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Postby SOUTHERNMIND » Wed Aug 21, 2013 5:08 am
MOUND BAYOU, MS

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mound_Bayou,_Mississippi

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Mound Bayou is a city in Bolivar County, Mississippi. The population was 2,102 at the 2000 census. It is notable for having been founded as an independent black community in 1887 by former slaves led by Isaiah Montgomery. By percentage, its 98.4 percent African-American majority population is one of the largest of any community in the United States. The current mayor is Kennedy V. "Kent" Johnson.

Mound Bayou traces its origin to people from the community of Davis Bend, Mississippi. The latter was started in the 1820s by the planter Joseph E. Davis, who intended to create a model slave community on his plantation. Davis was influenced by the utopian ideas of Robert Owen. He encouraged self-leadership in the slave community, provided a higher standard of nutrition and health and dental care, and allowed slaves to become merchants. In the aftermath of the American Civil War, Davis Bend became an autonomous free community when Davis sold his property to former slave Benjamin Montgomery, who had run a store and been a prominent leader at Davis Bend. The prolonged agricultural depression, falling cotton prices and white hostility in the region contributed to the economic failure of Davis Bend.

Isaiah T. Montgomery led the founding of Mound Bayou in 1887 in wilderness in northwest Mississippi. The bottomlands of the Delta were a relatively undeveloped frontier, and blacks had a chance to clear land and acquire ownership in such frontier areas. By 1900 two-thirds of the owners of land in the bottomlands were black farmers. With high debt and continuing agricultural problems, most of them lost their land and by 1920 were sharecroppers. As cotton prices fell, the town suffered a severe economic decline in the 1920s and 1930s.

Shortly after a fire destroyed much of the business district, Mound Bayou began to revive in 1942 after the opening of the Taborian Hospital by the International Order of Twelve Knights and Daughters of Tabor, a fraternal organization. For more than two decades, under its Chief Grand Mentor, Perry M. Smith, the hospital provided low-cost health care to thousands of blacks in the Mississippi Delta. The chief surgeon was Dr. T.R.M. Howard who eventually became one of the wealthiest blacks in the state. Howard owned a plantation of more than one thousand acres (4 km²), home-construction firm, small zoo and built the first swimming pool for blacks in Mississippi. In 1952, Medgar Evers moved to Mound Bayou to sell insurance for Howard's Magnolia Mutual Life Insurance Company. Howard introduced Evers to civil rights activism through the Regional Council of Negro Leadership which organized a boycott against service stations which refused to provide restrooms for blacks. The RCNL's annual rallies in Mound Bayou between 1952 and 1955 drew crowds of ten thousand or more. During the trial of Emmett Till's alleged killers, black reporters and witnesses stayed in Howard's Mound Bayou home, and Howard gave them an armed escort to the court house in Sumner.

Author Michael Premo wrote:

"Mound Bayou was an oasis in turbulent times. While the rest of Mississippi was violently segregated, inside the city there were no racial codes... At a time when blacks faced repercussions as severe as death for registering to vote, Mound Bayou residents were casting ballots in every election. The city has a proud history of credit unions, insurance companies, a hospital, five newspapers, and a variety of businesses owned, operated, and patronized by black residents. Mound Bayou is a crowning achievement in the struggle for self-determination and economic empowerment."
"JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN, DOES IT MEAN YOU SHOULD?"
Postby SOUTHERNMIND » Wed Aug 21, 2013 5:10 am
http://www.aaregistry.org/historic_even ... ck-town-us

Date:
Thu, 1887-11-17
This date from 1887 celebrates Mound Bayou, Mississippi, one of the first incorporated Black Towns in the United States.

The town is of national historical significance because it is representative of the many towns established by Blacks who migrated from the south to northern and western communities after slavery. Located in Bolivar County in the Mississippi Delta, it was established by two former slaves, Isaiah T. Montgomery and his cousin Benjamin Green. They created a refuge for Blacks from the many white-controlled cotton plantations at a time known for deadly racial violence. Montgomery, Green, and the other early Black pioneers built the town in the uninhabited wilderness and created a thriving, important historic community.

It was begun in part as a defenses from whites of bayou-country in the area. In 1900, 287 people with over 1,500 Black farmers lived in the vicinity. Booker T. Washington took part in some of its economic development, which included the nation’s only Black-owned cottonseed mill (shown). Mound Bayou also had a railroad station (where the "colored" waiting room was larger than the "white" waiting room), a newspaper, many churches, schools, a bank, a telephone exchange, and other Black-owned businesses and industries.

Nearly everyone in and around Mound Bayou could read, a remarkable status for anyone in Mississippi in the late 19th century. Around 1900, President Theodore Roosevelt called Mound Bayou “the Jewel of the Delta.” Recently the people of Mound Bayou, wanting to share their rich history, hosted a public dig with the University of Southern Mississippi. The site they dug was the location of Mound Bayou's first city hall and mayor's office. Together they unearthed interesting artifacts with the help of many young Blacks in the Mound Bayou area.

Reference:
The African American Desk Reference
Schomburg Center for research in Black Culture
Copyright 1999 The Stonesong Press Inc. and
The New York Public Library, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Pub.
ISBN 0-471-23924-0
"JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN, DOES IT MEAN YOU SHOULD?"
Postby SOUTHERNMIND » Wed Aug 21, 2013 5:20 am
Delta town pins high hopes on shuttered, historic hospital
by Associated Press
Published: August 20,2013

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MOUND BAYOU — A block down from Kennedy Johnson’s new barbecue restaurant sits a boarded-up symbol of a Delta town’s haunting past and optimistic future.

