July 12 1887 First Mississippi New Afrikan/Black Settlement & Town Mound Bayou in Mississippi was Born!!!
Isaiah Montgomery, 1847-1924. Co-Founder Mound Bayou, Mississippi July 12, 1887:Two former slaves, Isaiah Montgomery, 40, and his cousin, Benjamin Green, 33, have finally realized a dream they have had since childhood – to establish Mississippi’s first all black town complete with social, economic and political freedom.
part of their childhood dreams as young slaves became a reality. They founded their all-Negro community of Mound Bayou, some 10 miles north of here.
Both Montgomery and Green fervently believe true black freedom can be realized only in a segregated, all-black environment. The men contend that only under such racially supportive conditions can former slaves realize opportunities for individual advancement living alongside the white Southern society.
Ironically, Isaiah Montgomery is an ex-slave of the Confederate President Jefferson Davis family. Montgomery grew up on the Davis’ Hurricane Plantation at Davis Bend, 20 miles south of Vicksburg.
Isaiah Montgomery early education that ideas formed in his mind for a Mound Bayou-type settlement, or as he says, we want “to develop (a community) unencumbered by (racial) handicaps imposed on us by the dying traditions of the past.”
Montgomery and Green bought 840 acres of land from the Louisville-New Orleans & Texas Railroad for $7 an acre. That acreage would serve as the site of Mound Bayou.
This is certainly not the most hospitable land in the state. Only about 75 acres is immediately available for cultivation. The rest of the land is covered with dense brush and trees that can be traversed only with a hatchet or a machete. But the underbrush could be considered a minor problem compared to the bears, panthers and snakes that freely roam the area and, of course, there is the ever-present threat of swamp fever.
Both Montgomery and Green want Mound Bayou to be a sanctuary for black families and black culture for blacks everywhere.
Haki Kweli shakur The Struggle is for Land PT II
Ex Slaves Get Their Colony and Land
Real Picture of Original Black Settlers of Mound Bayou Mississippi(Black Town/City) tearing into the land while others watch for wild animals this is self determination to be independent(Independence)
The fall of 1887 marked the arrival of the first group of settlers. Leaving their families behind, this sturdy group of men faced the typically difficult obstacles of forging a frontier community. Less than 75 acres were available for cultivation, land The rest was covered by a thick coating of trees and undergrowth, through which the only means of moving was by hatchet or machete. The forests were filled with wild animals, and there was the ever-present fear of swamp fever, to which some settlers succumbed. Nevertheless, this small band of Black men, many of whom had struggled with the Montgomerys and the rest of the men fell to their knees and prayed for guidance in their momentous undertaking. Montgomery then turned to the men and exclaimed:
” Why stagger at the difficulties that confront you; have you not for centuries braved the miasma and hewn down forests like these at the behest of a master? Can you not do it for yourselves and your children unto successive generations that they may worship and develop under their own vine and fig tree? ”
For several years the settlers just barely got by, the major means of subsistence being the sale of excess timber to the railroad for cross ties and staves. Some settlers sharecropped; others sent their wives and children to work as domestics or pick cotton for white planters, thereby “keeping the wolf from the door.” It was not a comfortable existence, and some of the settlers didn’t last. In fact, at the end of five years, many of the settlers including Montgomery were largely in debt to the railroad. However, Montgomery induced the railroad to renew the contracts whenever necessary, and if a man failed, another was put in his place. Simon Gaiter, one of the original settlers, offered this summary of life in these frontier days:
When I started to Mound Bayou, I had $175 in total cash assets, and after purchases of land and provisions, I had left only ten dollars. I planted a garden, set my wife and children about to clear up land at $4 per acre, while I myself went into the woods and engaged in getting out stave boards. In the fall most of the women and children of the neighborhood went to Shelby and picked cotton. In 1889 I picked cotton for the Messrs. Blanchard Bros., white planters, and I rolled logs at night, and made staves in the day!