailer and served as a community cafe. The cafe later moved to a building […]

Miller, T.J.

T.J. Miller was one of the ten people gathered at Mt. Zion Baptist Church for a finance meeting on June 16, 1964. After the meeting was dismissed, he followed the Steele family in his car. He was also stopped by […]

Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians

Trust land was designated for use by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians in 1939, and their Constitution and By-Laws were passed in 1945.The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and their affiliates now contribute directly and indirectly nearly $4.9 million […]

Molpus Lumber Company

Richard H. Molpus started the Molpus Lumber Company in 1905. Richard Henderson Molpus operated the company until it was sold to Louisiana-Pacific in 1984. It provided jobs to large portions of the African-American community in Philadelphia. Sources: Neshoba County: African-American […]

Moore’s Cafe

In the summer of 1969, Mr. Lawrence Payne built Moore’s Cafe. It was originally built as a florist shop and later became Moore’s Cafe. The cafe operated by Mr. Ervin Moore, was located on Atkins Street. Sources: Neshoba County: African-American […]

Mt. Nebo Missionary Baptist Church

Mt. Nebo Missionary Baptist Church is located at 257 Carver Avenue. When the civil rights workers first come to Philadelphia, Mt. Nebo was the only church that would allow CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) to hold mass meetings to register […]

Mt. Zion United Methodist Church

Mt. Zion United Methodist Church is located off Highway 16 East on County Road 747. On June 16, 1964, a routine meeting of church officers was held. As the officers were leaving the church, Klansmen met them outside and ordered […]

Nanih Waiya Indian Mennonite Church

Nanih Waiya Indian Mennonite Church was a congregation of Choctaw Mennonites in Neshoba County that suffered three bombings between September 1964 and December 1966.  The bombings took place against the backdrop of the Freedom Summer murders of James Chaney, Andrew […]

Neshoba Central High

The school is located at 1125 Golf Course Road, south of Highway 16 East. Neshoba Central School was built in 1963 to serve the white students who lived in the county. Students from the Stallo Community who first attended an […]

Neshoba County Data Dashboard

Demographic data that helps add context to many historical events.

Neshoba County Jail

In 1964, the Neshoba County Jail was located at 422 Myrtle Street. This is where the three civil rights workers (Goodman, Chaney, Schwerner) were taken and held when arrested on June 21. They were later released around 10:30 P.M. to […]

Nichols, Ajatha: Oral History

Ajatha Nichols grew up in a family of four in Philadelphia, Mississippi. Throughout her education she experienced integration, the murders of the civil rights workers, and the gaining of voting rights for black Americans then expresses her feelings toward the […]

Philadelphia High School

Philadelphia High School was an all-white school until Ajatha Morris Nichols, Carrie Lee Hoskins, and Irma Carter integrated it under the “Freedom of Choice Plan.”The school was fully integrated by a Supreme Court order in January 1970. During that year, […]

Road 515 or “Rock Cut Road”

The murder site of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner is located off Highway 19 South at the intersection of County Roads 515 and 284. Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner were released from jail around 10:30 P.M., and a convoy of cars filled […]

Rush, Georgia and her son Rush Jr., John Thomas

Georgia Rush and her family were members of Mt. Zion United Methodist church. Mrs. Rush and her son, J.T., attended the church finance meeting on Tuesday evening, June 16, 1964. As Mrs. Rush and her son were leaving, armed Klansmen […]

Stallo Community

The Stallo Community is located in the northern part of Neshoba County. In the 1960s, concerned citizens in their community decided to organize their own civil rights organization and met on a monthly basis, or as often as needed. Many […]

Steele, Cornelius

On June 16, 1964, Cornelius Steele, with his wife Mable and their two children, were four of the ten people gathered at Mt. Zion Church for a regular finance meeting. The meeting ended about 9:00 that night. Cornelius and his […]

Talley, Pete

Mr. Talley was the NAACP President in 1989 when the Neshoba County Board of Supervisors redistricted Neshoba County, making District 5 a predominantly African-American community, thus giving blacks more influence in county politics. In that same year, he was very […]

Tention, Helen: Oral History

Helen Tention, a teacher and a mother during the Civil Rights Movement, remembers well the impact that segregation and the process of desegregation had on the children in her community. She discusses the murders of the three civil rights workers […]

The Busy Bee Cafe

The Busy Bee Cafe and Barber Shop, located at 414 Church Avenue and owned by Mr. & Mrs. Millard Kirkland, were the first black-owned businesses in Philadelphia. Mr. Kirkland operated the barbershop while Mrs. Kirkland served soul food to black […]

The Murder of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner

On June 21, 1964, three young civil rights workers were murdered in Neshoba County. The trio had come here to investigate the burning of the Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in the Longdale Community off Highway 16 East. The night […]

The Philadelphia Coalition

The Philadelphia Coalition is a multiracial group of concerned local citizens that was formed around a call for justice in the case of the three civil rights workers–James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael “Mickey” Schwerner–who were murdered in Neshoba County, […]

Tisdale, Eva M.: Oral History

Eva M. Tisdale is a native of Clarke County. She moved to Philadelphia in 1965 to work in the COFO office. She graduated from Mississippi State University with a degree in social work. She is a social worker with the […]

Wells, Thelma Moore: Oral History

Thelma Moore Wells grew up in the rural area of Neshoba County, twelve miles north of Philadelphia, Mississippi. She was raised on a farm with 15 siblings, her mother and father. Her father owned the land where they grew their […]

Young, James

Born and raised in Neshoba County, James Young was the only black sixth grader at Neshoba Central Elementary School in 1967. He and several other children integrated Neshoba County schools under the “Freedom of Choice Plan.”He went on to become […]

Young, James: Oral History

James Young grew up in rural Neshoba County where he and his family lived off the land. He and several other children integrated Neshoba County schools under the “Freedom of Choice Plan.” He was nine years old when the civil […]