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Brief History of the African American Community of Iuka, Mississippi

Partially transcribed from Autrey William Mangumʼs book entitled Down Memory Lane:  A History of Iuka, Mississippi, 1915-1983 by RaNae Vaughn.


African Americans have been a vital link in the history of Iuka, Mississippi.  Strong emphasis should be put on local color in order for us to appreciate the contributions which all people have made to the great melting pot.  So the names of some people who were hard-working spiritual leaders in Iuka and were an inspiration to the youth of Tishomingo County are included in this brief history.


Mr. Charlie Clement was an African American gentleman who owned a farm near Eastport.  He was a man with vision.  When others were ready to throw up their hands in despair, he saw hope in the future.  There was not a local high school for African American at the time, but he sacrificed out of his meager earnings to send his children off to get an education.  All of his offspring made good citizens and made substantial contributions to this area.


Mr. Moses Mitchell worked miracles in a one-room school with many children.  He was a conscientious teacher, one who could inspire when there seemed to be no hope.  Many young people were given a good foundation for adulthood by this man.  His daughter, Eva Ford, also taught in our public school system.


Another man whom everybody knew was Mr. Oscar Rogers.  He worked at the local railroad station during the days of steam engines.  This man knew how to live.  He would cut hair at the station and would give young people sound advice on how to live as a human being.


Mr. Sam Fordʼs name was synonymous with the local newspaper during the days when G. W. Dudley and Mr. Sparks were editors of The Vidette.  His son, Sam Ford, Jr., was also associated with his father.  Few men in Iuka were more intelligent and better informed than big, jolly Sam Ford.


In the field of religion, Mr. Clarence Hill, who worked for the J. C. Jourdan Lumber Company, was a deacon in the Baptist Church.  His spiritual counsel was sought by those who needed direction on how to live the good life.  He served his country in the Army in World War I.


Others inducted in the Armed Forces who served with distinction in World War I include Floyd Patterson, Jim Moody, Percy White, Bernie McMillian, Clarence Hill, Puch Duckett, and Bob French.


Another Duckett known by nearly everyone in Iuka was a grave digger at the Oak Grove Cemetery.  He probably dug more graves in Iuka during the early 1900s than any other man.  His first name may have been Andrew.


Mr. Bob French raised a good family in Iuka.  He married the daughter of Mr. Henry and Sarah Cummings.  On small earnings, he sent his daughters to college.  One of his daughters, Helen Rogers, earned a M.A. degree from Roosevelt University.


Mr. Tobe and Adda Smith were good people with Christian backgrounds.  They worked unselfishly with children in the community.


Another remarkable woman was Mrs. Victory Hogue.  Everybody in the area called her Aunt Vick.  She was an ex-slave and an unlettered woman, but she was extremely intelligent.  She raised six or seven children with almost nothing.  The Johnsons of Riverton, Ala., and Iuka are related to her.


John Clark is another African American man that cannot be excluded.  Although he could not read and write, he was an intelligent man.  He was calm under pressure and lived a long life in Iuka.


Mr. Henry Cummings was a good city of Tishomingo County.  He raised a family in Iuka.  He was also a home owner, and his offspring made good citizens in various parts of the United States.


Every African American family in Iuka that had a man of draft age volunteered or was drafted in World War II.  These individuals include the Slaughter brothers, James, William, and King; the Hill men, Louis, Clarence, Benny, and Frizer; Thomas Jenkins; Bill Kilgore; and Oscar Rogers.


The individuals mentioned above did not expect to be given a spot in the history of Iuka.  These families made major contributions, not only to Iuka, but to our nation as well.  African Americans have been a vital force in shaping the history of Iuka and Tishomingo County.

Courtesy of Tishomingo County Historical & Genealogical Society.

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MSGenWeb Tishomingo Co. Coordinator: Jeff Kemp


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