Mississippi's First Black Town Was Originally A Plantation

Photograph of enslaved people in the United States
Leslie Taylor-Grover
August 27, 2020

It was time for them to make a decision. The Civil War was raging, and the plantation owner was running from the Union Army. But what about those who were enslaved? What choice did they have?

Because of the owner’s “benevolence,” our ancestors on the Davis plantation had their own form of self-government and a self-contained criminal justice system. They even ran the plantation owner’s local store. But did they have freedom?

For all his “empowerment,” the owner was the brother of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy. At the end of the day, he was still a slaver. 

As he planned to flee, he offered to take them with him – to “safety.” So would they join him? Or stay?

They stayed! And their settlement, then called Davis Bend, became the first Black town in Mississippi. They found freedom and opportunity for decades, and it inspired the founding of other all-Black towns

Though Davis Bend ended up being overtaken by the Mississippi River, it proved one thing.

We have a proven history of the successful creation of our own spaces, even against all odds. We must always seek our liberation by educating ourselves, pooling resources, and working together!

We have a quick favor to ask:

PushBlack is a nonprofit dedicated to raising up Black voices. We are a small team but we have an outsized impact:

  • We reach tens of millions of people with our BLACK NEWS & HISTORY STORIES every year.
  • We fight for CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM to protect our community.
  • We run VOTING CAMPAIGNS that reach over 10 million African-Americans across the country.

And as a nonprofit, we rely on small donations from subscribers like you.

With as little as $5 a month, you can help PushBlack raise up Black voices. It only takes a minute, so will you please ?

Share This Article: