Isaiah T. Montgomery House - Mound Bayou
Built in 1919 for Isaiah Thornton Montgomery, the only African-American delegate to the 1890 Mississippi Constitutional Convention, the house stands an important historical marker in the town of Mound Bayou. After Montgomery's death in 1924 the home was used for nursers, teachers, and a private residence.
A Save America's Treasures grant was secured through the National Trust for Historic Preservation and matched by the Mississippi State Legislature and the African American Heritage Preservation Grant Program for exterior renovations totaling more than $110,000. Planning is currently underway to determine the best course of action for the building.
On June 26th, the National Trust for Historic Preservation announced that the Isaiah T. Montgomery House in Mound Bayou has been named as one of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in America.
In December 1887, Isaiah T. Montgomery and his cousin, Benjamin Green, both former slaves of Jefferson Davis’s family, bought the land on which they would establish Mound Bayou, the nation’s oldest all-black municipality. Montgomery recruited other freed slaves to join the new community, and after much hard labor to convert swampland into agricultural fields, Mound Bayou became one of the leading cotton producers in Mississippi. Montgomery built his grand Craftsman-style house in 1910 to serve as the centerpiece of civic life in Mound Bayou.
“The Isaiah T. Montgomery House stands as a testament to not only one man’s perseverance, but the ultimate success of his community in the face of unrelenting racism and hardship,” said Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “By naming this site to the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list, we hope to shed light on this important piece of Mississippi history, and continue to expand the narrative around Mississippi’s ongoing struggle to come to terms with the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.”
This endangered historic place is owned by the Knights and Daughters of Tabor, a non-profit organization building on a rich legacy to bring new life to Mound Bayou. The Mississippi Heritage Trust is working with the Knights and Daughters of Tabor to identify partners and resources to restore the Isaiah T. Montgomery House to become an educational center where people from around the world can join together to explore issues of race, equality and justice.
To join the fight to save this National Historic Landmark, call the Mississippi Heritage Trust at (601) 354-0200.