November 9, 2001
PORT GIBSON Marguerite Thompson-Webb, a civil rights activist who helped open a store to serve blacks in Port Gibson during a 1960s boycott of white-owned businesses, died Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2001, at a Jackson hospital. She was 86.
Mrs. Thompson-Webb was president of Our Mart when it opened in 1967. By that time, a boycott of white-owned businesses had been in effect for a year.
The NAACP and local residents were protesting the treatment of blacks in Port Gibson and Claiborne County.
“Her death is a great loss,” former Fayette Mayor Charles Evers said today. “She was one of the main people who helped us carry on the boycott.”
Evers was field secretary of the Mississippi NAACP at the time of the boycott.
“Marguerite was a great supporter of the civil rights movement,” Evers said. “I pushed it, but Marguerite was the main person in Port Gibson. She and a few others were the ones who carried on.
“It was the thing that broke the back of the white establishment. We cut off all the money. Now we have blacks in the stores. We have blacks in the banks. We have blacks all over Port Gibson because of what we did then.”
Mrs. Thompson-Webb served on the Our Mart board of directors until the store closed in September 2000.
White businesses sued the NAACP and black participants in the boycott in 1969. The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled the organizers of the boycott were liable for damages the white-owned businesses suffered from 1967 to 1972.
The U.S. Supreme Court overruled the decision 1982. The Supreme Court said the boycotters were not liable for damages the white businesses suffered during their peaceful protest.
Thompson Funeral Home of Port Gibson is in charge of arrangements.
ANGUILLA Michael Brown died Sunday, Nov. 4, 2001, at Delta Regional Medical Center in Greenville. He was 31.
Mr. Brown is survived by his mother, Shellie Cotton of Anguilla; his father, Ronnie Kirkland of Chicago; two brothers, Christopher Lee and Joseph Cotton, both of Anguilla; his grandparents, Joseph and Minnie Lee Brown, both of Anguilla; his great-grandmother, Lucille Brown of Chicago; and other relatives, including Helen Bush of Anguilla, Josephine Pritchett and Diane Brown, both of Chicago, and Howard Brown of Tchula.
Services will be at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Christian Light M.B. Church in Anguilla with Willie McQuary officiating. Burial will follow at Cynthia Diana Cemetery in Anguilla.
Visitation will be from 5 until 6 tonight at Walker Funeral Home in Rolling Fork.
HENRY HEDRICK JR.
PORT GIBSON Henry Hedrick Jr. died Monday, Nov. 5, 2001, at University Medical Center in Jackson. He was 50.
Born in Claiborne County, Mr. Hedrick was a serviceman at Thames Autoplex in Vicksburg. He was a member of Christian Chapel Church in Port Gibson.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Henry Hedrick Sr. and Annie Bell Gibson.
Survivors include five daughters, Temeke Gibson, Cherry Gibson, Alicia Reed, Katrina Gibson and Rose Marie Gibson, all of Port Gibson; two brothers, Bernard Gibson of Memphis and Ernest lee Gibson of Phoenix, Ariz.; his sister, Rosie Ann Odom of Port Gibson; and other relatives.
Services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Christian Chapel Church in Port Gibson with Elder T. Elias Harris officiating. Burial will follow at Pine Grove Cemetery in Port Gibson.
Visitation will be from noon until 5 p.m. today at Rollins Funeral Home in Port Gibson.
ETTA MAE HOLLOWAY MERCER
Etta Mae Holloway Mercer died Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2001, at Vicksburg Medical Center. She was 77.
Born in Dalark, Ark., Mrs. Mercer was the daughter of the late Walter and Lynda O’Neal. She was a homemaker and a member of First Baptist Church of Sparkman, Ark.
She was survived by two sons, Pat Holloway of Sparkman and Freddie Holloway of Ouachita; two daughters, Marilyn Nowlin of Sparkman and Carolyn Wylie of Vicksburg; and nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at First Baptist Church in Sparkman. Burial will follow at Rock Springs Cemetery.
Visitation will be from 6 until 8 tonight at Benton Funeral Home in Fordyce, Ark.
Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church in Sparkman or to Crawford Street United Methodist Church, 1408 Cherry St., Vicksburg, MS. 39180.