African-American

Community


No summary of the history of Greenwood and Leflore County would be complete without emphasizing the contributions of its African-American community. They were brought to this region originally to work as slaves in cotton farming, and have risen through the years to make significant strides in all walks of life.

Fun Fact About the Community


Read about the history of the community in Greenwood from historical place to historical events:
  • The Browning Community in Greenwood is the oldest African-American community in Mississippi and home to the Browning Artesian Well.
  • Wesley United Methodist in downtown Greenwood was organized in 1870, and is the area’s oldest African-American church.
  • Leflore County has produced extraordinary musicians — from early bluesmen like Guitar Slim to the talent of today, including B.B. King and Denise LaSalle.
  • Visit the Blues section of this website to learn more about the history of this influential music in our region.
  • Mississippi Valley State University in nearby Itta Bena, Mississippi has born generations of historic figures from sports stars and Olympians to Civil Rights leaders and present-day civic leaders.
  • Greenwood has produced many pioneers in the struggle for African-American rights, such as June E. Johnson, Mattie Sanders Pilcher, and Arance Williamson.
  • Many consider the catalyst of the Civil Rights movement to be the 1955, murder of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African-American from Chicago, who allegedly wolf-whistled at a white store owner’s wife at Bryant’s Grocery in Money, Mississippi, eight miles north of Greenwood.
  • The Mississippi Freedom Summer came to Greenwood in 1964, and numerous Civil Rights volunteers worked to register African-Americans to vote.
  • In 1966, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) chairman Stokely Carmichael made his famous Black Power speech after being released from jail for protesting in Greenwood.