EAST CENTRAL MISSISSIPPI 275 EAST CENTRAL MISSISSIPPI 275 County and employ 300 workers. Chickasawhay Natural Gas began servicing Quitman residents by 1951 and Southern Natural Pumping Station, established south of Enterprise, helped the area grow considerably. New housing at the gas plant brought new residents to Enterprise. Erwin Mills bought Stonewall Mill, which later became a division of Burlington Industries. Following military discharge in 1946, Medgar and Charles Evers returned home as American veterans and registered to vote in Decatur. They were, however, barred from voting. Both joined the NAACP and became avid civil rights activists. Medgar Evers made application to the University of Mississippi Law School, but was denied admission in 1954. He assisted the NAACP with a racial discrimination lawsuit against the university. His attorney was Thurgood Marshall. Medgar Evers was never admitted to the University of Mississippi, but became Mississippi’s first field secretary for the NAACP, organizing voter registrations, boycotts, and demonstrations against discrimination. His passion for fairness and justice, especially after the 1955 lynching of Emmett Till, made him and his family a threat to Mississippi’s closed society and stirred even more hate. The Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954 was unpopular among Mississippi’s white majority, and this was reflected by resistance led by the state’s political leaders. Kemper Countian John C. Stennis opposed the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Civil Rights Act of 1968. He also signed the Southern Manifesto of 1956, supporting filibuster tactics to block or delay passage in all cases. Leake Countian Ross Barnett was a Dixiecrat and a Southern Democrat who lost the Mississippi governor’s race in 1951 and 1955, but would go on to win in 1960. Another East Central native, Scott Countian James Eastland, stated, “On May 17, 1954, the Constitution of the United States was destroyed because of the Supreme Court’s decision. You are not obliged to obey the decisions of any court which are plainly fraudulent sociological considerations.” The Citizens’ Council formed in Mississippi to resist attempts at desegregation. The Council publicly eschewed violence, but generally failed to condemn the use of violence by the Ku Klux Klan. The Council used political and social connections to enact pro-segregation legislation, exert economic pressure on supporters of civil rights activities, and intimidate African Americans who MARTY STUART Five-time Grammy Award winner Marty Stuart was born on September 30, 1958, to parents John and Hilda Stuart in Philadelphia. By the time Stuart was twelve years old, he had developed a deep passion for country music, learned to play both the guitar and the mandolin, and even performed professionally with the Sullivans, a group of bluegrass musicians. Soon after meeting and playing with Roland White and other band members of Lester Flatt in the early 1970s, Stuart was asked to officially join the band. He performed with Lester Flatt until the group disbanded in 1978 and was involved in various music jobs until 1980, when Stuart’s childhood idol, Johnny Cash, invited him to join his backing band. That year, Stuart produced his first long play record, With a Little Help from My Friends. But his first highly recognized album came in 1982 with the release of Busy Bee Café, which included guest recordings by Johnny Cash, Earl Scruggs, and other well-known artists. After Marty divorced in 1988, he found himself back in Mississippi. There, Stuart quickly rejoined the Sullivans and again left Mississippi for Nashville. Within a year, Stuart signed with MCA and produced a critically acclaimed album called Hillbilly Rock, which featured three Top Ten hits including “Little Things” and “Burn Me Down.” In 1992, Stuart became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Throughout the 1990s, Stuart and his label tried to build on this success, producing The Marty Party Hit Pack and promoting several Marty Party concert features on the Nashville Network. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Stuart took a brief hiatus from recording. During this time, he collected country music memorabilia and served as president of the Country Music Foundation. Also, in 1997, Stuart married fellow country artist Connie Smith. In 2003, Stuart joined Sony’s Nashville division, with whom he would produce his albums Country Music, Souls’ Chapel, Badlands, and Live at the Ryman. Stuart later produced a honky tonk album called Ghost Train: The Studio B Sessions with Sugar Hill Records in 2006. Today, Stuart continues to record with his band, The Superlatives, and with other legendary artists such as Mike Campbell, guitarist for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. In addition to his five Grammys, Stuart has been recognized numerous times by the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music. PHOTO COURTESY OF VISIT MISSISSIPPI™