Bates, Fred

Mr. Fred Bates was very active in the McComb Movement, especially at the time of the 1961 black school student walk-out in protest of the school principal’s refusal to re-admit Brenda Travis. Mr. Bates owned a gasoline station, bus and taxi transportation service, and he transported people to visit Brenda Travis in detention at Oakley. […]

Bennett, Izeal: Oral History

Izeal Bennett, a native of Mississippi, lived in a home with thirteen siblings, his mother, and his father. His father was a sharecropper, and the children were responsible for helping him the crops. When Bennett was nine years old, he and his family moved to Summit, Mississippi. After two years, the Bennetts again moved to […]

Black History Gallery Inc

This gallery was started by Ms. Hilda Casin, and admission is free. It houses a variety of African and African-American artifacts, pictures, books, charts, and historical materials.

Bryant, C.C.

NAACP stalwart C.C. Bryant and his wife, Emogene, have lived in the same home for more than fifty years. Bryant’s barbershop, which was adjacent to the home, was a center for information about the struggle for black equality. There, patrons could read books about Africa, talk about voter registration or police brutality in the early […]

Burglund Senior High School

In 1961, 15-year-old Burglund student Brenda Travis along with 20-year-olds Ike Lewis and Bobbie Talbert were arrested and jailed for participating in a sit-in demonstration at the Greyhound bus terminal. The school’s principal, Mr. Commodore Dewey Higgins, suspended Brenda Travis for her arrest, prompting students to request an explanation of his actions. Mr. Higgin’s lack […]

Burglund Supermarket and Masonic Temple

The Burglund Supermarket was joint business venture established in the 1950s by local black businessmen, Mr. G.W. Martin, Mr. Pete Lewis, Mr. Percy Larry, Mr. Charlie Gavden, and Mr. Jack Morgan. The Masonic Temple (Eureka Lodge No. 5) was located above the market. It was the site of voter registration classes and housed the SNCC […]

Campbell, Janie Magee: Oral History

Born in Summit, MS, near McComb, JANIE MAGEE CAMPBELL became a part of history when she and about 300 other students at Burglund Senior High School in McComb, MS, walked out in protest of what they saw as an injustice to fellow student Brenda Travis. Ms. Travis had been arrested earlier due to her involvement […]

Chesser, Dorothy Scott: Oral History

Raised in Amite County, Dorothy Scott Chesser talks about her life growing up and the difficulties inherent in being non-white in the South during the Civil Rights Era. Additionally, Mrs. Chesser tells how, inspired by the Freedom Workers, her work with the Freedom Riders, and notable Civil Rights participant C.C. Bryant, she registered to vote […]

Corstarphen, Lillie: Oral History

Lillie Corstarphen grew up in the rural area of Pike County on a farm with her family. She grew up with five brothers, five sisters, and her parents. Despite farming the land for someone else and living below the poverty line, Corstarphen says that she was never poor because of her family and had a […]

Dunagin, Charles: Oral History

Charles Dunagin was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. His father served in WW II, and his mother was a nurse who served as well. After graduating from Petal School District, Dunagin attended Ole Miss, then moved to McComb to pursue a life in the newspaper business. In Pike County, Dunagin worked for the Emmerich family who […]

Emmerich, J. Oliver

J. OLIVER EMMERICH was born in New Orleans in 1896 and grew up in McComb, MS. He graduated from Mississippi A & M College, now Mississippi State University, in 1918 after studying agriculture. After working as a county farm agent for a few years, he bought the McComb Enterprise newspaper. In the 1940s, he bought […]

Flower Mount Baptist Church

On the third Sunday in June of 1870 sixty-five African Americans met under the brush arbor to organize a church. From 1870-1883, church services were held in an old Union army barracks. According to the country records, the land was sold to the Colored Baptist Church of McComb in 1883, purchased from the Mississippi Valley […]

Greyhound Bus Station

The McComb Greyhound Bus Station is remembered by Movement people as a place of violence and vicious attacks on black people who tried to exercise their rights to equal accommodations on public transportation. During the early 1960s, when the Freedom Rides were in progress, members of the McComb police force regularly met and boarded buses, […]

Harris, Thomas: Oral History

Thomas Harris is a native of McComb, Mississippi and has seen McComb change over the years. He grew up with his two parents and five brothers. His father worked at the post office, and his mother was a home maker. His father ensured that all six brothers went to college, so after Harris graduated from […]

Martin, Joe: Oral History

Joe Martin was a native of Pike County, Mississippi. He was very involved with race relations in his community. One sector of race relations that he was passionate about is education. Through his interview, Martin recalls events he witnessed as part of the civil rights movement. He talks of police brutality, his involvement with Medgar […]

