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Mississippi - Canton: Frank S. Street Interviewee
Dent, Thomas C.
Tom Dent interviews Frank S. Street in Canton, Mississippi. Street says he was born in Wichita and moved two Canton in 1958 and attended the public school. He says his father was phycologist that went to Tulane and the University of Texas. Street says his father passed in 1958 and they moved to Canton to be near his mother's family. His father's family lived in Texas. Street says life is slower in Canton then with a higher population of Blacks in Canton. He says the schools were still segregated when he attended, integrating during his senior year in 1965. Street recalls some boycotts that occurred when he was 14. He remembers thinking it was exciting and notes it was successful. He remembers marches, says to ask L.S. Johnson about violence during those marches because he does not recall seeing any as a child. Street says there were two teachers and both were White. The first year of integration he notes there were only two Black students. Street notes that the students at this school were not very active in civil rights and the teachers rarely discussed it. Dent calls it "apathy" or "determination to not acknowledge." Street talks about the "neighborhood schools" which is where Blacks learned before integration. After integration, he says, White students moved to "academies". Street discusses the anger of the local White communities that Whites came from outside the community to participate in marches. Street says he was excited by the marches and would drive by to watch them but was afraid to participate. Street notes that his upbringing in Wichita made him more sympathetic to integration. He notes his Catholic upbringing also made him more sympathetic. Street says he went to the University of Mississippi, majoring in finance, and worked for Handcock Bank afterwards in Poplaville in South Mississippi. He returned to Canton in 1977. Street notes that there are many more Black elected officials in the area then when he grew up. He says this helps the White and Black communities work together. Street notes that there are not a lot of new people coming to Canton because they lack new jobs. He says the farming community is shrinking. Street says that the largest industries in Canton are the furniture manufacturing plant and the chicken processing plant. Street says a lot of local people leave for Jackson to find employment. They discuss Madison and Ridgeland, local communities. Dent asks about local food and assistance programs, Street mentions the Summer Feeding Program and the Madcap. Dent says they have various sources of funding, local to federal. They have a mixed board and provide full time jobs and vital community assistance. Street notes that they started in the 1960s. Dent asks about Street's bank and Street discusses the history of banking in Canton. They also discuss the local square and the business around it, including a new private art school. Street discusses a biannual flee market in Canton and Dent notes skilled Black craftsmen who are looking for places to sell and create. He mentions a market called Congo Square where they can sell and also mentions an "indigenous" craft movement he has been supporting and mentions New Orleans, Mardi Gras, and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
African AmericansArtBoycottsCivil rightsEducationEconomicsIntegrationJazzMusic festivalsOrganizationsTourismUniversities & colleges
Canton (Ms.)Wichita (Ks.)Poplarville (Ms.)Madison (Ms.)Ridgeland (Ms.)New Orleans (La.)
Tulane University Digital Library
Box 154, Item 3, Side 1, Tom Dent collection, Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
Physical rights are retained by the Amistad Research Center. Copyright is retained in accordance with U. S. Copyright Laws.