CrossRoads Access, Inc. Corinth History CORINTH INFORMATION DATABASE Version 1.3 © 1995 Milton Sandy, Jr.

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Professor,

Alderman &

Mayor

E. S. BISHOP, Sr.

The Daily Corinthian, Tues., April 2, 1996:
p.1, c. 1-6 -

Former Corinth Mayor Bishop dies

88-year-old city official, educator
remembered for leadership ability

----------------
BY TOM WILEMON
Staff Writer
----------------

        His leadership bridged generations and earned Corinth national
respect.

        E.S. Bishop made a name for himself in history through service
to others.  The 88-year-old former mayor and educator passed away
Monday night at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo. He will be
remembered for progressive leadership that was given with methodical
thought and a gentleman's civility.

        Bishop had been in bad health in recent months, but his mind
remained sharp as he kept abreast of Corinth happenings.

        "Mayor (Jerry) Latch, Malcom Guyton and I visited him Friday,"
said city planner Alton Thompson. "He wanted to know all about the
city and what was going on. He talked real well and we spent about 15
minutes with him. He was still trying to stay involved."

        The son of a store clerk who grew up in Starkville, Bishop put
himself through college working as a waiter at the old Edwards Hotel
in Jackson.  He came to Corinth in 1935 to be principal of Scale Street
School.

        He became a leader long before he ever ran for public office
the first time in 1969.  The grandson of a slave, Bishop was credited
for helping to bring peaceful integration of black and white schools
in Corinth.  He also recognized the potential of Urban Renewal when it
was a new federal program and helped to bring millions of dollars in
federal funds to town in the 1960s.

        "I think the federal government is sincere in trying to help
us find a common ground on which we can resolve racial problems, "
Bishop was quoted as saying in a 1966 book called "Corinth,
Mississippi: City in Transition."

        "And we've worked within its guidelines. People here are
gradually reaching a consensus as to what must be done to solve the
problem and there is decided progress in practically every area.  Job
opportunities are increasing, people are being promoted on the basis
of their abilities, people are being admitted to public places here
without regard to race.  Private businesses and motels are beginning to
say 'Come in.' In our industrial park they are employing and upgrading
people as fast as they can prove they can do the work. In education,
there are various evidences of progress. I think Corinth has pioneered
the need for a more conscientious effort to abide by the Civil Rights
laws and better relations and it was through the federal programs that
the city was awakened to these facts."

        Stepping out on the forefront of an issue exposed him, like
any true leader, to criticism.

        "If my efforts to bring about progress and harmony make me an
Uncle Tom to some of our more militant citizens, who expect a
revolution to succeed overnight, then they'll just have to go on
thinking so," he said in the 1966 publication.

        After retiring from a career as an educator, he became the
director of the Alcorn County Human Resource Agency. There he worked
with well-known television personality and Corinth native Buddy Bain.

        "Professor Bishop in my opinion will go down in history as a
great humanitarian and a lover of all people," Bain said. "Working
under him as a director was a pleasure.  His advice to me was just like
a father's. Corinth, Miss., is now a better city because of his
leadership as mayor."

        A family man, Bishop and his wife, Eva, reared children who
have gone on to successful careers and positions of leadership.

        He ran for public office in 1969 and was soundly defeated,
running for alderman on an at-large basis.  Not one to give up, he
tried again in the next election and won by a definitive margin. He
was never challenged again for the alderman's post.

        In a 1989, Bishop assumed the duties of mayor following the
resignation of Jack Holt.  Four years later, he was elected to a full
term in a town that is predominantly white.  Past 80, he successfully
kept his age from being a campaign issue by joking about it.

        In a 1994 interview with The Daily Corinthian, Bishop listed
accomplishments of mayor he was particularly proud of.  They included
the expansion of Corinth's retail base, proceeding with annexation
plans,  better cooperation with county officials and a greatly improved
airport.

        City clerk Jim Billingsley, who worked with Bishop for some 30
years, said, "What the man accomplished is almost unbelievable."

        The honors he has received for his public service are
numerous.  The senior citizen center on Washington Street is named in
his honor.  He was a recipient of the Corinth Junior Auxiliary's
Citizen of the Year Award.  He has received honorary degrees, and his
leadership has been chronicled by national media.

        "I always wished that my mother and father had been living to
see what happened," he once said. "To them it would have been a
miracle."

        Funeral arrangements for the former mayor are incomplete.


The Daily Corinthian, Weds., April 3, 1996:
p. 4a, c. 5 -

DEATHS
------
E.S.Bishop, Sr., 88

     Professor Edward Simon Bishop, Sr., 88, died Monday, April 1,
1996, at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo.
     Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Friday with burial in
Forrest Hills Cemetery.  Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m.
Thursday at St. Mark.  Grayson's Funeral Home is in charge of
arrangements.


