Mound Bayouian to be honored with wreath
by Paisley Boston
Jan 17, 2014 | 2423 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mound Bayou is rich in natural history and one of the most prominent figures, who once inhabited the town, is being honored with a wreath laying ceremony.

The ceremony is set to take place on Thursday from 4:30–5 p.m. at the gravesite of Frederick Miller in Mound Bayou.

The event is part of the Mississippi District of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. annual state convention and it is open to the public.

Miller is noted for being the founder of the Epsilon Xi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

He also published the Mound Bayou News Digest and was one of the first fraternity brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha to recommend incorporating the fraternity.

He was elected president at the annual convention in Philadelphia, Penn., on December 27, 1910, and served from 1911–1912.

There were only nine chapters at the time across the country on the campuses of colleges and universities.

According to Earl Lucas, former mayor of Mound Bayou and former friend of Miller, Miller was a wonderful person and he was also the author of the "Black Manifesto" although James Forman receives credit for this particular work.

"I sat in the room right next to Fred as he wrote it. He didn't care much about receiving the fame from it; therefore, he allowed James to take the credit," said Lucas.

According to Lucas, Miller also founded the first Elks Lodge in Mound Bayou and was very loyal to his community.

"I never knew him to have a real job. He told me that he did not have a Social Security number or card," said Lucas as he softly chuckled.

"Fred was a couple of years older than me. I remember when we were in high school, Fred would let people borrow his car to go to the prom and if anyone from our town went to jail for any reason he would bail them out," he added.

Lucas said Miller and his family were very wealthy and extremely humble.

"Fred had one of the largest homes in Mound Bayou and when he died, I was told that he had $300,000 cash in the bank. This was rare during this time," he said.

Lucas said he was persuaded to run for mayor after having a conversation with Miller.

"At the time, Fred served as chairman of the election committee. He was very influential in tricking me to run for mayor in Mound Bayou. At the time, I was very skeptical about running but Fred offered me some very encouraging words; therefore, I ran for mayor and I won. I served as mayor for 24 years," he added.

"I became the mayor of Mound Bayou in 1969. After I was sworn in, the same night, a group of boys threw eggs at my home. I notified Fred and he assured me that things would be okay," Lucas continued.

For more information about the wreath laying ceremony, contact Media/Public Relations Committee Chair Steven Richardson at 601-421-8589.