Oxford AASC: Photo Essay

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PHOTO ESSAY

Black Nationalism and Independence Movements

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Home of Isaiah T. Montgomery

Courtesy of Library of Congress

In 1888, the freed slaves Isaiah T. Montgomery and Ben Greene founded Mound Bayou, Mississippi, an experimental planned community for African Americans. Using the teachings of Booker T. Washington as inspiration, Montgomery and Greene formed the self-governing and economically independent town that flourished in its initial years. Montgomery, whose Mound Bayou home is shown here, served as mayor for the town from 1898 to 1902. In addition to a successful political career, he became close friends with Booker T. Washington, who often used the town as an exemplar of black independence in his writings. While Mound Bayou has not regained its previous prosperity, the town continues to be a predominantly black town. In 2000, 98.4 percent of the town's 2,093 people were black or African American.

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