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Page 19

In July 2005 Mound Bayou, Mississippi, historian and native son Milburn J. Crowe donated a late-nineteenth-century album of ninety photographs of the Benjamin Thornton Montgomery family and their friends and associates to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Benjamin Thornton Montgomery, gifted engineer, businessman, and ex-slave, bought the Davis Bend, Mississippi, plantations Hurricane and Brierfield from his former owner, Joseph Emory Davis (brother of Jefferson Davis), in 1867 and hosted a colony of tenant freedmen farmers that survived until 1886, nine years after his death. Benjamin Montgomery's son, Isaiah Thornton Montgomery, founded the town of Mound Bayou, one of the earliest self-governing black communities in the United States, with his cousin, Benjamin Titus Green, in 1887.

The album, patented in 1865, features photographs of Benjamin and Isaiah Montgomery, Benjamin Green, Frederick Douglass (correspondent of Isaiah's brother, William Thornton), and many Montgomerys, Lewises (relatives of Benjamin's wife, Mary), Greens, and other family members and friends. The album includes an index of unknown authorship for only the first twenty-one pages. Several photographs were rearranged or removed, so identifications may or may not be accurate.

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