380 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI MEREDITH’S MARCH AGAINST FEAR James Meredith was the first African American to enroll at the University of Mississippi. The intervention of the federal government in the desegregation of Ole Miss and his outspoken cries for equality made Meredith a prominent civil rights leader. In 1966, he began a March Against Fear from Memphis to Jackson. Meredith was shot three times on the second day of the march, but Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., along with other Civil Rights Movement leaders came and completed the march. Starkville in 1926. The Borden Milk plant was tremendously important for the town and region. As the company’s largest facility in the South, it brought outside economic attention and business to Starkville. It also had profound effects on the region’s economy. With the ability to process nearly 5 million gallons of milk a month into sweetened condensed milk, the plant boosted the income of local dairy farmers. As a major employer in the region, the plant helped to spur Starkville’s grow from 2,500 people in 1920 to over 15,000 by 1980. With Starkville boldly and proudly proclaiming itself to be “the dairy capital of the South,” people wanted to live and work there. The plant remained a critical feature of the town’s economy until its decline in the 1970s and final closure in 2005. Dairying was not the only industry founded during this era. The appearance of cotton mills across the Clay Hills attested to how some in the region found new ways to find profits from the crop that had long been the state’s staple. Indeed, between 1867 and 1906 the Clay Hills became home to nine of twenty-two mills constructed in the state. Because these mills attracted many workers from the countryside, they boosted urban growth and gave rise to small industrial districts that lent a more urban feel to towns. The Water Valley-basedYacona Mills opened in 1879 and was the first in the Clay Hills. The Noxubee Mills in Shuqualak followed the next year, and one in Columbus opened seven years later. Then there was a gap. Other mills in the region did not appear until after 1899. The small town of West Point, along the Mobile and Ohio, opened its small cotton yarn mill at the turn-of-the- century. With seventy employees, most of whom were women and girls, the plant at first produced fine yarn for weaving plants in the Northeast. Under new ownership during the 1920s, the plant expanded dramatically and its focus shifted to supplying other weaving mills in Mississippi. During World War II, it produced yarn for the military. In 1948, it began to manufacture cloth too. The mill was a mainstay of the town’s economy until its closure in 1953. Kosciusko and Winona also had significant mills that opened at roughly the same time. PHOTO COURTESY OF MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF ARCHIVES AND HISTORY