Isaiah Montgomery

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Isaiah Montgomery (May 21, 1847 – March 5, 1924) was the son of Ben Montgomery, and the founder of Mound Bayou, Mississippi. Soon elected mayor, he was an active politician, even participating in the 1890 Mississippi state constitutional convention which disfranchised black voters. He was seen as promoting an accommodationist position, a position which would soon be shared by another former slave and eventual black leader Booker T. Washington.

Early life and education[edit]

Born into slavery, Isaiah was afforded an education due to his father's relatively influential position on the Davis Bend plantation. Following the end of the American Civil War, he began a business with his father. It lasted until Benjamin Thornton Montgomery's death in 1877.

Ben Montgomery had long dreamed of establishing an independent black colony.


After his father's death in 1877, Isaiah worked to make that dream come true. With his cousin Benjamin T. Green, he bought property in the northwest frontier of Mississippi Delta bottomlands to found Mound Bayou in 1887. Bolivar County was the largest in the Delta. As farmers cleared land, they started cultivating cotton.

Montgomery worked to procure blacks protection of the law and to keep their work and lives separate from supervision by whites.

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