Oldest Slave Founded Town in Mississippi – Mound Bayou, Mississippi

Mount Bayou, MS.jpgOldest Slave Founded Town in Mississippi – Mound Bayou, Mississippi

Tracing history of the former slaves of the area can be an interesting journey.  This journey may take you to Mound Bayou which was founded in 1887 by Isaiah T. Montgomery and his cousin, Benjamin T. Green.  These two men were both former slaves of Joseph Emory Davis.  The community is situated halfway between Vicksburg, Mississippi and Memphis, Tennessee off of Highway 61.  It is the oldest bastion of Black municipal government in the South.  The community is also the oldest black city in the United States.

These two men had a dream of creating a U.S. Negro Town even before the Civil War.  They wanted it to serve as a sanctuary for African-American families and culture.

Named after nearby Mississippian mounds, Mound Bayou was founded by Black settlers in conjunction with the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad, which was laying track through the area. Its founders were trying to escape post-Reconstruction violence and repression in the South by establishing their own community. Today, this essentially agricultural area remains 99.6% Black, the largest such municipality in the country.

Stop in for a visit, look at the historical buildings, see how the community functions and listen to the stories of the people that live here.  It will be a nice stop on your vacation in Mississippi.

Contact: mound.bayou@yahoo.com 

Phone: 662-641-0119, Pastor Darryl Johnson

67 Responses

  1. Gloria M.

    To the Porter relatives. Does the name Aaron or Campbell sound familiar to you at all? How about the Morgan Family name?


  3. I live in Biloxi,Ms. on the gulf coast.I am always seeking to know what truly happened during slavery in northern Ms. .I do lots of research on this topic and was honored to find this web site in re: to Mound Bayou..I find this very interesting.I am looking for my own ancestors as well.I will continue to find what ever I can and to make sure my grand children follow me on this historical journey.We have come far but there is still miles to go in the M ighty Mississip.I am aware of slavery down in southern Ms.as well but we know times were far worse the further north you move in Ms..Hope to visit this historical community in the near future………………………………………………….love to you in the ‘Bayou’

  4. Mound Bayou is my home town, has the finest schools there. The teachers are awesome,dedicated to their profession. I lived there until 1970. I knew the Carr family. I come to visit Mound Bayou once a year I wonder is the Carr family still reside there I am thinking of moving back home. I am so proud of my home town, its southern hospitality i s what i miss the most, thank you for keeping Mound Bayou the same way it was when I moved away. There are a lot of memories there. Rosie Russell

  5. Eleanor Ross - Richards

    I was born in Mound Bayou Mississippi in 1948. My Mother, who is 85, and two siblings are still alive. I have an Aunt, on my dad’s side, who is alive and well. I also have several family members who are still in Mound Bayou. In reading the email postings, it’s amazing how many names are familiar to me. With that said, feel free to contact me via email. My mom has a picture of her basketball team (1942/43).

    -Campbell’s are still there
    -I’ve heard the names Norman, Brayboy Petty, Hooper etc.
    -Oscar Norman’s name, my mom remembers him. I played with children in town with the
    Norman name (drug store?)
    -Dr. Howard delivered me in the hospital
    -I remember Dr. Howard’s small zoo (his travel’s to Africa)
    -I recall Viera’s Cafe (burgers)
    -Azine Church

    The best times of my childhood were the summers in Mound Bayou on my grandfather’s farm.

    My family – Various Members:
    Ross’ (daddy’s side)
    Keller- Jack / Alberta (grandparents)
    Stidhum’s (cousin’s)
    Mitchell’s (extended family)
    Burton’s (Aunts’ / cousin’s)

  6. My father, Freddie Riley was born in Mound Bayou, Mississippi, probably during the year of 1923.
    I remember, over my youthful years, He spoke quite harshly, in regards to the way blacks were treated during his tenure in Mound Bayou.
    I, my brothers and sisters were born in Muskegon Michigan. Incidentally, our Father (Freddie Riley) and Mother (Izola Riley) with us, drove to Mound Bayou from Michigan, during the 50’s. As a kid, I remembered not seeing any Caucasian people there. We visited the small down town and the high school he attended. I also remember seeing cotton for the first time. I, as a kid could not believe clothes (cotton) grew on bushes. Also, the Santa Clause was black. At 6 or 7 years of age, Mound Bayou was an Eye opener for me. I sensed My father was not proud of Mound Bayou during his youth, however he seemed to be Ok with Mound Bayou of the 1950’s, during our visit! Thank you. Gary L. Riley U.S. MARINES (RETIRED)

  7. I lived in Mound Bayou from birth to 1964. Upon graduation, Sunday, May 24, 1964, 2 weeks later, I left Mound Bayou and went to Memphis, TN. Mound Bayou was nice, small town living, but I wanted to find, as they say, “what was at the end of the rainbow”. I now live in Chandler, Arizona, but I often think about Mound Bayou. I still have friends there that I communicate with often. Plan to go and visit soon.

  8. Eleanor Ross-Richards, are you related to Lucille Ross? We were classmates. What is your email address? Email me at: epresley3180@q.com. My maiden name is “McGee”.

  9. i’m sitting here looking at area in which i grew up, and it is good to sit back and look at the past, especially when there’s so many personal memories; my dad’s name was essie ervin and we lived out west of mound bayou on a plantation doing my childhood, i could go on and on, but respect is always in order….


  10. My younger sister and brother was born in the hospital there during 1950’s,we diden’t live in Mound Bayou my father took my mom there to the hospital.I live in Tampa, Fl. This summer I
    will be on vacation in Grenada,MS along with the brother and sister who now lives in Oklahoma
    City.We are certainly going to visit this town.


  11. Norma Ross Abbott

    For the first time I have met my cousin Lucille Ross, who’s from Mount Bayou. She is beginning to fill me in on my family history. Lucille stated the Ross family had a get together for Memorial day weekend this year(2012). I hope to be present next year if the event occur again, along with my family. My Grandfather was name Boswell Ross.

  12. I visited Mound Bayou in the late 70’s and was told that whites’ could live in Mound Bayou, but couldnot own land there. Is this true? I experienced a wonderful time when I was there.

  13. I was born in Merigold, MS to the parents of Walter and Vera (Franklin-Riley) Ross. My grandparents were William & Hattie Ross. We Moved to St.Louis shortly after I was born in 1960. I remember all of my uncles and aunts that eventually moved to the surrounding areas, like Shelby, Clarksdale, Cleveland, and Merigold. I have a great-uncle James Ross, that resides in St.Louis. I would like to talk with any family members. I heard of the Ross reunion, I believe it was the first of its kind, through my sisters, Barbara from California. That sounded really exciting for the family, keep up the good work.

    Ron, from California

  14. Lucille Ross are you Peaches, if not, as I recalled, Peaches and I are close in age. I remembered playing as kids when we came to visit, Uncle Diego and Uncle CT

  15. My Great Grandparents were Edmond & Phebe Ross. If anyone has any history of them, please contact me through email: uno2remember@live.com

  16. pearlie and crystal

    does anyone know of William brayboy

  17. Does anyone remember Lottie Brown, Minnie Porter or Len Porter or Mary Porter? They lived in Mound Bayou around 1940’s.

    God bless