What is: The Magnolia Life Insurance Company, Mound Bayou, Mississippi
What was: Dr TRM Howard owned the Magnolia Life Insurance Company, based in Mound Bayou.
In 1952, after Medgar Ever’s graduation and after Myrlie’s sophomore year, the couple settled in Mound Bayou, the all black town in the Mississippi Delta. Medgar became an insurance agent for Magnolia Mutual Insurance, one of the few black-owned businesses in Mississippi where a young black person could get a decent job.
Dr. T.R.M. Howard, who owned the insurance company, also founded an organization called the Regional Council for Negro Leadership. Medgar became active with this group and deeply involved with poor black people. His travels as an insurance agent gave him a close, first-hand look at their conditions, convincing him that more had to be done for black sharecroppers. It was largely because of Howard’s influence that Evers, from 1952 to 1954, not only traveled his Delta route selling insurance, but organized new chapters of the NAACP.
The NAACP organizing travels convinced Evers that Jim Crow rendered the state a virtual closed society and that mobilizing at the grassroots level was essential for building a movement for social change. Increasingly, too, Evers saw himself in the vanguard to put an end to Mississippi’s infrastructure of segregation. Other people in the still-young Mississippi Civil Rights Movement also began thinking of Evers as a leader. Source: https://www.mec.cuny.edu/history/struggle-of-medgar-evers/