Thursday, August 6, 2009

Dermott Township, Chicot County, AR

Arkansas was admitted to the Union as a slave state on June 15, 1836

Chicot County is located in Southeast Arkansas and is bordered by the following counties: Desha County, Arkansas * Drew County, Arkansas * Ashley County, Arkansas * East Carroll Parish, Louisiana * West Carroll Parish, Louisiana * and Washington County, Mississippi

The village along the tracks contained a rail station, a general merchandise store, a cotton gin, and a saloon. Before 1883, the first mercantile business was Morris & Kimpel, but, in the 1880s, more such stores, along with drug and grocery stores, were established. The town incorporated on August 20, 1890, with J. Tom Crenshaw as mayor. Agriculture was the main economic enterprise. In 1891, 2,500 bales of cotton were exported.

The first public school in Dermott was built for black children during Reconstruction. It was replaced by a state school known as Chicot County High School. In 1899, a boarding school, the Southeast Baptist Academy, opened. It evolved into Morris Booker Memorial High School and College by 1934. Under the leadership of Dr. York Williams, an alumnus who arrived in 1957, the school emerged into a first-rate academic institution. Students began leaving for integrated schools in the 1970s, and the academy eventually closed.

African-American families worked primarily in the agriculture and timber industries, but, as early as 1887, the town had several black doctors. According to an 1899 news article, prominent black citizens owned many businesses downtown.

No comments:

Post a Comment