Bates, Ollie S.

Ollie S. Bates was the sister-in-law of Daisy Bates, a civil rights activist and mentor to the nine students who integrated Little Rock High School. According to the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission (MSSC), Ollie Bates and an African American man named Anthony Washington were suspected of being involved in rising African-American “unrest and agitation” in October of 1958. The MSSC spoke with Superintendent of Education Rutherford and he said that the problems were “being pushed by two white men whom he thinks are on some foreign payroll to do such work.” Rutherford believed the two white men were Homer Oswalt of Hernando and Alton M. West of Lake Cormorant, based on his observations of their financial statuses and habits. Supposedly, the two white men approached Bates and Washington about school integration and perhaps participating in other activities. There is no follow-up information on the report. 

The MSSC files state that Sterling Davis interviewed Daisy Bates around November 24, 1958, when Bates was visiting Ollie Bates and Leonard Bates, Ollie’s brother and Daisy’s brother-in-law, in DeSoto County. While Daisy was there, Leonard’s wife suddenly died and people suspected that she was poisoned. A county official named Sterling Wilson heard that the poison was meant for Daisy. As of July 1959, Daisy had not returned to visit Ollie and the family. 

In 1960, the MSSC placed Ollie on a list of “potential agitators.” No further records or information has been found thus far. 



“Daisy Bates,” Wikipedia, 1 October 2012,

“Sovereignty Commission Online: SCR ID # 1-7-0-3-1-1-1,” Mississippi Department of Archives and History|7|0|3|1|1|1|472|#

“Sovereignty Commission Online: SCR ID # 1-41-0-1-1-1-1,” Mississippi Department of Archives and History|41|0|1|1|1|1|2867|#

“Sovereignty Commission Online: SCR ID # 2-130-0-4-2-1-1,” Mississippi Department of Archives and History|130|0|4|2|1|1|40554|#

“Sovereignty Commission Online: SCR ID # 3-2-0-2-1-1-1,” Mississippi Department of Archives and History|2|0|2|1|1|1|13706|#

“Sovereignty Commission Online: SCR ID # 9-0-0-15-1-1-1,” Mississippi Department of Archives and History|0|0|15|1|1|1|58595|