Historic Markers Across Alabama

No Isolated Incident

Marker ID: NPS 
Location: in the NPS Lowndes Interpretive Center, 7002 US-80, Hayneville, AL
County: Lowndes
Coordinates: N 32° 16.213    W 086° 43.582
  32.27021666    -86.72636666
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: None


No Isolated Incident
Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail

For African Americans in the 1960s, being kicked off white-owned lands for trying to register to vote no isolated incident. Just as had happened here in Lowndes County, blacks in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Greene County, Alabama, were driven from their homes and livelihoods and forced to live in tents.

In 1960, 257 black sharecroppers in Fayette County, Tennessee, were evicted from their houses and blacklisted by white merchants after they tried to register. These families suffered a hard existence living in dirt-floors tents for nearly two years. Mary Williams recalls hearing a loud noise as she and her baby and husband slept in their Fayette County tent. "I jumped up, Earlie didn't realize he was shot at first. When he moved across the bed, there was a stream of blood on the sheet...it went through his arm. Another inch and it could have been his head, or the baby, or me."

There were four tents and four families in our tent city....It was so cold when we moved in....I gave birth to one of my children that night and the dog outside froze to death. We were there a year before we moved out.

Tent city families of Fayette County, Tennessee did their best to carry on with life. The injustices the residents experienced helped attract national attention and resulted in the first federal lawsuit brought under the 1957 Civil Rights Act.

In 1966 this family was one of several living in tents after being evicted in Greene County, Alabama. The young woman (center) went into labor four days after this photograph was taken; she was turned away by a local white hospital and bled to death.

2015 National Park Service, Department of the Interior.

Photographs of the marker can be found on HMDB.org

End of No Isolated Incident