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Mississippi - Mound Bayou: L.C. Dorsey Interviewee [Part 1]
Dent, Thomas C.
Tom Dent interviews L. C. Dorsey in Mound Bayou, Mississippi. Dorsey says she was born on a local plantation in Washington County named Trivet, owned by the Walker family. She moved to the area around Greenwood when she was about seven, and then Sunflower County about three years later. She lived there until 1975. She has spent most of her life in Shelby and considers it home. She went to Hunter High School, which was a segregated school. She had a child before she could graduate from high school and returned to finish her degree a few years later. Dorsey went to a degree program in Stoney Brook, New York. It was a shoot off of the Civil Rights movement that counted extracurricular activities towards a degree. There, she took a class on the prison system taught by a former female convict. Afterwards, she worked for Head Start for a few years and went to law school at the University of Mississippi Law School. Before she could finish she left her husband and got a divorce. She moved with her six children to Jackson and got a job with the Lawyers Committee. Part of her job was to monitor the compliance of local prisons. She went to the local prison once or twice a week and found many violations. She went back to school at Howard in Washington D.C. and worked for the Social Services program there, focusing on human rights within the prison system. Dorsey says the people of the delta have really changed since her childhood. They are less supportive of each other now. People rely on agencies now instead of friends and family. She says the change is due to the introduction of the idea of federal programing in the 1960s. People had done for themselves earlier, and now they expect to have aid handed to them. She says violent crime has also grown drastically since she was a child. For example, there were no "gangs" when she was growing up and she was shocked to find them when she returned to the area. She says one thing that has changed for the better is that interracial couples are a lot more accepted now than they used to be. However, the banking system is still specifically designed to keep Blacks down. They often refuse loans to Blacks, or make it very difficult to open checking accounts and get credit. Dorsey says they do have a high level of Black elected officials but they are not very transparent with or active in the community and a generally very ineffective leaders. She also talks about White flight and its effect on the tax base. Many of these elected officials are embezzling money, Dorsey says. Dent asks why Dorsey believes community has been disintegrating since the 1960s. She says that oppression may be the answer: before the Civil Rights movement the Black community was segregated and kept down. They shared a sense of oppression by the system and therefore felt responsible for each other. After Civil Rights, there was a new understanding that the government should take care of people and the sense of community suffered. She also discusses the particular struggles of being a Black woman, how they have been separated from Black men and repressed in specific and very different ways. She discusses housing projects initiated by White politicians that are designed to break up Black communities, therefore diluting their voting power. They talk about the change in agriculture and the general economy in the area. She says agriculturalists used to be Black men and they are now Hispanic men. She talks about the new generation, people are too poor to leave home and start their own families. They are generally under-employed or unemployed and stay home, remaining burdens on their families and getting involved in crime. There are no new Black entrepreneurs and the children of this generation are brought up in unstable family units.
African AmericansAgricultureBusiness peopleCivil rightsEconomicsRace relationsUniversities & colleges
Dent, Thomas C.Dorsey, L. C. (Lula Clara Warren), 1938-
Mound Bayou (Ms.)Washington County (Ms.)Sunflower County (Ms.)Stoney Brook (N.Y.)Washington (D.C.)
Tulane University Digital Library
Box 152, Item 9, 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.