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Rosalyn Mitchell Patterson

minister, carpenter, and civil rights activist, was born Walter Melvin Mitchell, the eldest child of Minnie Mitchell, a homemaker, and an unknown father, in rural Greene County, Georgia. Mitchell was told by relatives that his father was Fate Buice, the son of a white planter in the community where his mother lived. Although Buice never openly acknowledged Mitchell as his son, he maintained contact with Mitchell over the years. In the mid-1920's Buice traveled nearly a hundred miles from Greene County to Augusta, Georgia, to hear Mitchell preach at the historic African American Springfield Baptist Church. Mitchell's early life was greatly influenced by his grandfather, Pano Mitchell who maintained a strong affinity for the land and his African heritage Mitchell and his five sisters and brothers attended the local school through the sixth grade the highest grade available for African Americans in that ...

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Jarod H. Roll

labor organizer, community activist, preacher, and farmer, was born Owen Hones Whitfield into a sharecropping family near Jonestown, Mississippi, in the heart of the Delta. His father's name was Thomas Whitfield; his mother's name is unknown. Like most children in the cotton South, Whitfield attended school sporadically. The Whitfield family moved frequently in search of better farming opportunities and often supplemented their income with wage work. During moves through Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi, Whitfield was able to save enough money from odd jobs to enroll at Okolona College, a small Baptist college in Mississippi, in 1912. He studied theology for two years, during which time he met and married Zella Glass, a thirteen-year-old cotton picker.

Newly married and with the first of seven children on the way, Whitfield continued his search for profitable farming. In 1922 the Whitfields moved to southeast Missouri ...