Remembering Theodore Bilbo, AKA "The Man"
The recent dust-up between two of the Democratic presidential candidates over one having said that he had “cooperated” with segregationist senators in the South, including Mississippi’s own James O. Eastland, got me to thinking about the archetype of segregationist politicians in Mississippi between the two World Wars: Theodore Gilmore Bilbo.
If your roots go deep into Mississippi soil like mine, there’s a high probability that someone in your family tree once voted for him.
Bilbo was born in 1877 in the community of Juniper Grove, on Highway 53, just south of Poplarville, and is buried in the Juniper Grove Baptist Church Cemetery.
The information on his tombstone summarizes his earthly achievements: “Lieutenant Governor (1912-1916), Governor for two terms (1916-1920) and (1928-1932), United States Senator (1934 until his death in 1946), and Author.”
The St. Andrew’s Cross from the Confederate battle flag is etched on one side of the stone.
His father, a Confederate veteran, was a farmer who prospered to become a vice president of the Bank of Poplarville.