Taking our Rightful Place in History / We Honor These 15 Brave Men Who Filed The Voting Rights Case
The Birthplace of the Voting Rights Movement in Mississippi
Rev. I.C. Peay et al. vs. Luther Cox
It was here on Mobile Street at various businesses that 15 African- American Men regularly met and donated their personal money to retain a local White Attorney to represent them in the U.S. District Court in Hattiesburg in the first Voting Rights Case filed in the State of Mississippi. This lawsuit was filed on April 11, 1950. against the Forrest County Circuit Clerk Luther Cox for refusing to register them as Voters. The case of the 15 Petitioners was dismissed by the U.S. District Court on October 13, 1950, and they appealed their case to the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A favorable decision was rendered on June 21, 1951, by the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals thereby reversing the dismissal by the U.S. District Court and the Court ruled that the Petitioners could only be required to Read or Interpret a section of the Mississippi Constitution and they should not be required to do both.
We honor these 15 brave men who filed the voting rights
Rev. Isaac C. Peay - Pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church
Mr. Benjamin F. Bourn - Owner of Bourn Grocery
Mr. Rufus Howze - Owner of Whitney's Grocery & Williams Cleaners
Mr. Ratio Jones - Educator/Teacher at Eureka School
Dr. Charles W. Smith - Physician
Rev. Johnnie H. Mayes - Pastor of Sweet Pilgrim Baptist Church
Rev. Charlemagne P. Payne - Pastor of St. Paul Methodist Church
Dr. Theodore J. Fykes - Dentist
Mr. Joe Knox, Sr. - Retired/Farmer
Mr. Milton Barnes, Sr. - Owner of Barnes Cleaners & The High Hat Club
Mr. Alfonso Clark - Owner of Clark Funeral Home
Mr. Barry L. Neal - Retired Military Officer
Dr. E. Hammond Smith - Pharmacist and owner of Smith Drug Store
We honor the Southern White attorney who represented the 15 African-American men:
Former Chancery Court Judge T. Price Dale
We honor the appeal bond sureties:
Mr. Frank Williams - Owner of Williams' Grocery
Mr. Paul J. Weston - Relator & Owner of OK Cleaners
Mr. McKinley W. Jones - Railroad Laborer
Dr. L.A. Nash - Dentist
Erected 2020 by Attorney Glenda F. Funchess.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Civil Rights. A significant historical date for this entry is April 11, 1950.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Rev. W.D. Ridgeway (a few steps from this marker); A Bench By The Road (a few steps from this marker); J.B. Woods Park (within shouting distance of this marker); Eureka School (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Roots of Rock and Roll (about 400 feet away); East 6th Street USO Club (approx. 0.2 miles away); St. Paul Methodist Church (approx. ¼ mile away); Pittman Park (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hattiesburg.
Also see . . . 15 men stood up for voting rights in Mississippi. Now they will be honored 70 years later. Article on the Hattiesburg American site, dated October 1, 2020. (Submitted on December 4, 2020.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 26, 2021. It was originally submitted on December 4, 2020. This page has been viewed 137 times since then and 5 times this year. Last updated on June 13, 2021, by Glenda F. Funchess of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Photos: 1. submitted on December 4, 2020, by Cajun Scrambler of Assumption, Louisiana. 2. submitted on June 9, 2021, by Cajun Scrambler of Assumption, Louisiana. 3. submitted on June 24, 2021, by Cajun Scrambler of Assumption, Louisiana.