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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.​​​

is directly related to the many significant transformations that the town has undergone changes which indicate the growth of a new era of possibility.

The $100,000 Taborian hospital, finished in 1942, was the brainchild of Sir P.M. Smith, son of the founder of the Knights and Daughters of Tabor, and signaled the rebirth of the town of Mound Bayou. Serving the needs of the heretofore too often neglected Black population of the Delta, the hospital opened up new opportunities for Mound Bayou, attracting new citizens as well as top notch doctors such as Dr. P.M. George and Dr. T.R.M. Howard. Educated at several top schools, Dr. Howard proved to be a leading figure in the refacing of the town. 

Despite his feud with the hospital and the consequent erection of his own clinic under the auspices of the United Order of Friendship, Dr. Howard spearheaded many significant new developments.

His pet project, Goodwill Park, provided young and old a-like with recreational facilities which included a zoo and a swimming pool. He became the president of Magnolia Life Insurance Company, a company to which he attracted a man destined to take a special place in Mississippi history—Medgar Evers. Along with other town leaders, Howard led the slow struggle to regain the lands lost years previously, a discouraging battle confounded by white loan sharks who preyed on those in such circumstances as the citizens of Mound Bayou. The town reflected these efforts with the first population increase since 1920, rising by over 50% from 1940 to 1950. Moreover, several new businesses were built, including a new hotel and restaurant.

In the early 1950’s Mound Bayou finally took the leadership openly of Black people in the state. In 1951 Dr. Howard and many other Mound Bayouans, as well as many Black people from all over the state, gathered at Cleveland to form the Mississippi Regional Council of Negro Leadership. The council's goals were clearly stated: "To guide our people in their civic responsibilities regarding health, education, religion, registration and voting, law enforcement, tax paying, the preservation of property, the value of saving, and in all things which will make us stable, qualified, conscientious citizens." Mound Bayou became witness to several mass meetings over the next four years, and to many people Mound Bayou had become not only a medical and educational center, but the Black political center of the state.

Nevertheless, there were those who doubted the organization, both Black and white. Some citizens of Mound Bayou, fearful of their positions and the possible adverse reactions of local whites, attempted to block these meetings, claiming that "the best people of Mound Bayou" didn't want them. Though there were enough people to continue the meetings, the White Citizens Council, the latter day version of the KKK, did begin to become active. It may well have been their economic pressure on Dr. Howard, as well as physical threats because of his activities against J. Edgar Hoover about the unjust way the Emmit Till murder investigation was handled, which forced him to leave Mound Bayou in 1956. The loss of Dr. Howard was a severe loss to the town, for it was his type of leadership which helped to establish the growing political power of Black people in Mound Bayou, Mississippi, and the country as a whole. This political power could only offer to Mound Bayou new opportunities which had been denied as long as Davis Bend. The victories won in the civil rights struggles were also victories for Mound Bayou. From 1960 to 1970 the population nearly doubled. In 1962 the 75th celebration of Founders Day attracted National attention, including a 30 minute special by Huntley and Brinkley. The Exposure offered by this celebration led to many new programs for Mound Bayou.

Thus today Mound Bayou truly stands at the edge of a new era, an era in which its true potential can be fulfilled. The Mound Bayou Movement (MBM) is a plan [that]... will help restore the city of Mound Bayou, bring it to an even greater glory, and be an example for other cities to follow.

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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