A group of Black people talking on a street in Mound Bayou, Mississippi. Photo Credit: © Photo Credit: © New York Public Library Digital Collections.

United States – Mound Bayou, Mississippi

Mound Bayou, a town located on the Mississippi Delta was founded circa 1887 by freed enslaved people, Isaiah T. Montgomery and his cousin, Benjamin T. Green, who purchased 840 acres of Mississippi swampland.

The goal was to become a self-reliant, autonomous, all-Black community. During its heyday, Mound Bayou had dozens of businesses, including three cotton gins, a sawmill, a cottonseed oil mill, a bank, and a hospital. Mound Bayou, proclaimed by Teddy Roosevelt as “The Jewel of the Delta”, has unfortunately fallen on hard times and the population is down to just 1,500 but it remains 98% Black.