Matthew Holden, Jr., Distinguished Professor in Political Science at University of Illinois at Springfield, grew up in Mound Bayou in the delta. With his permission, we share his paper: Isaiah T. Montgomery and the Mississippi Constitution: Strategy under Extreme Adversity.
“This paper is an outgrowth from the notes used in a roundtable on March 19, 2016. The roundtable was proposed to the National Conference of Black Political Scientists (NCOBPS), and approved for its 2016 meeting in Jackson, Mississippi. The roundtable was held in the House of Representatives Chamber in the Old Capitol Museum, and was open without charge to any member of the public.
Despite its name, the organization has no racial limits. It is open to all professional political scientists. The organization emerged forty years ago to encourage the study and teaching of political science in the historically black colleges and universities. Most of NCOBPS members are college professors who conduct research and teach about politics, notably about the status of Blacks in politics, both domestic and global. In particular, they are likely to believe that African Americans taken as a group still occupy a subordinated position and wish to know how that came to be and how it can be overcome.
The round table was set up to explore ideas for exploration about reputation in politics, with particular attention to Isaiah T. Montgomery (1847-1924), the sole African American delegate in the 1890 Constitutional Convention. 2 Isaiah T. Montgomery was a man both of unusual personal history and of magnitude. “