Blood Justice: The Lynching of Mack Charles Parker

By Howard Smead | Go to book overview

2
Some Proud Southern Whites

In 1959 Poplarville seemed a storybook town -- quiet and peaceful. It received its name from "Poplar" Jim Smith, who had moved into the area after the Civil War and opened a small general store near the railroad tracks. The New Orleans and Northeastern used his store as a depot and, knowing his nickname, called it Poplarville Station. The image and the name stuck. Every Sunday the town's Baptist and Methodist churches were filled with people who were by all accounts good, God-fearing Christians. Some of them worked in the small shops and garages in and around town. The main occupation for most was farming; many others worked for the Gaylord Pulpwood Company or Crown Zellerbach or the tung nut industry. The extensive pine forests in the hills around the county made it one of the prime sources of pulpwood in the South, but the once-flourishing tung nut industry had begun to decline several years earlier. 1 Consumption of tung oil had been decreasing since World War II as manufacturers substituted the cheaper linseed oi 2

Poplarville, with 2,135 residents, lay 80 miles north of New Orleans along rough and tumble Highway 11 and 125 miles south of Jackson, the state capital and largest city. Pearl River

____________________
Tung nuts yield an oil used in paint, varnish, and turpentine.

-24-

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