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The Delta leader. : (Greenville, Miss.) 1939-19??
Place of publication:
Greenville, Miss.
Geographic coverage:
  • Greenville, Washington, Mississippi  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
H.H. Humes Pub. Co.
Dates of publication:
  • Began in 1939.
  • English
  • African Americans--Mississippi--Newspapers.
  • African Americans.--fast--(OCoLC)fst00799558
  • Greenville (Miss.)--Newspapers.
  • Mississippi--Greenville.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01220255
  • Mississippi.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01207034
  • "Black publication."
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: Vol. 10, no. 17 (Oct. 7, 1939).
  • Masthead contains the phrase "Advocate of the Mid-South."
sn 87065122
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The Delta leader. December 19, 1943 , Image 1


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The Delta Leader

After the Civil War, timber companies, among others, cleared the interior of the swampy, flat expanse of the Yazoo-Mississippi River Delta in western Mississippi, opening up new areas of rich, alluvial soil to cultivation. The Delta became the most productive cotton-producing land in the world; corporate and private landowners prospered. Their wealth was built through the exploitation of a large pool of cheap labor, mostly sharecroppers, the majority of whom were free, formerly enslaved people. Consequently, many Delta counties, including Washington, had a significant African-American majority.

Serving the African-American community in and around Greenville, the Washington County seat and a Mississippi River port, the weekly Delta Leader began in 1896 as the four-page Delta Lighthouse. In 1930, Levye Chapple, son of Lighthouse founder John C. Chapple, became the publisher and renamed the newspaper the Greenville Leader. During its days under this title, Harrison Henry Humes joined the journal as editor. In 1939 Humes bought the paper and changed the title again, this time to the Delta Leader. As a member of the Associated Negro Press, the Leader carried a wide range of content, including foreign and international news of interest to its readership in addition to local news and announcements. Unlike many other African-American newspapers, the Leader obtained advertising dollars from both black and white establishments which provided it with a stable financial foundation. From its beginning, the Leader was normally published on Saturdays. It is not clear when the journal ceased publication, but the last known extant issue was published in December 1955.

In contrast to former owner Levye Chapple, who was active in the Greenville NAACP, Reverend Humes, a leader among African American Baptist clergy in Mississippi, had more moderate views regarding the relationship between black and white citizens in the state. Unlike its counterpart, the Southern Advocate, in the all-black Delta town Mound Bayou, the Leader had a regular editorial page where Humes denounced "black agitation" and promoted cooperation with the white community. He also advocated for a "separate, but equal" policy endorsing voluntary segregation rather than integration. He frequently disagreed with leaders of Mound Bayou including physician, entrepreneur, and Civil Rights activist, Theodore Roosevelt Mason Howard. Shortly before his sudden death in January 1958, it came to light that Humes accepted payment for services from the Sovereignty Commission, a state agency designed to uphold racial segregation and white supremacy, an act condemned by many Civil Rights activists in Mississippi.

Provided by: Mississippi Department of Archives and History