The Daily Corinthian, Thu., April 4, 1996:
p. 4, c. 5 -

OBITUARIES

E.S.Bishop Sr., 88

    Funeral services for Edward Simon Bishop, Sr., 88, will be held at
1 p.m. Friday at Corinth High School Academic and Performing Arts
Center auditorium on Harper Road.  The Rev. Dannie Walker will
officiate.  Burial will be in Forest Hill Cemetery.  Grayson's Funeral
Home is in charge of arrangements.
    Mr. Bishop died Monday, April 1, 1996, at North Mississippi
Medical Center in Tupelo.  He was born in Starkville.
    He was a retired principal of Scales Street and Easom High schools
in Corinth.  He served as City Alderman from 1970 to 1988 when he
became Mayor of the City of Corinth, a position he held until November
1994.
    Mr. Bishop was executive director of the Alcorn County Human
Resource Agency, State Director of the Council on Children, Founder
and Executive Director of the Alcorn County Self-Helf Housing Program.
He held numerous other positions in the city and had many achievements
during over 60 years of dedicated public service.
    He is survived by his wife, Eva Hunter Bishop of Corinth; a
daughter, Gwendolyn Chambliss of Jackson;  three sons, Edward S.
Bishop, Jr., and Beverly V. Bishop, both of Jackson and Dr. Harold L.
Bishop of Tuscaloosa, Ala.; 14 grandchildren and 14
great-grandchildren.
    Visitation will be from 6 to 8 tonight at St. Mark Missionary
Baptist Church, located at 1000 Scott Street.  The body will be placed
in the auditorium two hours before services for viewing and will not
be re-opened after the eulogy.
    Memorials may be made to E.S.Bishop Senior Citizens Center or
Northeast Mississippi Emergency Shelter for Children.  An E.S. Bishop
Scholarship Fund will be established at Jackson State University,
Jackson State, Mississippi.


The Daily Corinthian, Fri., April 5, 1996:
p. 6a, c. 1-2 -

OUR VIEW  [Editorial]
----------------------

E. S. BISHOP: A GREAT MAN

        Alcorn County buried one of its treasures today.

        Corinth mourns the loss of a great leader, Edward S. Bishop
Sr., whose funeral services were held at 1 p.m

        Bishop died Monday at the North Mississippi Medical Center in
Tupelo.  He had been battling poor health the past year. He was 88.

        Few can match this man's career 60 years in public service.
Some of the most noted positions were principal of Scale Street and
Easom High Schools in Corinth.  He was executive director of the
Alcorn County Human Resource Agency, state director of the Council
on Children, founder and executive director of the Alcorn County
Self-Help Housing Program.

        He served as city alderman from to 1988 before he became
mayor, a position he held until November, 1994.

        Bishop was honored by many organizations throughout his
career. He was an out standing citizen with the community at heart.
Luckily, Bishop got all of the awards while he was alive so many
organizations had an opportunity to thank him personally for what he
had accomplished.  Even a senior citizens center in Corinth already
bears his name.

        E.S. Bishop could not only visualize where this community
should be go he continued to keep us on a path to get us there.

        His work inspired others. His example and the leadership role
he performed is one which should motivate others to community service.

        As mayor his ability to build consensus among many diverse
groups and individuals toward what a progressive community should be
is a legacy we hope is not lost.

        At this gentleman's funeral today, friends family and
community leaders gathered to say kind words about this man, known
affectionately as "Prof."  Due to the huge crowd expected, the former
educator's funeral was held in the auditorium at Corinth High School.

        It's as if we can still hear him: "I would like to take a
moment to express my sincere appreciation to you, or each of you, for
the most timely and substantive messages, gifts and words of support
provided me during recent months.  Eva and I often reminisce about the
wonderful experiences that we have shared with each of you.

        "All of you are representative of the Bible verse that states,
'all good gifts and all perfect gifts come from above.'  We sincerely
feel that you are good and perfect gifts.  Your encouragement serves
as a motivational incentive for us to work toward an improvement in
our health.

        "Let me assure you that illness prevents my active
participation in the many activities with which I have been associated
as a citizen.  Even though my future participation will be somewhat
limited due to health reasons, I shall give it my best."

        Yes, Professor Bishop, you gave it your best. Even near the
end, you were encouraging others.

        Our community is a better place as a result of your lifelong
efforts.

        You were a treasure, of which the riches will linger for many
generations to come ...

                                The Daily Corinthian



The Daily Corinthian, Corinth, MS, Mon, April 8, 1996:
p. 1, c. 2-5 -

HUGE CROWD TURNS OUT TO HONOR LEADER

BY TOM WILEMON
Staff Writer
-------------------

Like the man being remembered, the funeral for E.S. Bishop Sr.
crossed racial lines.

        Gifted coloratura, Idotha Morrison, led the traditional
black gospel music, including a soaring solo of "His Eye on the
Sparrow." Buddy and Kay Bain led in the final song as all voices
joined together in "How Great Thou Art."

