326 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI keep African Americans from voting, the measures did not mention race. As such, the U.S. Supreme Court deemed constitutional and permissible these new voting provisions. From the 1890s through the 1960s, African Americans in the Delta remained legally disenfranchised, turning local, regional, and state politics into an all-white affair. The lone African American delegate at the 1890 constitutional convention was from the Delta. In 1847, Isaiah T. Montgomery was born on the Hurricane Plantation near Davis Bend, which was located just south of Vicksburg. Joseph Davis, the brother of Jefferson Davis, ran this plantation in an unusual way. He gave greater autonomy to African American slaves than the typical plantation owner did. He avoided brutalizing slaves and believed that a sense of cooperation with slaves would make them more efficient workers. In fact, Joseph Davis eschewed the term slave and instead called the more than 300 African Americans on his plantation servants. Compared with most plantations, Hurricane provided a wealth of opportunities for self-determination and improvement among slaves. Montgomery and his father, Benjamin, were allowed to CURTIS WILKIE Southern journalist and scholar Curtis Wilkie was born in Greenville in 1940. During World War II in 1943, he moved with his parents to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where they contributed to the war effort. After his father died in a fire in Greenville in 1947, Wilkie lived with his mother and stepfather in Summit. He graduated from Corinth High School in 1958 then went on to study journalism at the University of Mississippi, where he received his bachelor’s degree in 1963. From 1963 to 1969, during the heat of the civil rights movement, Wilkie worked as an editor and reporter for the Clarksdale Press Register. Having witnessed the struggles of African American students like James Meredith to enroll at Ole Miss during the early 1960s, Wilkie became inspired to join political efforts. He worked with Aaron Henry, Hodding Carter III, and others to unseat segregationist Mississippi delegates during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. From 1969 to 1971, the American Political Science Association granted Wilkie a Congressional Fellowship, which allowed him to work for legislators Walter Mondale and John Brademas. Beginning in the early 1970s, Wilkie served as a news reporter for publications in Delaware and Boston. He solidified his reputation as a top-notch journalist while working for the Boston Globe for more nearly three decades. During his time there, he covered eight presidential campaigns and numerous wars and foreign revolutions and also served as a White House correspondent from 1977 to 1982. After developing the Boston Globe’s Southern division in New Orleans in 1993 and retiring from the paper in 2000, Wilkie returned to his native Mississippi to teach journalism at his alma mater, Ole Miss. Wilkie has held the title of Fellow at the Overby Center for Journalism and Politics at the University since 2007. Wilkie is the author of two critically- acclaimed political books. The Fall of The House of Zeus: The Rise and Ruin of America’s Most Powerful Trial Lawyer was published in 2010 and again in 2013, and Assassins, Eccentrics, Politicians, and Other Persons of Interest: Fifty Pieces from the Road was published in 2014. He has also co-authored two books: Arkansas Mischief: Birth of a National Scandal and City Adrift: New Orleans Before and After Katrina. Additionally, Wilkie has published numerous articles for The New York Times, Newsweek, Washington Journalism Review, The New Republic, and others. Wilkie currently lives in Oxford and New Orleans, Louisiana, with his wife, Nancy. PHOTO BY TIMOTHY IVY run their own mercantile business and travel to New Orleans to deal with prospective buyers. Benjamin and Isaiah Montgomery had been taught various mechanical and technical skills on Davis’s plantation. Furthermore, they could read and write, a rarity among African American slaves. After the Civil War, the Montgomerys organized the all-black colony at Davis Bend and enjoyed many of the blessings of freedom. In 1887, Isaiah Montgomery and a group of local African Americans purchased 1,500 acres of land in Bolivar County from the LNO&T Railroad and started the all- African American town of Mound Bayou. Populated and controlled by African Americans, Mound Bayou became a thriving and prosperous community. Fine homes and active businesses dotted the Mound Bayou landscape, a place that served as an oasis for African Americans during the harsh times of Jim Crow. As a representative to the 1890 convention, however, Montgomery cast his vote for the constitutional changes that disenfranchised African American Mississippians for nearly three generations. He did not object to the poll tax, literacy test, and understanding clause. The founding