Union

School Desegregation in Union County

(1875-1950s) The first schools in Union County were established around 1875. In 1901, New Albany began construction of the first building dedicated exclusively to public education. Presumably, this school, which featured eighteen classrooms, offices, a basement, and an auditorium, served only white students. Meanwhile African American students attended a handful of smaller schools scattered throughout […]

New Albany (Union County)

New Albany, the “Fair and Friendly City,”is the county seat of Union County, in the northeast corner of the State of Mississippi. Historically, New Albany was a railroad and manufacturing town, and the manufacturing industry continues to play a large role in the community’s economy. In 1960, Union County had a population of nearly 20,000 […]

Ford, Benjamin F.

B.F. Ford was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in 1893 and came to New Albany in 1921 to serve as principal of the African American Union County Training School. At the time, the five-teacher school provided education only through the eighth grade. Ford was respected for his campaign against illiteracy, as well as for his discipline. […]

B.F. Ford School

African American school during segregation. Mattie Thompson School was the white school during segregation.

The Community Citizen

In the 1950s, an African American man from New Albany named J.W. Jones published a semimonthly newspaper called The Community Citizen. It is believed the newspaper, which featured local “negro”news, national stories from newswire services, and editorials, was first published in 1948. The most debated political question of that time was segregation, and The Community […]

Smith, J. Bryant

Superintendent of the New Albany School District from 1964-70. He was responsible for the integration of the city schools.

Lynching of L.Q. Ivy

(1925) On September 18, 1925, just over the county line in the sleepy Union County community of Rocky Ford, a seventeen year-old timber cutter named L.Q. Ivy was kidnapped by a mob and, two days later, burned alive on the metal stake to which he was bound. Some of the local African American community are […]

Hill, Siddell

Members of the Siddell, Hill, and Barry families were the first to integrate Union County schools.

Jones, J.W.

Jones was the owner and publisher of The Community Citizen, which circulated in New Albany, during the Civil Rights Movement.

Watson, Rev. Samuel

Watson was pastor of Watson Grove M.B. Church beginning in 1932.

Dr. D.M. Forster

D.M. Forster was one of the first African American doctors to practice medicine in Union County. He came to the county from Tupelo, Mississippi, in 1956.

Folsom, Jimmy Crawford

Jimmy Crawford Folsom, Sr., was one of the first black men to vote in Union County in the 1930s. He was born in 1871 to George and Eliza Folsom, both slaves who purchased their freedom and later bought a farm in Union County. Folsom, like his father, was a farmer. He reportedly lent his land […]

Howell, Jesse Lee

Jesse Lee Howell lived from 1892 to 1972. He worked as both a railroad hand and a farmer. It is reported that he paid poll taxes even when he could not vote and was known to have said “and that’s the way it is.” Sources: THE UNION COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Wade, Geneva

Geneva Wade was born to a family of tenant farmers in the Myrtle community, just northwest of New Albany in Union County. She recalled walking down the railroad tracks to the one-room Pine Bluff School that served African American students in Myrtle. She wondered why she could not ride in the covered wagon, or later […]