There is something terribly American, full of hope, and trust, and celebration in this anniversary celebration pamphlet for the city of Mound Bayou, Mississippi. (I talked to someone in town administration this morning and the "Mound Bayou" is pronounced as one, quick, word: "Moundbayou", with equal pronunciation emphasis.) 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."
The original document is available at our blog bookstore, here.