Berry, James H.

In September of 1960, the MSSC sent investigator Tom Scarbrough to visit DeSoto County’s James H. Berry, a sixty-five year old African American who attempted to register to vote a number of times. He lived “about 9 miles from Holly Springs” and owned about eighty acres of land. His wife was fifty-five years old and was about to complete college. Berry stated that “his only interest in voting was for the fact that he had been a tax payer for many years and felt it h[i]s duty to be able to vote for [p]ublic officials who had performed accommodations for him.” He attempted to register on a number of occasions, but did not pass the voting requirements and did not receive threats or intimidation for trying to register. Although Berry said that he did not belong to any subversive organizations and that nobody had pressured or coerced him to vote, Scarbrough did not believe him and believed either his educated wife or another group had encouraged him. Scarbrough also noted that white people described him as a “smart aleck type of Negro” and suggested that Berry be filed as a “possible future agitator.” In March of 1961, Circuit Clerk Richard Davis stated that Berry had not returned to register to vote since Scarbrough visited him, despite the fact that Berry claimed he wanted to continue returning until he passed the voter registration exam. Davis also said that no other African Americans had attempted to register to vote since Berry. 


“Sovereignty Commission Online: DeSoto County,” Mississippi Department of Archives and History

“Sovereignty Commission Online: SCR ID # 2-130-0-3-1-1-1,” Mississippi Department of Archives and History|130|0|3|1|1|1|40549|#

“Sovereignty Commission Online: SCR ID # 2-130-0-3-2-1-1,” Mississippi Department of Archives and History|130|0|3|2|1|1|40550|

Sovereignty Commission Online: SCR ID # 2-130-0-13-1-1-1,” Mississippi Department of Archives and History|130|0|13|1|1|1|40574|#.

Sovereignty Commission Online: SCR ID # 2-130-0-13-2-1-1,” Mississippi Department of Archives and History|130|0|13|2|1|1|40575|#