Mound Bayou prepares for Founder's Day
by Paisley Boston
Jul 09, 2014 | 1717 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The city of Mound Bayou will reflect upon its founding members on Saturday, during its Annual Founder's Day Celebration.

A dramatization, performed by Kemetic Institute will kick off the event.

It will begin at 1 p.m. in the Mound Bayou Facility Building.

"The title of the play is 'The Spirit of Mound Bayou.' During this event, children will put on a play that portray the lives of our founders," said Mamie Tate, Mound Bayou City Club president.

Immediately after attendees delight in the play, they can stand and watch a Founder's Day parade.

The parade will begin at city hall and end at the gravesite of the city's founding members.

"At the cemetery, there will be a gravesite service honoring Mound Bayou’s founders, Isaiah T. Montgomery and Benjamin T. Green," said Tate.

According to the city’s Web site, Mound Bayou draws it origins to individuals of the community of Davis Bend.

In the 1820s, the brother of Jefferson Davis, Joseph E. Davis, who wanted to create a model slave community on his plantation, established Davis Bend.

After the Civil War, Davis sold his property to former slave Benjamin Montgomery, who had been a prominent leader of Davis Bend. In the northwest Mississippi wilderness, Isaiah T. Montgomery, son of Benjamin Montgomery, and Benjamin Green led the founding of Mound Bayou in 1887.

"Founder's Day is all about commemoration. We take a pause from our everyday activities and lives to show appreciation for where we have came from and where we are now. It is highly significant because of how important Mound Bayou is to African American History. We commemorate Mound Bayou's day of establishment on this day," said Mayor Darryl Johnson.

"The community self-empowerment that Mound Bayou has had throughout the years has produced a legacy of various African American leaders, innovators, and great lineages," added Johnson.

At one time, the all African American owned town included: 3 schools, 40 businesses, 6 churches, a train depot, a newspaper, 3 cotton gins, a cottonseed oil mill, a zoo, the Carnegie library, a bank, a swimming pool, a sawmill, a Farmers Cooperative and Mercantile company, and a hospital.  

According to Johnson, his great grandmother took part in beginning the Founder's Day celebration.

"Mound Bayou has been celebrating Founder's Day for a long time. The Renovative Society in Mound Bayou started founder's Day. This organization was spearheaded by my great grandmother, Ada Simmons," said Johnson.

"Sometimes we celebrate for an entire week and other times, we celebrate for just a day. We are looking forward to a wonderful event," he continued.

"This event has been on July 12 for many, many years. Mound Bayou was founded July 12 and we want to continue the beautiful history of our city," he added.

During the gravesite event, Dr. D’Linell Finley of Alabama and native of Mound Bayou, will give a brief history about Mound Bayou.

"Hopefully, we will have a big turn out. It is so important to celebrate our founders and we would like for each and every citizen to come out. Visitors are welcome," said Tate.