History City Founded by Slaves Undergoes Resurgence During its Second Century

Mound Bayou, the first American city founded by former slaves, is preparing for the opening of the Taborian Urgent Care Center. The Center will be a partnership between the City of Mound Bayou and the Knights and Daughters of Tabor.
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Aug. 6, 2012 - PRLog -- MOUND BAYOU — During the city of Mound Bayou, Mississippi’s 125th anniversary this year, the first American city founded by former slaves will also experience a rebirth of sorts as they prepare for the re-opening of the historic Taborian Hospital as the Taborian Urgent Care Center of Mound Bayou (TUCC). The Hospital, founded in the 1940’s by the Knights and Daughters of Tabor, will be reopened in 2013 through a partnership between the City of Mound Bayou and the hospital’s original founders, the Knights and Daughters of Tabor.  This is the first step toward the creation of a medical campus in the historic town.

Funded through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a Rural Development Grant for $3M was approved to restore the dilapidated building and open the TUCC.  Key to the effort has been U.S. Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-MS)  who has been a long time champion for the city.  When the Center opens in 2013, it will mean residents of Mound Bayou and surrounding communities will no longer have to travel up to an hour in case of  a medical emergency.  The attendant jobs created by the construction, management and operation of the Urgent Care Center will also be a much needed boon to the economy of Mound Bayou.  “This project has been somewhat of a dream for me since taking office,” said U.S. Congressman Bennie Thompson. “A major concern of mine has always been centered around providing adequate health care to everyone in Mississippi. Many residents in rural towns across the state live everyday with the realization that they have to travel outside their community in the case of a medical emergency. That should not be the case, and here in Mound Bayou residents will once again have access to a quality medical facility.”

Upon opening, Taborian Urgent Care Center will offer residents extended hours, including evenings and weekends, as well as other expanded services.  It will also provide walk-in access for acute illness and injuries as well as physical and occupational therapy. However, the opening of the TUCC is just the initial realization of a larger project envisioned by the groups’ leaders.   The vision extends to the creation of a medical campus with partnerships with state universities and vital service offerings including dialysis, mental and substance abuse counseling and telemedicine.

“The story of Mound Bayou is a compelling American saga of post-slavery birth, growth, decline and now revitalization,” says Mayor Kennedy Johnson.  “Further it speaks to ingenuity, entrepreneurship, capitalism and diversity, all themes that have resonated within this community since its founding 125 years ago.”  Upon completion, this former hospital will become the area’s first urgent care medical campus.  Currently, there are no urgent care facilities within an 40-mile radius of the Mound Bayou area and the new facility will serve multiple counties.

When the Taborian Urgent Care Center opens in 2013 it will parallel the economic climate under which the Taborian Hospital opened in 1942.  The decline in agriculture – specifically cotton farming; an overall economic downturn brought on by the recession and the razing of the business district by fire were all drivers for the creation of an entity to bring jobs and prosperity to the city of Mound Bayou.  Today, 70 years later, under similar circumstances, Mound Bayou is again staking its fortunes on the development of a medical campus to serve them and surrounding communities.  

The City of Mound Bayou is seeking to raise an additional $2.1M in order to complete the project by its anticipated opening date in mid-2013.  Activities to support the Urgent Care Center will be announced throughout this summer.  

For more information on Mound Bayou’s 125th Anniversary Celebration, the opening of the Taborian Urgent Care Center of Mound Bayou or to support the fund-raising efforts for the project, please contact Margo Christian-Brooks at 662-741-3222.

About Mound Bayou, MS
Mound Bayou was founded in 1887 by cousins, Isaiah T. Montgomery and Benjamin T. Green, who were former slaves of Joe Davis, the elder brother of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy. The founders were slaves on plantations at Davis Bend, located about 30 miles south of Vicksburg, Mississippi.  On February 23, 1898, A. J. McLaurin, Governor of Mississippi, signed a proclamation declaring the community the Village of Mound Bayou.  Throughout its 125 years, Mound Bayou has continued its long tradition of community self-empowerment that has produced numerous African American leaders, innovators, and proud family lineages. Mound Bayou has always been a model city for the capabilities of African-Americans to rise above inequality in the South. The town has never practiced or experienced segregation within its borders. Mound Bayou is a town without second class citizens.
About the Taborian Hospital of Mound Bayou
The Taborian Hospital of Mound Bayou, a facility developed and financed by the Knights and Daughters of Tabor organization, first opened its doors in 1942, under the leadership of Perry Monroe Smith. It was recognized as the first HMO in the United States and the first medical institution with hospital facilities and equipment wholly owned, operated and staffed by African Americans.   Focused on the attainment of a better life for the people of Mound Bayou, the Taborian Hospital was the primary provider of medical treatment for the all black community.

About The Knights and Daughters of the Tabor
Founded by Rev. Moses Dickson, the Knights and Daughters of the Tabor is an African-American fraternal order. The society was an antislavery secret organization of Negroes in the South that numbered nearly 147,000 fighting for the Union during the Civil War. After the war, an organizational roll call showed that only seven members survived the war effort. From these seven men, Dickson formed the International Order of Twelve, Knights and Daughters of Tabor. This name originated from the original Knights of Liberty and a mountain in Galilee, Mount Tabor.  Mississippi’s chapter of the Taborian organization began in 1889 under the leadership of Mound Bayou native and Chief Grand Mentor Perry Monroe Smith, who was instrumental in bringing the Taborians to the Mississippi Delta to promote African-American progress.
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