Souvenir Program of the 50th Anniversary of Mound Bayou, Mississippi, July 11-17, 1937. Shelby, Miss. : Press of J.W. Covington, 12x9 inches, 59pp, illustrations. Articles, and numerous ads. Fair copy, with the paper browning and becoming brittle. Formerly part of the Library of Congress Pamphlet Collection, coming to the library form the White House (so marked on the back of the cover, stamped "By Transfer/the White House/August 17, 1937". Rare;only four copies located via WorldCat/OCLC.
There is something terribly American, full of hope, and trust, and celebration in this anniversary celebration pamphlet for the city of Mound Bayou, Mississippi. The Souvenir Program, for the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the town (July 11-17, 1937), is filled with town history, and advertisements, and photographs.
Isaiah T. Montgomery was one of the founders of Mound Bayou, clearing out the bottomlands in the wilderness of northwest Mississippi, the town populated by Freedmen. But here at the time of the anniversary, in 1937, with the failure of cotton prices and the Depression being at its height or depth, the majority of the people living in Mound Bayou were sharecroppers, with most property lost.
"The real significance of Mound Bayou...cannot be measured by the number of acres we own, neither by the size and number of businesses we operate, the strength of our financial institutions, nor by the eminence of or native sons and daughters. But the true significance of Mound Bayou lies in the fact that we are able to demonstrate to the world that the Negro can and does live as a law abiding citizen under the authority of the "bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh". The reading continues: "We have no jail because we don't need one. Int he entire community dwell 8,000 Negroes and we have not had a capital crime in thirteen years. Petty crimes are infrequent."