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The Standing on the Shoulders of Giants "Teach & Learn" Black History Curriculum​​

Specially designed for Parents, Teachers, Homeschool, or Independent Study, grades 5+

Where Black
History Lives!​

Unit 7: Post-Reconstruction (1877 – 1935)

Class 1: Mound Bayou: One of the First All-Black Towns Founded by Formerly Enslaved Blacks PART 1

Insipration Behind Mound Bayou cont.​​​

the world that you can get as much out of an acre of land as the people of any other race can get out of an acre. But the very minute the world discovers that a man of some other race or color or religion can get more out of an acre than a black man, from that moment forward the black man will begin to lose his hold as a farmer. .

Thus, by 1912 Mound Bayou, known throughout the country as an outstanding example of the progress of Black people in the South, had achieved sizable proportions. Recognizing their substantial growth, the citizens applied to the Governor and received the status of a town, only 25 years after its founding. Mound Bayou had come a long way.

The growth of Mound Bayou was also reflected in its dedication to the building of schools and churches, and other community organizations. Montgomery began quite early to provide for the education of the children. The first school, headed by M.V. Montgomery, became the Mound Bayou public school. Though having an enrollment of 200 by 1910, this school was at the mercy of the county board of education, which was less than willing to appropriate money for its operation. Therefore, Montgomery and Green in 1892, donated several acres of land for the establishment of a school "designed to supplement the inadequate curriculum of the public schools.” This school, named the Mound Bayou Normal and Industrial Institute, was built via financial assistance from the American Missionary Association, and remained under the control of a local board of trustees. To these non-denominational schools was added a Baptist school in 1904. Organized under the Baptist State Convention, and founded by Mrs. A.A. Harris, the Mound Bayou Industrial College, commonly known as the "Baptist College," sported a school population of 200 by 1910, and with the other two schools, offered to Mound Bayou caliber of education unparalleled in most sections of the state. Montgomery may well have wanted to make Mound Bayou a "college town," for in 1887 he had helped found Campbell College. Affiliated with the A.M.E. Church, the college began holding classes in Vicksburg and Friar's Point in 1890. However, Montgomery induced the president of the L.N.O.T. Railroad to donate over 1,000 acres of land about 1 1/2 miles southeast of Mound Bayou to the college, in hopes of moving the college to the town. In 1892 Montgomery was elected president of Campbell College, and he revealed that he had plans for the land as a site of an agricultural education school. Unfortunately the plans never materialized, the school was moved to Jackson in 1898, and Montgomery resigned as president. Nevertheless, the college retained the lands for several years, and in fact began to build on the site some years later. A short drive beyond the co-op farm will reveal these buildings to an interested reader.

The early settlers of Mound Bayou expressed an abiding faith in religion, and quite early organized by the Green Grove Baptist Church in the home of one of the settlers. By 1891 Montgomery and a small band of colonists had organized the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and within the next ten years the number of churches multiplied rapidly, there being three Baptist, one A.M.E., one Christian, and one Methodist Church as well as several smaller Baptist churches in the surrounding vicinity. Green Grove Baptist, which eventually became the First Baptist Church, and the A.M.E. church were the first to erect permanent structures, in 1904 and 1905 respectively, and they were the town leaders in organizing youth groups for religious instruction and civic betterment. The strong moral sentiment evident in these early churches may have been responsible for Mound Bayou's reputation as an orderly community due to its remarkably low crime rate.

Corresponding to the rapid growth of churches and schools was the proliferation of fraternal orders, secret societies, and various community organizations. By 1910 there was no less than 12 of these secret societies. Though these lodges carried out many social functions such as celebration of holidays or community barbeque's, their biggest function was their benefit and burial associations, which offered premiums at a price local people could afford. Several community organizations offered more specific assistance in other areas of community concern. Two clubs were founded to help farmers keep their lands from white merchants; a Farmer's Institute 

Presley's Gin & Grocery Store, one of Mound Bayou's 40 businesses.
One of Mound Bayou's 6 churches. Churches were social centers in addition to being houses of worship. Churches were also responsible for starting schools in the community. 

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