SNCC of Holmes County

The SNCC was first invited into Holmes County in 1963. They immediately sent organizer John Ball to Mileston. Ball taught twenty Mileston farmers about voter registration. He taught them about the twenty-one question form, the ability to read and write, and about having to interpret any of the 285 sections of the state constitution to the satisfaction of the registrar. In April 1963, SNCC encouraged fourteen local farmers to attempt to register to vote, an act that was potentially dangerous for the group. Hartman Turnbow, one of the fourteen, had his home firebombed the same night. The next morning, the sheriff arrested Turnbow and four other SNCC workers for arson. Without the help of SNCC, and the inspiration of the Fannie Lou Hamer and Martin Luther King Jr. the Holmes County Movement might have never gotten off the ground. The assistance of SNCC was important to the further mobilization of local activists who had long been engaged in the struggle for equal rights.

Sources:

Youth of the Rural Organizing and Cultural Center. Minds Stayed on Freedom: The Civil Rights Struggle in the Rural South, an Oral History. Boulder: West View Press, 1991.