Jim Crow, Louis J. Winston, and the survival of black politicos in post-bellum Natchez, Mississippi

This study explores politics, Jim Crow, and the effect of white relationships on the survival of black politicos through the life and achievements of Louis J. Winston during the most controversial period of history experienced by the South. Born into slavery, to a wealthy white father on the eve of the Civil War in 1848, Winston rose to unprecedented heights in his political and economic career in the post-Reconstruction era of Natchez, Mississippi. Winston was elected as Circuit Clerk of Adams County for twenty consecutive years, served as County Assessor and Collector of Port, founded two successful building and loan investment companies, began his own law practice, started up a Republican newspaper, which he published and edited for nineteen years, served on the school board of the Union School, and founded the fraternal organization, Woodman of Union. Primary research from court records, land deeds, wills, and a variety of documents in Natchez and Greenville, Mississippi, reveal Winston's intimate connection to an unusual white heritage brought him unprecedented success among elite whites and blacks, but in the end was not enough to carry him through the turbulent times in which he lived.