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Title:
The Southern advocate. : (Mound Bayou, Miss.) 1933-19??
Place of publication:
Mound Bayou, Miss.
Geographic coverage:
  • Mound Bayou, Bolivar, Mississippi  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Publisher:
[s.n.]
Dates of publication:
1933-19??
Description:
  • Began in 1933.
Frequency:
Weekly
Language:
  • English
Subjects:
  • African Americans--Mississippi--Newspapers.
  • African Americans.--fast--(OCoLC)fst00799558
  • Mississippi.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01207034
Notes:
  • Description based on: Vol. 5, no. 33 (May 28, 1938).
  • Has occasional extra editions.
LCCN:
sn 87082832
OCLC:
15738677
Holdings:
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The Southern advocate. April 27, 1940 , Image 1

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The Southern Advocate

After Reconstruction failed to provide long-term equal rights and opportunities for newly freed African Americans, a number of all-black towns were established across the country. These communities sought social, economic, and political freedom that was unattainable in white-occupied areas in the Jim Crow South. One of the most successful "freedmen's towns" was Mound Bayou in the Yazoo-Mississippi River Delta of western Mississippi. Enlisted by the Louisville, New Orleans, and Texas Railroad, who wanted a customer base in the swampy wilderness along its newly completed Memphis to New Orleans line, Isaiah Thornton Montgomery, along with his cousin Benjamin T. Green, founded the community in 1887. Named for its proximity to a Native American mound at the juncture of two bayous, the core of original settlers were former residents of the family's previous attempt at an all-black community, Davis Bend.

A four-page weekly published on Saturday and edited by B. A. Wade, the Southern Advocate (1933-19??) spanned a period of decline and revitalization for Mound Bayou. A major factor in the resurgence was the 1942 opening of a modern medical facility built by the International Order of Twelve Knights and Daughters of Tabor, an African-American fraternal organization. Progress reports on the 42-room Taborian Hospital's construction were frequently published in the Advocate. Another reported event was a January 1941 fire that destroyed much of the town's business district. In the February 1, 1941 issue, a rare editorial responded to criticism from the Delta Leader (1939-19??), an African American newspaper published in nearby Greenville. The Advocate claimed, "We cannot understand why [the Leader] would wait until a disastrous fire … to 'advise' us of the 'four things Mound Bayou needs' none of which, probably would have prevented that fire or will prevent the next one."

Reflecting the principles upon which Mound Bayou was founded, many articles focused on moral and religious matters. The strength of the Advocate, however, was in local social information including school news, community events, and local Republican politics. Frequently, a separate column carried news from the Black community in Rosedale and sometimes from other Bolivar County towns such as Boyle, Cleveland, Merigold, Pace, Shaw, Shelby, and Symonds. Its advertising base comprised the numerous businesses in town and other African American-owned businesses in the Delta. There was little foreign or national news, although significant news from other parts of the state was covered occasionally, such as the 1940 Rhythm Nightclub fire in Natchez. It is unclear when the Southern Advocate ceased publication; there are no known issues after September 13, 1941.

Mound Bayou remained an educational and medical center for African Americans in the Mississippi Delta and a haven for some Civil Rights leaders into the 1960s; however, by the end of that decade a decline had begun. Although currently not the vibrant community it once was, Mound Bayou still exists, and the historic district, which includes the Taborian Hospital and the Knights and Daughters of Tabor building, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Provided by: Mississippi Department of Archives and History