        A crowd estimated at 600 packed the Corinth High School gym.
They came from all over the state and country. U.S. Rep. Sanford D.
Bishop, D-Ga., read a letter of condolence written by President
Clinton to Mrs. Eva Bishop.

        E.S. Bishop achieved a great deal personally, but it took time
and patience.  He came to Corinth not registered to vote.  He left
Corinth as Mississippi's only mayor ever elected in a white majority
town.

        One of the speakers, Thurston Little, said Bishop was not
registered to vote when he came to Corinth.  Former Circuit Clerk
Rubel Phillips encouraged him to sign up.  When he went to the polls
that first time, Little said Bishop was told, "What are you doing up
here?"  Phillips then accompanied Bishop to the polls where he was
allowed to vote.

        "Isn't this embarrassing to us today that this man had go to
through this," Little asked the audience. He praised Bishop for having
the wisdom of King Solomon and the patience of Job.

        Mayor Jerry Latch said Bishop had proven that one person could
make a difference.  Longtime friend and fellow St. Mark Baptist Church
Deacon Walter Fry said he was amazed at how one person could provide
so many services to so many people and do it effectively.

        Rosemary Williams told how Bishop traveled to Utah, California
and Washington D.C. to bring economic development to Corinth.

        "His thinking was always logical and as he would say,
diligent," Williams said. "He was always a gentleman and a dignified
person."

        Dr. O. Wayne Gann, superintendent of education for the
Corinth School District, said Bishop helped make it an outstanding
school system.  He remembered a visit Bishop made to a kindergarten
class when he was mayor.

        "He never stood so tall as when he stooped down and took the
hand of a small child and treated him with the same respect as if he
was Bill Clinton, George Bush or anyone else,"  Gann said.

        Dr. John A. Peoples, professor emeritus of Jackson State
University, and Mrs. Melvene Coney, president of the university's
national alumni association, told how he had made the institution a
better place to learn.

        His son, Dr. Harold L. Bishop, followed his father's footsteps
to become an educator.

        "The greatest tribute to a daddy is when you're in a crisis is
to say, 'What would Daddy do?'"

        The deep timbre of the former mayor's voice echoed in the
words of son.

        "Corinth, Miss., is a kinder, gentler place," Dr. Bishop said.
"You did that for this family. I would like for you to continue that
because this is indeed a unique community."

        He quoted a phrase from Grantland Rice:  "When the one Great
Scorer comes to write against your name,  he marks not that you won or
lost, but how you played the game."

        "You played a great game. Thanks, Dad," he said

        The eulogy was delivered by Rev. Dannie Walker, pastor of St.
Mark Baptist Church. He noted Jesus Christ was the guiding influence
throughout Bishop's life.

        "In Christ, to die is to gain," Walker said, in concluding the
funeral which was held on Good Friday.


===================================================================

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS

April 3, 1996

      The above picture is my personal favorite of Professor Bishop
which I would like to share along with my recollections of the man
himself.

      When I was growing up in the South in the 1940's and 1950's,
questioning the system was not part of the educational process.
Things were the way they were, socially and racially and accepted
without public question by the majority of whites and blacks alike.
I was later to find that many things of a historical and educational
nature were just not taught because of questions which they would
raise about that very system.

      On my frequent trips to the old post office on Cruise Street for
my father, I often saw Professor Bishop as he was picking up his mail
for the school.  He was always a friendly man, full of spirit and good
cheer. As I grew up and came to know him, we always exchanged
greetings. I came to know him as Professor Bishop and remember
questioning in my mind why this black man was the exception to the
rule as far as the social custom of the time which restricted the
title of "Mr." to whites only.  As I grew older, I found that his
title was a universal sign of respect from the white community which
was forced to find an exception for this exceptional man.  This man
and this exception to the rule was my first awakening to the
realization that there was no correlation between the color of a man's
skin and the character of the man within.

      Later in life, Professor Bishop became Alderman then Mayor
Bishop and was recognized for many other aspects of leadership.  I
never found the other titles as comfortable for him as "Professor",
which was by far a much greater honor than any office he ever held.

      Which brings me to the picture.  It was taken a few years back,
during Professor Bishop's term as Mayor, when he presided at the
dedication of the newly remodeled historic railroad depot in Corinth.
Mayor Bishop was always a strong and vocal supporter of historic
preservation and all aspects of local history.  He was in good spirits
and made quite a few eloquent remarks, as he was prone to do whenever
given the opportunity and a responsive audience.  He related the time
he first arrived in Corinth at that very depot and stepped off the
train.  As I took the picture, I couldn't help but be struck by the
irony and contrast in times between his first arrival and that day.
Needless to say, when he first arrived in Corinth, he wouldn't have
been allowed in the room where I took the picture.

                               Milton Sandy, Jr.

cor02


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