George W. Evans1899 - 1980
He was well known for being an entrepreneur, a civic leader, a businessman, and a boy scout organizer. He was born in the Chapel Hill Community in
Oktibbeha County and lived most of his live in the Needmore Community in Starkville. After graduating from high school, he attended the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. After returning home, he 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.
While the leaders of the white boy scout troops were away serving in World War II, George was asked to lead the all-white troop 100 on a camping trip. His Troop 27 and Troop 100 went on the camping trip together, and it became known as the “unofficial integration” of the Oktibbeha County Boy Scouts. The George Evans Shine Parlor employed over 500 African American boys through the years, and George taught them to be disciplined, respectful and to have a strong work ethic. His nominator said that doctors, engineers, businessmen, educators and career military men can be found among the group. In his obituary in the Tupelo Daily Journal, one of those young men said that, “Mr. Evans was a really nice gentleman who always tried to give something back to the community. He gave a lot of us young kids
jobs and kept us out of trouble.” Additionally, people from all over the South went to the Shine Parlor, when they were in town, because it was that well known. He was a businessman, church deacon, and a civic leader respected by many. Even Starkville’s mayors asked for his help in luring businesses to Starkville and for suggestions in making improvements to the Needmore Community area. Finally, he inspired people to use their gifts to become good citizens.