Bailey, Samuel

Sam Bailey was a leader of the Progressive Voters’ League as early as 1956. A strong supporter of the NAACP, he traveled the state with his close friend Medgar Evers. In 1961, Bailey, with Joseph Broadwater and Burnett Jacob, filed […]

Banks, Bobby

He was born September 21, 1952, in Grenada County, Mississippi. After graduating from high school, he took a job with Tallahatchie County, learning all he could about county work. In 1994, he was elected Supervisor of District 4, when he […]

Barnes, Thelma

Thelma Barnes was an activist for the Delta Ministry throughout the 1960s and ’70s. Barnes was born in Issaquena County. After college graduation, Barnes worked as a management analyst at the Greenville Air Force Base and as secretary to Bishop […]

Barnett, Ross

Ross Barnett, who was the governor of Mississippi from 1960 to 1964 and vehemently opposed the integration of the University of Mississippi, taught school for two years in the early nineteen twenties in Pontotoc County. He taught math and coached […]

Baskin, James

James Baskin was born in 1910 and served as Principal of Colored Schools during the Civil Rights Movement. He was listed as a potential “agitator”by the Sovereignty Commission. Sources: Sovereignty Commission Files. Mississippi Archives and History Department.

Bates, Fred

Mr. Fred Bates was very active in the McComb Movement, especially at the time of the 1961 black school student walk-out in protest of the school principal’s refusal to re-admit Brenda Travis. Mr. Bates owned a gasoline station, bus and […]

Bates, Leonard

Leonard Bates was the brother-in-law of Daisy Bates, a civil rights activist and mentor to the nine students who integrated Little Rock High School in 1957. The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission (MSSC) files state that Sterling Davis interviewed Daisy Bates […]

Bates, Mrs. Gladys Noel

Mrs. Gladys Noel Bates was an eighth grade science teacher at Smith Robertson School in 1948 when she filed a lawsuit, later joined by R. Jess Brown against the Jackson public school system to equalize salaries for white and black […]

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 […]

Beam, Sally: Oral History

Sally Beam was a juror on the Grand Jury case against Edgar Ray Killen, the man responsible for the murders of the civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman. She begins by discussing how outsiders viewed Neshoba […]

Beckwith, Byron De La

Medgar Evers was killed on June 12, 1963, and in 1994, some thirty years later, Byron De La Beckwith was convicted of murdering Evers. Although originally from California, Beckwith bought seventy acres of rural property in Carroll County, Mississippi. Beckwith […]

Bender, Rita Schwerner

Rita Schwerner Bender was born in 1942 and is considered a key player and civil rights activist during the Freedom Summer of 1964. Rita Schwerner and her husband Michael Schwerner were native New Yorkers who moved to Meridian, Mississippi, in […]

Bennett, Izeal: Oral History

Izeal Bennett, a native of Mississippi, lived in a home with thirteen siblings, his mother, and his father. His father was a sharecropper, and the children were responsible for helping him the crops. When Bennett was nine years old, he […]

Benson, John L.: Oral History

Mr. John L. Benson of Moselle tells the story of his family and his great-grandfather, Isom Benson, who donated land in Jones County for building Benson School for African-American children during Jim Crow segregation. Click here for the video. This […]

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 […]

Blackwell, Unita

Unita Blackwell was a field worker for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), a prominent member of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), and a local elected official in Mayersville, Mississippi. Blackwell was born into a family of sharecroppers in […]

Boelens, Peter

Peter Boelens was an activist who, following graduation from medical school, moved to Cary, Mississippi, in Sharkey County and established a health center in 1972. The Cary Christian Center health center went on to expand into health cooperatives across Sharkey […]

Bourne, William James

Candidate for Supervisor in Covington County following the Voter Registration Movement. Sources:

Bowen, Teresa

Teresa Bowen is currently a vice-president of People’s Bank (“People’s”) in Mendenhall, Miss. Bowen was the first African-American to be hired by People’s. She said that at the time she was hired, she was working at a manufacturing plant and […]

Bowman, Sister Thea

Sister Thea Bowman (1937-1990) was born in Canton. She was a nationally and internationally known evangelist, teacher, gospel singer, writer, lecturer and advocate for justice and peace. She was the first African American woman to receive a Doctorate in Theology […]

Brady, Thomas Pickens

Thomas Pickens Brady, author of Black Monday, was educated in the public schools and graduated from Brookhaven High School in 1920. Thomas Brady practiced law in Brookhaven, Mississippi, from 1930 to 1950. He served as Circuit Judge of the 14th […]

Braun-Reinitz, Janet: Oral History

Mural artist Janet Braun-Reinitz participated in the Freedom Rides in 1961. She speaks about her involvement in the New York CORE chapter and her decision to become a Freedom Rider. Her Freedom Ride began in St. Louis, Missouri, and continued […]

Brooks, Eddie

Eddie Brooks was a SNCC field worker in Clay County in the mid-1960s. Source:

Brown, Frederick H.

Frederick H. Brown: Brown is from Ackerman, Mississippi, and graduated from Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi, in 1962. He participated in boycotts and demonstrations while at Rust College in 1961. He currently serves as the senior pastor for St. […]

Bryant, C.C.

NAACP stalwart C.C. Bryant and his wife, Emogene, have lived in the same home for more than fifty years. Bryant’s barbershop, which was adjacent to the home, was a center for information about the struggle for black equality. There, patrons […]

Bryant, Curtis Conway

Curtis Conway Bryant, known as C. C., was born in Tylertown, Mississippi, in 1917. Bryant was an active community member and volunteer who soon became a figurehead during the Civil Rights Movement. As a member of the NAACP, Bryant worked […]

Buffington, John

John Buffington was SNCC field worker in Clay County in the mid-1960s, served as chairman of the Clay County Community Development Organization, and was also a member of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. Source:

Buffington, Terry

Terry Buffington was born in West Point, Mississippi, where she attended segregated schools.  As a young woman, she became involved with SNCC in Clay County. She studied Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi and later became an anthropologist and […]

Burnett, Chester Arthur

West Point was the birthplace of blues musician “The Howlin’ Wolf,”or “Howlin’ Wolf,”Chester Arthur Burnett, (1910-1976). Burnett was born in the area now known as White Station and was an influential blues singer, songwriter, guitarist and harmonica player. Sources: