Cassie O. Jr.

Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Atlanta University (AU)

Degree Name



Political Science


This study looks at black empowerment in five rural Mississippi towns with black mayors by analyzing the impact they have had in attempting to alter the socioeconomic status of blacks in their respective towns. The following indicators were used to measure the political effectiveness of black mayors in reordering the socioeconomic status of blacks: (1) distribution of governmental services to the black community; (2) employment and economic development; (3) housing; and (4) health care. This study was initiated because of the recent changes in the political position of blacks in Mississippi and the American South in general. It was also Chief Oliver Anderson. 34 In May 1979, United States District Court Judge Orman R. Smith, Jr., awarded Crowe $10,000 in damages. And six months later Crowe was awarded $11,000 in attorney's fees and $1,363.97 in expenses for the suit he brought against city officials after he lost in the 1973 municipal election. A third case is pending in federal court alleging that Crowe was deprived of the right to be on the ballot in the 1977 city election, an election in which he ran for Alderman. The current suit further alleges that Mound Bayou officials denied many residents the right to vote in the 1977 municipal election. In addition, the suit charges that officials rigged the city voting machines to reject ballots that were not marked for a slate of candidates controlled by Mayor Lucas; as a result over 1,100 votes were invalid. The final intrablack conflict to be mentioned centers around a move to change the name of the local high school from John F. Kennedy Memorial High School back to its original name - Mound Bayou High School. In 1963, immediately; after the death of President John F. Kennedy, the Interview with Milburn Crowe, 10 March, 1980. undertaken because of the need to question those social scientists who accept the usual assumption that voting and black empowerment are prior conditions for changing the socioeconomic status of blacks in the American South. The findings of this study, however, reveal that voting and black empowerment will bring few changes in the socioeconomic makeup of the black community. In fact, the economic plight of black constituents and the fiscal situations of political subdivisions controlled by blacks will, in many cases, worsen.