The Goodman Mississippi native’s 1960 biography of the abolitionist statesman Charles Sumner received a Pulitzer Prize. In 1988, Donald was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his biography Look Homeward: A Life of Thomas Wolfe.
1961: David Donald’s biography Charles Sumner and the Coming of the Civil War receives Pulitzer Prize.
January 31, 1961: James Meredith applies to University of Mississippi, telling the registrar he is black
February 4, 1961: University of Mississippi rejects James Meredith’s application
March 21, 1961: Jackson Municipal Library sit-in held
March 28, 1961: Tougaloo students appear at courthouse
After being held in jail for over 30 hours for ”breaching the peace” at the Jackson Municipal Library, the Tougaloo students were tried and convicted. They were ordered to pay a $100 fine and were given a 30-day suspended sentence.
May 4, 1961: Freedom Rides begin
Integrated groups of Freedom Riders organized by the Congress of Racial Equality traveled through the South challenging segregation on buses and in bus stations.
May 24, 1961: Freedom Riders arrive in Jackson
The Freedom Riders were immediately arrested by the police while trying to integrate interstate travel facilities in Jackson, including the Greyhound and Trailways bus stations, the Illinois Central train station, and the municipal airport at Hawkins Field.
Image: The Old Greyhound Bus Station is now an architect’s office and the site of a Mississippi Freedom Trail Marker commemorating the history of the building. The Trailways Bus Station was demolished in 1976 to construct the Davis Planetarium.Link to the catalog
May 26, 1961: Freedom Riders convicted
Freedom Riders were found guilty of breach of peace and fined $200 and given a 60 day suspended sentence. Refusing to admit guilt by paying the fine or posting bail, the riders chose to remain in jail for 39 days. Hoping to break Mississippi law enforcement, more riders arrived and took the “jail no bail” stance flooding the jails. Riders were eventually sent to Parchman to serve out their sentence.Link to the catalog
August 1961: Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) worker Robert Moses directs voter registration drive in Pike County
September 25, 1961: Herbert Lee murdered by Rep. E. H. Hurst at cotton gin outside Liberty
Lee had helped Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee leader Bob Moses register African American voters.Link to the catalog
October 4, 1961: High school students jailed in McComb
Ike Lewis and Brenda Travis were refused admittance to school after their August arrest at the McComb Greyhound station. More than 100 McComb high school students to walked out in protest and marched on city hall. Surrounded by an angry mob, the students knelt to pray on the City Hall steps. Police arrested 116 African American students for breach of peace. 97 students (under the age of eighteen) were released. The 19 “adults,” including SNCC workers, were arrested for breach of peace and contributing to the delinquency of minors.
October 25, 1961: NASA announces national rocket test site in Hancock County
Named the Mississippi Test Operations, the facility was built to test Saturn V rockets that would later take Americans to the moon during the Apollo program. The MTO was renamed several times throughout its history and is now known as the John C. Stennis Space Center.