Friday, February 19, 2021

Intimidation and Voter Fraud

James Markham, my 2nd great grandfather, was an election manager in Feb of 1889. Grandpa was born about 1831 in South Carolina. He was a slave on the David Buie plantation near Caseyville, MS, where he remained until his death around 1898. The newspaper article below shares that Grandpa was terrorized and could not carry out the line of duty assigned to him. Reconstruction was well over. Democratic candidates and their supporters replaced Republican candidates by the means necessary, through violence and voter fraud.

The Republicans have succeeded admirably up to this time in proving that the election in this county was fair and entirely honest. For a day and a half witnesses were questioned as to why no Republican tickets were sent to Caseyville, one of the largest negro precincts in the county. It was shown that the Republican executive committee had prepared tickets and had forwarded those intended for that box to one Jame Markham, a respectable colored man who votes at Caseyville and that he was charged to have them early on the morning of the election at the voting places. Various Republican witnesses mentioned that Markham had been terrorized and intimidated, so that he was afraid to carry out the line of duty assigned him.

This evening Markham himself was sworn in on behalf of Kernaghan and proceeded to account for the failure of the tickets. He said that before the election of Cleveland he had been a Republican, but after the Democrats had obtained control the administration was so fair that he had changed his politics: that he was born in South Carolina and reared in Mississippi, and loved the Southern people and believed them to be his friends: that he was not consulted about the tickets and that the Republicans are fools if they expect him to peddle Radical tickets for them.

The Brookhaven Leader
Brookhaven, Miss, March 07, 1889

Thursday, February 11, 2021

My Book Angel

The death of Meredith Coleman Anding, one of the Tougaloo Nine who helped to integrate the public library in Jackson, Mississippi, leads me to think about my library experiences. The public library in Jackson was probably integrated somewhere around 1964 when I was a young child. My parents were separated during this time period. My father took with him the only car our family owned, which did not matter because my mother did not drive, therefore, I have no memories of visiting public libraries as a child.

My Aunt Alice was my book angel. Aunt Alice was pleased with herself when she landed a job as a custodian in a public school after working several years as a domestic. She would have better wages, health insurance, a Christmas Club bank account, and a pension plan. Since she lived next door to me, her joy spread to our household. I was happy she was happy knowing there might be more oreo cookies in my future.

Alice Durr Dent

During the school year, she would bring home a book or two, but mostly magazines. The children's magazine Highlights was my favorite. The end of the school year was almost as good as Christmas. Boxes of discarded books and magazines, crayons, puzzles, erasers, etc. would be welcomed in our home.

I don't know if she knew how much joy those gifts of love brought to this niece who enjoyed books. Thank you, Aunt Alice, for being my book angel.

Monday, February 8, 2021

George Washington Carver Municipal Public Library

Taking its place at the head of the class with regard to Negro library services, the city of Jackson will formally open George Washington Carver Municipal Library, Friday, April 20, 1956.

This library is reported to be the first brand new building, planned, designed and built with public funds for giving library service to Negroes in the state of Mississippi and possibly the first for any city the size of Jackson in the entire south.

Clarion Ledger, Jackson, Miss. April 20, 1956

Fri, Apr 20, 1956 – Page 9 · Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Mississippi) ·

When this library was opened in Jackson, Mississippi, I was a few months old. I have no childhood memories of visiting this public library. My family lived outside of the city limits of Jackson and we did not have access to this library.

Here is a current picture of the abandoned building located in the historic Farish Street District on North Mill Street.