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February 21, 2024

Famed Mound Bayou Structure Receives Funding

I.T. Montgomery Home, others, to undergo restoration

By Jack Criss

The Bolivar Bullet

On March 9, Congressman Bennie Thompson voted to fund $10,527,500 in Community Project Funding he previously secured for his 2nd Congressional District. This funding, included in the appropriations government funding package, represents a direct response to some of the most pressing needs in the Mississippi Delta. One of the projects included in the funding is $2,250,000 for IT Montgomery Home Restoration in Mound Bayou.

“I am incredibly pleased to vote for (this money) in Community Project Funding in this bill that I know will have a profound impact on the 2nd Congressional District,” said Thompson. “These investments support underserved areas and foster economic development, making a real difference in the lives of so many in our community. I am proud to have fought for funding that will make our community healthier, safer, stronger, and even more resilient.”

“Isaiah T. Montgomery was the iconic co-founder of the City of Mound Bayou, and as Mayor I must often reflect on his life and lessons to be learned from his accomplishments and the obstacles he had to overcome to establish the largest all Black settlement in Mississippi and the United States,” said Mound Bayou Mayor, Leighton Aldridge.

“Many Mound Bayou citizens and groups have worked for years to make sure the historic structures are kept up,” said Aldridge. “They remind us where we came from. The top priority, of course, should be for our founder I.T. Montgomery. The rich history here always goes back to the start with a remaining structural portion of the vision of I.T. Montgomery’s home.

“My hobby is photography and I recognize the importance of capturing and telling a story with pictures,” said Aldridge. “The essence and spirit of events and time can be felt by just looking at a picture. I have similar feelings and support for maintaining the I.T. Montgomery Home and other Mound Bayou historic structures. The Montgomery Home holds the very essence of the spirit of Isaiah T. Montgomery’s vision for the city he formed, loved, and cared for–our community.”  

Montgomery, a religious man, could look out his front door and see the Bethel A.M.E. Church where he was a devoted member, said Aldridge. 

“The Montgomery Home is located in the heart of our community’s business district, that we used to call ‘Uptown’ which was the catalyst for economic development and where citizens came together. The Montgomery Home was a point of pride where political and social decisions were discussed that would impact the people who lived in Mound Bayou. The restored I.T. Montgomery Home will provide a monument and picture we can see and touch for many to learn of the history of how a Black community was built and sustained for more than 100 years. I hope and pray that additional funding can be obtained for the restoration of the I.T.

Congressman Thompson championed and was an advocate for funding for seven projects that will directly benefit Mississippi’s 2nd Congressional District residents, which included: $300,000 for Mississippi Delta Disaster Relief Shelter; $2,250,000 for Fannie Lou Hamer Cancer Foundation Facility Revitalization; $225,000 for Bolivar County Community Facility; $37,500 for Cary Christian Center Facility; $1,465,000 for Rural Hinds County Utilization Project; $3,000,000 for Jackson State University Center for Living, Learning and Cultural Engagement as well as $1,000,000 for Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS for the Reuben V. Anderson Institute for Social Justice

According to a press release issued by Congressman Thompson’s office, “The twelve-bill government funding package will help middle class families with the cost of living, create American jobs, support the vulnerable, and works to help small businesses and restaurants that are key to our economic future. Collectively, the funding for the 2nd Congressional District and the funding increases for critical government programs will reverse decades of disinvestment in our communities and strengthen our nation.”

This legislation will be voted on by the Senate and signed into law by President Biden.