Chinn, C.O.

Chinn was born September 18, 1919 in Madison County. He is said to be “the last of the great frontiersmen”for his work and dedication to civil rights. Chinn is thought of as the “father”of the civil rights in Madison County. He was one of the organizers for the Madison County CORE chapter, and headed many Civil Rights marches, rallies, and meetings in the county. Chinn was responsible for helping desegregate public places in the county and for making racial equality mandatory across the county. Chinn paid for his involvement in the movement by losing nearly all of his property and serving a term on the chain gang, but he never stopped agitating. In recognition of his contributions to the Civil Rights movement, Canton declared May 2, 1999 as C.O. Chinn Day.


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Cheeks-Collins, Jennifer E. Black America Series: Madison County, Mississippi Charleston: Arcadia, 2002.

Townsend Davis, Weary Feet, Rested Souls: A Guided History of the Civil Rights Movement New York: W.W. Norton, 1998.

Dittmer, John. Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994.

Mead, Carol Lynn. The Land Between Two Rivers: Madison County, Mississippi. Canton, MS: Friends of the Madison County—Canton Public Library, 1987.

Orr-Klopfer, M. Susan. Where Rebels Roost : Mississippi Civil Rights Revisited. (self-published) 2005.

Payne, Charles M. I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.