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Saturday Night in Moorhead, Mississippi ~ 60 years ago
by Jim Harrison

In the 1940's and early 1950's every Saturday night was special in the small Mississippi Delta town of Moorhead -- where the "Southern crosses the Dog."

A few white folks and many, many black folks came to town to celebrate the end of a hard week of manual labor. They shopped, socialized, and generally turned the town into a mini-Mardi Gras. These lively festivities on Saturday night occurred in back alleys and up and down the entire length of main street. They lasted from sundown until well after midnight. The streets and sidewalks were so packed you could hardly walk.

The town's pool hall and honkytonks (or beer joints) were packed. The sole town marshal ("Scrap" Rogers) was plenty busy trying to keep order.

My Uncle "Hunky" Castleberry and the other merchants loved it because their cash registers were ringing off the wall.

Other Delta towns experienced this same scene on Saturday nights, but gradually it all ended. Farm machines replaced manual laborers, the African-Americans moved north, prosperity and television brought on other forms of entertainment.

Now on Saturday night, main street is deserted and Moorhead resembles a ghost town. If some stranger should happen by he would scarcely dream that just a short sixty years ago there were many boisterous and cheerful people all around town, boozing it up, talking loudly, and laughing heartily.

But now it is no more----no more---no more.


BIO: James K. Harrison is a retired NASA engineer who lives in Huntsville, Alabama, with his school-teacher wife (Nancy) and step-daughter, Heather. He received a B. S. degree in engineering from Mississippi State in 1958 and an M. S. degree in engineering from the University of Alabama in 1964. He is a history buff and a writer of his own unpublished family history. He was born in Greenville, Mississippi, on June 2, 1935. After his father died in 1938 he and his two-year-old brother (Tomberry--short for Thomas Castleberry) went to live with their Castleberry grandparents in Moorhead, Mississippi (where the Southern crosses the Dog). There they lived for the next eight years until 1946 when they rejoined their stepfather, mother, and new stepbrother in Vicksburg, Mississippi. From 1946 to 1953 James and Tomberry (although living in Vicksburg) returned each year to Moorhead to spend the summer with their Castleberry grandparents. Those carefree summer days in the Mississippi Delta were filled with fun and frolic. From them James received many memories that he will forever cherish.

Read more of Jim's memoirs here at USADS!
Little Harlem Club
Moorhead Picture Show
Red Tops of Vicksburg, Mississippi
Staying Cool in the Mississippi Delta in the 1940's


Write Jim Harrison at jkharrison2.

Here are more stories about the Ď50ís and Ď60ís! Donít miss these and many more in our Articles List:
The Bomb by Kent Fletcher
Coming of Age With WLAC by Beth Boswell Jacks
The Last Train by Lonnye Sue Pearson
Front porches, dirt roads, and wild dogs by Tom Givens

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