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The Bolivar County Democrat. : (Rosedale, Miss.) 1887-1969
Place of publication:
Rosedale, Miss.
Geographic coverage:
  • Rosedale, Bolivar, Mississippi  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Dates of publication:
  • Began in 1887; ceased with Feb. 27, 1969 issue.
  • English
  • Mississippi--Rosedale.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01876212
  • Rosedale (Miss.)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: Vol. 3, no. 11 (Mar. 20, 1890).
  • Published every Thursday.
sn 87065645
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The Bolivar County Democrat. January 11, 1902 , Image 1


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The Bolivar County Democrat

Located alongside the Mississippi River, in the heart of the fertile Yazoo-Mississippi River Delta in western Mississippi, Bolivar County was established in 1836. On the eve of the Civil War, the county ranked fourteenth in the state in cotton production relying almost exclusively on the labor of enslaved people to achieve that benchmark. Consequently, since the mid-19th century, the county has had a significant African-American majority. After the war, editor of the short-lived newspaper the Floreyville Star, Blanche Kelso Bruce, emerged as a state leader in the Republican Party eventually serving as the first full-term African-American United States senator (1875-81). Walter Sillers, Jr., segregationist, lawyer, and Mississippi state representative (1916-66) also called Rosedale home. Rosedale, briefly known as Floreyville, is the older of two county seats.

The Bolivar County Democrat was established in 1887 and, for a time in its 82-year run, co-existed with African-American newspapers in the county including the Southern Advocate (1933-41?) in nearby Mound Bayou. Long-time editor Albert David Linnell guided the newspaper for 25 years. After his death in 1928, his wife, Lois A. Linnell, edited the Democrat for another 15 years. The weekly was usually published on Saturdays in its first four decades, and after 1914, it expanded from four to eight pages. The Bolivar County Democrat printed some international and national news, but focused more on state and local news, announcements, and advertisements; it occasionally carried legal notices. In the mid-teens, general interest articles increased and serialized stories were added. By the 1920s, there were regular columns on farming topics and sometimes an entire woman's page. As its name implies, the newspaper supported the Democratic Party. Its final issue was published on February 27, 1969; it was then sold to the Bolivar Commercial published in Cleveland, the other county seat.

Content of the Democrat in the late 19th and early 20th centuries is what might be expected in a paper representing a minority that held the economic and political power in the county. While some news and articles noted accomplishments of certain African Americans, such as an article praising Blanche Kelso Bruce in the October 25, 1902 issue, many news items about the local African-American citizens were not complimentary. Perhaps telling of the attitude of most white Bolivar residents was a reprinted editorial about the "Negro problem" written by an unidentified northern reporter in the November 3, 1906 issue. In a region where cotton was the primary crop, articles about its production and advice on the control of the devastating boll weevil regularly appeared. Also, not surprisingly in a county bordering the Mississippi River, news about flood control predominated; this included tracking relevant legislation and publishing the minutes of the Board of Mississippi Levee Commissioners. In the early 20th century, the Democrat chronicled the development of the town of Rosedale reporting on the establishment of municipal services such as electricity, graded streets, a waterworks system, and a fire department. In addition to chronicling the rise of Walter Sillers, Jr., the Bolivar County Democrat also reported news of other members of his prominent family.

Provided by: Mississippi Department of Archives and History