Percy Greene

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Percy Greene was an advocate for voting rights of black citizens in Mississippi during the civil rights era. He traveled across the country spreading awareness of the mistreatment blacks endured at the polls. Greene is also the creator of the Jackson Advocate, Mississippi's first and oldest black-owned newspaper.

Personal Life[edit]

Percy Greene was born on September 7, 1897 in Jackson, Mississippi. He was one of twelve children born to George Washington Green and Sarah Stone. At the age of 17, Greene joined the army. Greene studied law under black attorney-physician Sidney D. Redmond and attended Jackson State University. He is in the Jackson State University Hall of Fame for his football talent. Greene was denied a career as a lawyer because the State bar refused to recognize his high exam scores[citation needed]. His other early jobs included mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, magazine salesman with Tuskegee Institute, and the Civilian Conservation Corps. On June 16, 1921, Greene married Frances Lee Reed. The couple had two children: Frances Lorraine and Gwendolyn Louise.

The Jackson Advocate newspaper[edit]

In 1938 Percy Greene started the Jackson Advocate newspaper, now Mississippi's oldest black-owned newspaper.[1]

Voting rights advocacy[edit]

Greene stood for equal rights, justice and opportunities for all. He talked about the Mississippi poll tax and the intimidation blacks suffered at the polls. He spoke all over Mississippi and was recognized in the Pittsburgh Courier for being on their "Top Ten Honor Roll" two years in a row. Eventually he began speaking in Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington D.C.

President Harry S. Truman, after hearing about Greene’s speech, called the Jackson Advocate office and asked what Percy needed in Mississippi and how he could help. Greene said "We need the vote Mr. President. We need the vote…without intimidation, or poll tax... we need the right to vote and the protection of the federal government." The following year, 1948, Percy Green was photographed as he voted for the first time. By 1948, the Advocate circulated 3,000 papers and rose to 10,000 in 1973. Percy Greene died on April 16, 1977.


  1. ^ "Publisher Charles Tisdale dies". The Birmingham News. Birmingham, Alabama. 2007-07-09. Retrieved 2008-01-03. Charles Tisdale, an Alabama native who fought for civil rights as owner and publisher of Mississippi's oldest black-owned newspaper, died Saturday. [...] Tisdale purchased the Jackson Advocate in 1978 from the newspaper's first owner, Percy Greene. 

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