428 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI RENASANT BANK On February 27, 1904, a group of businessmen from Tupelo joined together to form The Peoples Bank & Trust Company. Peoples withstood the Bankers’ Panic of 1907 and the 1929 National Bank Holiday. The bank began to rapidly grow with its assets increasing from $3 million in 1954 to $73 million in 1973. Peoples began to open many banks in Mississippi and in 2004, its name was changed to Renasant Bank. Between 2003 and 2007, Renasant grew to more than $3.4 billion in assets. Now, Renasant operates more than 175 locations in multiple states and has banking, lending, insurance, and financial services offices with $8.5 billion in assets. PHOTO COURTESY OF RENASANT BANK THE PEOPLE’S BANK OF RIPLEY The Peoples Bank has always been a locally owned, community bank. Over ninety years ago in 1925, several prominent members of the Ripley community started the bank. The Peoples Bank began with three employees and now employs over seventy people. The Peoples Bank strives to make their slogan a true representation and their main focus is serving their customers. Bobby Martin served as President and CEO of The Peoples Bank until 2012. He celebrated his 50th year with the bank in 2011 and currently serves as the Chairman of the Board. In November 2012, Vice Chairman, COO, and cashier Mary Martin Childs was elected the sixth President and CEO of The Peoples Bank. line in mostly white northeast Mississippi was not as rigid as it was in those areas of the state with an African American majority. The Citizens’ Council, very strong in the Delta, failed to found a chapter in Tupelo, and a newspaper that had been established to counter George McLean’s “liberal” editorial policy failed to catch on. After passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, PHOTO COURTESY OF THE PEOPLES BANK OF RIPLEY African American citizens registered to vote without challenge and they organized the first NAACP chapter with no white reaction. The city desegregated the city facilities and the schools in 1965. Conflict did not appear until the mid-1970s when Tupelo already had an African American alderman. The spark was the beating of Eugene Pasto by Tupelo policemen. North Mississippi Legal Services won