Mayer, Dr. William: Oral History

Dr. William Mayer is a physician in McComb, Mississippi, who has lived in the town for over 60 years. He is a native of Shelby, Ohio, where he lived until he received his medical degree. He speaks fondly of his childhood. He graduated from Shelby Public School System in Ohio. He earned his Bachelors of […]


McComb, Mississippi, was one of the main battlegrounds for the struggle for civil rights in the United States. The 1950s set the stage for the Mississippi Movement, and the pivotal years for the state and McComb came in the 1960s. In 1961 local NAACP leaders teamed with Robert Moses, a young activist with SNCC (Student […]

McComb City Hall

The student walkout from Burglund High School ended at the steps of City Hall by the Broadway entrance, where 116 people were arrested.

McDew, Charles “Chuck”: Oral History

Charles “Chuck” McDew participated in the civil rights movement in many parts of the American South, including Mississippi. He was a pivotal movement activist in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). In this interview, he begins by discussing segregated seating laws in the South versus elsewhere. He then describes the Greensboro sit-ins. He concludes by […]

McGee, Joyce: Oral History

Joyce McGee talks about her education at Burglund High School and race relations in McComb while growing up. She speaks on her and her father’s involvement. Aside from her family’s involvement with the civil rights movement, Joyce talks about the community’s response to civil rights workers. McGee closes with her perspective of present-day racial relations […]

Monley, Queene Campbell: Oral History

While not heavily involved with the Civil Rights Movement, Queene Campbell Monley was there to witness her sister’s treatment as a participant in the Burglund High School walkout. She provides a look at how the actions of activists and the social tensions and issues present during the Civil Rights Era affected her relatives. Part one […]

Nicholas, Jessie Divens: Oral History

Jessie Divens Nicholas is a native of McComb, Mississippi. She grew up with her three siblings and her mother. Her father died in the army. Her mother, Ruth Divens, worked as a business woman, which allowed her to encourage her children to participant in the Civil Rights Movement during the 1960s. Her mother would house […]

Noble Cleaners

The entire Nobles family was active throughout the McComb Movement. Mr. Ernest Nobles’s establishment was one of the most active gathering places for SNCC workers. He opened his business to the Movement and assisted workers by transporting them, allowing them to use the telephone, and, when necessary, hiding them among the racks of clean clothes. […]

Owens, Webb and Dock

The Owens family’s interest in Civil Rights was well known throughout McComb. Mrs. Beulah Owens was secretary of the McComb NAACP. When Webb Owens, a retired railroad worker, returned home in 1961, he immediately became involved in the Movement. He assisted SNCC workers in organizing efforts by soliciting donations of food and money for Movement […]

Pike – Documents

McComb Daily Journal 9.19.1935

Quin, Alyene

Mrs. Alyene Quin, or Mama Quin, as she was affectionately called by SNCC workers, owned a small business establishment on Summit Street which became a center of civil rights activity in the McComb Movement. Threats against her home business came in response to her strong leadership in the Movement. Mrs. Quin’s home was bombed on […]

Rembert, Emily: Oral History

Emily Rembert is a native of McComb, Mississippi, and was young during the civil rights movement. Her mother worked at a nursing home, and her father worked on the railroad and had a printing office in his home, where Rembert was an assistant. Her childhood was wonderful at home; however, outside of her home, she […]

Society Hill Missionary Baptist Church

Society Hill has a history of activism, with Rev. Ed Taylor as pastor and C.C. Bryant as deacon. The church helped Bob Moses with voter registration efforts and was targeted for its link to the McComb Movement. The current church was built after the original wood-frame building was destroyed by a bombing on September 20, […]

St. Paul United Methodist

St. Paul United Methodist Church was the first church in McComb to open its doors to the McComb Movement. Beginning in 1961, St. Paul was a principal meeting place for voter registration training and Movement meetings. During the summer of 1961 it was the location of McComb Freedom School. That fall, St. Paul served as […]

Summit Street District

The Summit Street District was a vibrant area of African-American businesses. It included the Lyric Theatre, whose building housed Holmes Ice Cream Parlor on the north side and Holmes Drug Store on the south side. North of the theatre was Holmes Pool Shack and Holmes Chicken Shack. Both places were used as meeting places of […]

The Freedom House Complex

The SNCC Workers Freedom House Complex was a trio of houses on Wall and Denwiddie Streets owned by Mrs. Willie Mae Cotton and Mr. Antoine AcNulty. Mrs. Cotton had opened her home to SNCC workers early in the Movement. In preparation for the 1964 Summer Project, she extended housing to additional workers, and later that […]