By Edelia Dr. Jay Carthan,
The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (FDP) in Holmes County hosted its second Black Lives Matter March, July 4, on Independence Day in Tchula, MS.
About eighty people attended and participated in the march in downtown Tchula and mostly everyone was wearing masks during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the beginning, I had a vision as the president of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in Holmes County to take the protest to each municipality to bring awareness to the senseless police brutality that is adversely affecting the black community,” proclaimed Cardell Wright.
“Sometimes, as black people, we can sit idly watching horrific things happen to our people and not say anything because it is not directly affecting us; but I do my best to convey the message to all that if it happens to one of us, it happens to all us,” Wright said.
“I believe that if the black community unites as one, then we can affect change in this nation. The success of the Civil Rights Movement can once again be achieved if we stand in solidarity and let our voices be heard as we proclaim that we are tired of being treated as predators and less than human. So, we are continuing the protests because we believe in equality, fairness, equity and harmony,” Wright continued.
“Tchula, MS has always been the backbone of Holmes County because the first FDP was established in the Milestone community which is approximately six miles from Tchula. Tchula was very formative for the work that was accomplished during the Jim Crow South. Moreover, Dr. Eddie Carthan is a legend and hero of mine. He has been very instrumental and influential since my ascension to the presidency of the FDP. It just seemed automatic for me to take the next protest to Tchula,” Wright commented.
The speakers for the protest in Tchula included Jon’na Bailey of Holmes County FDP, Eddie J. Carthan, who was the first black mayor of Tchula, MS; Curtis Hill of the Knollie Jenkins Foundation, Jamel Brooks who is the founder of C.O.B.R.A. (Counter Oppressive Black Radical Association) of Canton, MS, Supervisor Alfonzo Greer of Beat 5 and Cardell Wright.
“I remembered the first time I met Dr. King, I was 14 years-old. We marched in Jackson and they arrested us and put us in the cow stalls at the Mississippi Fairgrounds where they keep livestock because the county and city jails were full. We had no food or water for three days,” Eddie J. Carthan recalled. “Fifty years later, we are still marching and protesting for the same rights. Something has to change. Something must be done,” Carthan said.
The turnout in Tchula was much more than anticipated. People in attendance were standing around, sitting in vehicles or on four-wheelers listening to the guest speakers.
The next protest for the FDP will be held in Pickens, MS. The protest date has not been set but Wright said it will be around the first of August.
“Pickens played a crucial role in the fight for justice, so we are extremely excited about what’s to come,” Wright said. “In the meantime, while we are preparing for the Pickens protest, I will be focusing on planting the FDP in the municipalities. It is pivotal that the FDP exist in each community because they represent the people and help hold our officials accountable as well as fight against all forms of injustice and discrimination,” Wright explained.
“It is time for the FDP to take a prominent role in this society and I am determined to see this vision come to pass,” Wright announced.
The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, also known as the Freedom Democratic Party was founded April 26, 1964 as part of a voter registration project for African Americans in the state.
During the Freedom Summer of 1964, three Civil Rights workers, Michael H. Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney, who were associated with the MFDP, disappeared and were later found murdered with several gun shot wounds.
The regular Democrats wanted to seat an all-white delegation at the 1964 National Democratic Convention which met in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The FDP protested.
Supporters of the FDP came from all over the United States to support their protest. Fannie Lou Hamer, Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party founder and leader, spoke at the convention. In an attempt to hide her testimony, President Lyndon B. Johnson had a live White House press conference. However, her testimony was eventually televised and aired by all the major television networks.
FDP efforts led to the passage of the Voter Rights Act of 1965.