Click each image to learn more about the honoree.

2018 Honorees

Rosa Stewart

She began her teaching career in 1922 at the Oktibbeha County Training School, where she taught until she retired. Rosa Stewart was the first African American to run for the Starkville Board of Aldermen.

Sadye Wier

In 1943, she was hired by the Mississippi State Cooperative Extension Service, becoming the first African American home demonstration agent. She learned how to establish and run canneries at the Ball Jar Canning Company in Indiana, returning to open several canneries in the area.



2019 Honorees

Wilson Ashford Sr.

As a quiet man who made a significant impact on our county, he was also instrumental in organizing the first chapter of the Oktibbeha County NAACP.

Adelaide Jeanette Elliott

She was active in marches and boycotts to protest the inequality experienced by African Americans. In addition, she was a winning basketball coach at her school, who challenged her students to become great citizens.



2020 Honorees

Dorothy L. Bishop

She was the first woman president of the NAACP in Oktibbeha County. She saw soldiers of the Civil War, WWI, and WWII being honored, but not those soldiers of the Civil Rights movement. She approached the Board of Supervisors and pointed out this inequity and they listened.  
The result is this Unity Park. 

Carole McReynolds Davis

 Well known in Oktibbeha County for her art, she was a member of the first Race Relations Team in Starkville during the 90’s when Martin Luther King Day became a celebration for all of the people of this community.

She helped to break down barriers between the races with her
many paintings.



2021 Honorees

George W. Evans

 He was well known for being an entrepreneur, a civic leader, a businessman, and a boy scout organizer.

 He also led a 25-piece orchestra, as a self-taught clarinet and saxophone player, organized the first African American Boy Scout troop, and opened the George Evans Shine Parlor.


Dr. Fenton Peters

 Dr. Peters lived his entire life in Oktibbeha County. He is remembered as being a very calm and even tempered individual, which was a great asset during Starkville’s transition from segregation to integration in 1970.

He spent his entire life in service to this county, through his educational
talents and skills, and his strong, determined, but calming personality.



2022 Honorees

Monica Banks

Monica Banks was our first African American and female county wide elected official and Chancery Clerk, who served in that position for over 20 years. She was a member of the first Unity Park Committee, and was present to see the unveiling of those that the committee chose to honor on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 2015.

Clarence Taylor 2022 Honoree

Clarence Taylor

Clarence Taylor was born in the New Light Community in Oktibbeha County and later moved to Starkville with his family. He spent much of his life serving others, by becoming a member of the American Legion Post 240, Griffin Methodist Church, Oktibbeha County Board of Trustees, Oktibbeha County NAACP, and the chairman of its Legal Redress Committee.



2023 Honorees

Ava F. Moore

Ava F. Moore came to Oktibbeha County from Shaker Heights, Ohio.   As she had done in Ohio, she became very involved in Oktibbeha County, leaving her footprint on many of its organizations.  She co-chaired the first Race Relations Team in Starkville and also the Unity Park Committee, which recommended changes to make the Unity Park a place to celebrate civil rights and a gathering place for the community.  She led the dedication of the Unity Park on Martin Luther King Day, 2015.


Clarence Taylor 2022 Honoree

W. Bernard Crump

W. Bernard Crump was born in Amory, but lived most of his life in Oktibbeha County. After graduating from Tuskegee University, he earned a Master of Divinity Degree from Atlanta’s Gammon Theological Seminary.    As a Methodist minister and 8 term Justice Court Judge here in Oktibbeha County, he was known for his kindness and fairness.  He greatly influenced many citizens of this county.