Mound Bayou in Bolivar County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
T. R. M. Howard
—The Mississippi Freedom Trail —
Mound Bayou businessman and physician Theodore Roosevelt Mason Howard (1908-1976) founded and led Mississippi's pre-eminent civil rights organization in the 1950s, the Regional Council of Negro Leadership. A charismatic speaker and mentor to Medgar Evers, he led rallies and successful boycotts. He attempted reconciliation with the white community, but a bloody campaign against black civil rights activists, he left the state in 1957.
T. R. M. Howard, M.D., a Kentucky Native, founded the Regional Council of Negro Leadership (RCNL) in 1951 in Cleveland as a parallel organization to the white Delta Council, which gave economic interests a voice regarding public policy in the state. The RCNL was made up of black leaders from many walks of life: ministers, business people, and members of other activist organizations. It stressed economic issues and offered classes in voter registration. Howard was also a founding member of the Mississippi NAACP.
Howard promoted an agenda of black entrepreneurship, maintaining that political power required financial power. He led voter registration drives, supported boycotts, and lobbied Washington for services and hospitals. The RCNL's annual Mound Bayou rallies drew crowds of up to 10,000, and in 1952 featured an appearance by famous
A physician, banker, insurer, and farmer, Howard launched several businesses in the Mississippi Delta of the 1940s and was chief surgeon at the Knights and Daughters of Tabor hospital in Mound Bayou before setting up his own clinic. He also built a small zoo and a park as well as the first swimming pool for blacks in Mississippi.
When George Lee was murdered in May, 1955, Howard pressed for a federal investigation. Later that year, after the murder of Emmett Till, Till's mother came to Mississippi for the trial and stayed in Howard's home. He provided her with armed escorts to the courthouse in Sumner and out of the state after the verdict. After the trial, Howard's friend Roy Wilkins the executive secretary of the NAACP arranged for Howard to go on a national speaking tour about the Till murder and the sham trial. In his speeches he berated J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, accusing them of neglect in cases involving black victims. In January 1956, the Chicago Defender ranked Howard first on its annual national honor roll. After he left the state in 1957, Howard opened the largest privately owned black medical facility in Chicago.
He was a mentor to major civil rights figures including Fannie Lou Hamer, Amzie Moore, Aaron Henry, Medgar Evers, and Jesse Jackson. Evers lived in Mound Bayou for a time and worked
Erected 2012 by the Mississippi Development Authority Tourism Division. (Marker Number 8.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Freedom Trail marker series.
Location. 33° 52.838′ N, 90° 43.673′ W. Marker is in Mound Bayou, Mississippi, in Bolivar County. Marker is at the intersection of Edwards Avenue and Roosevelt Street, on the right when traveling south on Edwards Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: Edwards Avenue, Mound Bayou MS 38762, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Friendship Clinic (here, next to this marker); Site of Mound Bayou Oil Mill & Manufacturing Company (a few steps from this marker); Mound Bayou (within shouting distance of this marker); Taborian Hospital (within shouting distance of this marker); Mound Bayou Blues (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Newton (Keys) Hotel Site (approx. 0.2 miles away); AKA Mobile Health Project (approx. 0.6 miles away); Delta Health Center (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Mound Bayou.
Also see . . .
1. Wikipedia article on T.R.M. Howard. (Submitted on October 31, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
2. Blackpast biography of T.R.M. Howard. (Submitted on October 31, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
Categories. • African Americans • Civil Rights • Industry & Commerce •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 31, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 219 times since then and 35 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on October 31, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.