Mississippi Black History Makers
Publication Year: 2009
This new edition of biographical sketches of notable blacks from Mississippi expands the edition published in 1977. A total of 166 figures are included in this new printing, all of them persons who have, by the authors' comprehensive survey, "made significant contributions in bringing about the uplift of the black race."
Black history makers are defined herein as those who have achieved national prominence in their fields, have made lasting contributions within the state as pioneers in fields where blacks were not previously allowed, or contributed in their own community or field, representing the lives of many blacks and serving as role models of what can be accomplished. Each of those included in the book either was born in Mississippi and spent a part of his or her childhood there or migrated to Mississippi and remained.
Seventy-five history makers have been added to those in the first edition which included Hiram R. Revels, the first black U.S. Senator; Blanche K. Bruce, the first black U.S. Senator to serve a six-year term; political and civil rights leaders such as Aaron Henry, Medgar Evers, and Fannie Lou Hamer; and contributors to arts and letters such as Leontyne Price, William Grant Still, Margaret Walker Alexander, and James Earl Jones; and many others./ Among those included in this new edition of Mississippi Black History Makers are William Johnson, a free black from antebellum Natchez; Margaret Murray Washington, wife of Booker T. Washington; "Bo Diddley" McDaniel, a pioneer rock-and-roll musician; Walter Payton, running back for the Chicago Bears; and other notable black Mississippians.
Information about many contemporary figures who appeared in the first edition has been updated, and the book has been reorganized in ten thematic sections: politics, civil rights, business, education, performing and visual arts, journalism and literature, military, science/medicine/social work, sports, and religion. Each section is introduced with an historical overview of this field in Mississippi, written by Margaret Dwight.
This book is a valuable reference work for those wishing to assess the contributions of blacks to the history of Mississippi. Of particular significance is the fact that it is a collection which brings attention to lesser known figures as well as those of considerable renown.
Published by: University Press of Mississippi
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Title Page, Copyright
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This edition of Mississippi Black History Makers, like the first edition published in 1977, presents a panorama of biographical profiles on Mississippi blacks who have made significant contributions in bringing about the uplift of the black race, from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. ...
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To appreciate the impact that black politicians have had upon Mississippi society, one must understand that southern politics has historically been based upon the racial doctrine of white supremacy, Jim Crowism, and conservatism. Southern politics was oppressive to blacks and fed upon the denial of civil liberties, executive, judicial, and legislative inequality, and reinforced violence. ...
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For centuries, the black struggle to obtain civil rights in America, particularly in Mississippi, has been a gradual but continuous battle. The methods of achieving this goal have been modified, but the objectives have remained unchanged. In Mississippi those engaged in the civil rights movement of the 1980s are seeking equal employment opportunities, ...
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Lack of capital, training, and clientele have prevented most black Mississippians from entering the business world. During the antebellum period, slavery inhibited the progress of free-born blacks toward economic independence, and racism spurned the evolution of black economic nationalism and self-help during and after Reconstruction. ...
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Education was of paramount concern and the motivating force within the Mississippi black community before and after freedom. It was the key to enlightenment, the eroding agent of ignorance, and the catalyst to uplifting the black race—economically, socially, and politically. ...
Literature and Journalism
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Beginning in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, an embryonic black bourgeoise, expressed disdain for mores and customs of African origin. Prior to that time black writers in the United States had imitated the writing style of white authors and chosen non-racial subject matters for commercial appeal. ...
The Performing and Visual Arts
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The history of black music in Mississippi can be traced to its African origin. The ballad, for example, gives a history of black people or ceremonious occasions. Southern blacks utilized musical instruments similar to those of Africans—the banjo, fiddle, drum, rattles, tambourine, and harmonica. ...
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The cornerstone of Mississippi black communities has historically been and still is the black church. Political, social, cultural, and economic affairs emanated from this religious structure. The church provided the necessary training for preachers who espoused biblical truths, moral welfare, political action, civil rights, and economic nationalism. ...
Science, Medicine, and Social Work
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Unequal rights and opportunities in education and jobs have kept Negroes from gaining the knowledge and experience necessary for scientific achievement. This is especially true of the black experience in Mississippi. For too long, blacks were denied an education; many could not obtain knowledge in the natural sciences because of Jim Crowism. ...
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Among blacks, the realm of sports has provided the opportunity for success, escape from slums, and the avenue for fame and fortune. Yet, sports perpetuated the myth of blacks' brawn and whites' brains. Black athletes were generally viewed as nonintellectuals, symbolized as potent studs, and utilized as objects. ...
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Although black Mississippians have fought and died for America's freedom out of a sense of patriotism—voluntarily, in most instances— it took approximately eight wars and 300 years before they and other blacks gained any semblance of equality in the military. ...
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Page Count: 468
Illustrations: 36 photographs, 2 line drawings (all black-white)
Publication Year: 2009