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Mound Bayou, in Bolivar County, Mississippi, was founded in 1887 as an independent black community by former slaves led by Isaiah Montgomery. Its roots actually lead from Davis Bend, Mississippi, where Joseph Emory Davis, an older brother of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, established a 5000-acre plantation as a model slave community. After the war, Davis sold the property to his former slave, Benjamin Montgomery, who operated it as a cooperative until the 1880s, when is failed due to a number of reasons that included falling cotton prices. His son, Isaiah Montgomery, led many of the residents to form a new black community in northwestern Mississippi, creating Mound Bayou. Cotton prices continued to fall however, and many of its early residents lost their land by 1920, and were sharecroppers, declining further in the 1920s and 1930s. When the Taborian Hospital was opened in 1942, the community began to revive. In 1952, Medgar Evers moved to Mound Bayou to sell insurance, and it was here that he was introduced to civil rights activism through the Regional Council of Negro Leadership, whose rallies drew crowds of ten thousand or more. At the time of the 2000 census, almost ninety-nine percent of the town’s population was black. Mary Booze, the first African-American woman to sit on the Republican National Committee, was born in Mound Bayou. However, the town has lost population steadily since 1980. Mound Bayou is situated along US Highway 278, south of Winstonville and Shelby, and north of Merigold, Renova and Cleveland. Greenville, Mississippi is about forty-five miles southwest of Mound Bayou.

 

 

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