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#MoundBayou, located in northwest Mississippi, was founded in 1887 by ex-slaves, #IsaiahMontgomery & his cousin #BenjaminTGreen, as an independent #BlackCommunity. “From 1890 to 1915, Mound Bayou was a land of promise for Blacks. Encapsulated in this “promise” was self-help, race pride, economic opportunity, & social justice, in a self-segregated community designed for blacks to have minimum contact with whites until integration was a viable option to black freedom.” White people were not allowed to purchase land in Mound Bayou. Its economy was bolstered by agriculture, specifically cotton, & was home to many businesses, cotton gins, a sawmill, a cottonseed oil mill, schools, a post office, a train station, a library, & a bank…all #BlackOwned & #BlackOperated. At its peak, Mound Bayou’s population reached over 8,000. The town had its own newspaper, “#TheDemonstrator”, & even had its own government “where all the members were Black & were elected by the members of the community.” #BookerTWashington was a staunch advocate of Mound Bayou & worked closely with the town’s leaders to help develop its laws & government. In the 1920s, cotton prices fell & #TheGreatMigration began which halted the growth of Mound Bayou. Some attribute the town’s demise to #Desegregation, stating “This is a case we've seen across the country in which black communities, people who had more options, left those communities to move to the suburbs, or to move to urban areas with more opportunities, & took their know-how & their resources with them." I wonder sometimes if integration hurt us more than it helped. Currently, Mound Bayou’s population is under 1,500,with more than half of its children living under the poverty line. Though it pales in comparison to its heyday,Mound Bayou is a part of our history, a safe haven providing social, economic, & political freedom to Black ppl. Mound Bayou was a sanctuary for Black people escaping Jim Crow, fostering an environment where being black was a positive, not a punishment...a place Blacks could live without fear of repercussions for being black. Mound Bayou empowered Black people and continues to do so through its legacy!