Taborian Hospital was one of the first modern medical facilities in Mississippi that was built, owned and operated by African-Americans. The old medical center here has been shuttered for three decades, but the “no trespassing” signs will soon come off.

“I made a promise to my mother in 2002 that I would work to get Taborian Hospital restored,” said Johnson, who served as the town’s mayor for 12 years. “Even though she is not here to see it, I made good on that promise.”

The hospital, later renamed Mound Bayou Community Hospital, closed in 1983 due to increased regulations, competition from new clinics and hospitals and federal cutbacks. The long effort to revive it by Johnson, U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and descendants of the hospital’s founders paid off when the town received a $2.9 million federal grant in 2011.

In July, crews began working to turn the old hospital into the new Taborian Urgent Care Center. Officials hope the center is the shot in the arm needed to trigger economic development in the 126-year-old town.

Mound Bayou is a place with a storied past. Isaiah T. Montgomery and his cousin, Benjamin T. Green, both born into slavery, founded the town in 1887 during the post-Civil War era when many were debating how to mitigate “the Negro problem.”

The phrase was a crude way of questioning the place of black people in American society. Some advocated the back-to-Africa movement. Many worked for integration. And others, like Montgomery and Green, supported all-black townships where African-Americans lived in self-sufficient cities that provided some insulation from the racial violence of the day. While some former 19th century black townships now boast diverse populations, Mound Bayou remains 99 percent African-American, according to recent Census figures.

“When I was first elected mayor, the town had a $1 million debt; we were suspended from receiving state and federal grants, and the town’s water ran brown and was undrinkable,” said Johnson, who lost his bid for re-election two months ago to another man named Johnson. “We cleaned up these problems, but the town still needs jobs. The urgent care center can bring much-needed jobs and training for those jobs, and also attract other businesses just like the old hospital did.”

The historic Taborian Hospital came to life about 72 years ago, after members of the fraternal organization the International Order of Twelve Knights and Daughters of Tabor launched a fundraising campaign to build the facility at the urging of the group’s Mississippi leader, Perry M. Smith.

“Papa told the story that when he visited one of the members of his order at a hospital in Jackson, that they were treating black people in a dirty basement,” said Smith’s granddaughter, Myrna Smith-Thompson.

“When he came home, he went to the members in the Mississippi chapter with the idea of building a hospital for the black community where we could come through the front door — not be left to die in a dirty basement.”

Members paid annual dues of $8.40 for adults and $1.20 for children, which entitled them to 31 days of hospitalization and a burial policy. Leaders also went to meetings held in churches from Benoit to Yazoo City, where sharecroppers and farmers bought into the dream of a hospital to call their own.

“They were poorer than poor,” Smith-Thompson said about the sharecroppers. “But they paid for the memberships because they wanted to be treated with dignity and respect at a hospital.”

After raising $100,000 over 12 years, the Knights and Daughters of Tabor opened Taborian Hospital in February 1942.

Smith-Thompson, 64, was born there seven years later.

She remembers that the hospital on Edwards Avenue was a hub of activity in downtown Mound Bayou and helped the town rebound after The Great Depression.

“There were people coming to town to see the doctor or going to Norman’s Pharmacy or eating at the restaurants that opened when the hospital came to town,” she said.

“The hospital served as the catalyst to bring back the economic growth,” she added. “We see the urgent care center doing the exact same thing today.”

Smith-Thompson, who for more than a decade has fought to get the old hospital restored, was hired as the center’s educational development director.

She now lives in Illinois but commutes monthly to Mound Bayou, a Delta town of 1,500 residents 100 miles south of Memphis.

The federal grant is also paying for computers and the video conferencing equipment for a distance learning medical training program through Coahoma Community College. Now, students studying medical billing and coding won’t have to travel 40 miles to the course in Clarksdale. Ten residents have already completed a health care sanitation class in a separate Workforce Development program.

The idea to turn the old hospital into an urgent care center was conceived by Margo Christian-Brooks, who wrote the grant that secured the federal dollars for the hospital’s restoration.

Since the mid-20th century, Mississippi has received a generous portion of federal dollars. Today, for every dollar its residents pay in federal income taxes, the state collects more than two dollars of federal funding, which includes money for military spending, farm subsidies and industrial development. Yet, for years, the federal projects pipeline had bypassed Mound Bayou despite its anemic economy and median household income of $20,000 a year.

“The grant was for $6 million, and we asked for approximately half of it and we received it, which did not sit well with others that also applied for the money,” said Christian-Brooks, hired by the town to serve as the contract administrator and project manager for the urgent care center.

When it opens next year, the center in Mound Bayou will be the first one in Bolivar County. Currently, the closest urgent care is 80 miles away in Batesville, Miss.

The center is just the beginning of economic redevelopment for the area, said newly elected Mayor Darryl Johnson, who envisions opening a museum to showcase the town’s unique history.

“President Theodore Roosevelt called Mound Bayou, the ‘Jewel of the Delta’ after a trip here,” added Darryl Johnson. “Well, we are pulling that jewel straight out of the dirt, cleaning it off and we are going to make it shine again.”
"JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN, DOES IT MEAN YOU SHOULD?"
Postby giantstepp » Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:13 am
Good find, great read Southernmind!
Postby ephraim » Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:23 am
That's where my family is from!
Worship is polytheism because worship demands duality which is shirk (polytheism) because it establishes multiplicity of being. Meaning me and Allah are not one.
Postby SOUTHERNMIND » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:37 am
ephraim wrote:That's where my family is from!


Word up! :D
"JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN, DOES IT MEAN YOU SHOULD?"
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