Folson Jr., Luther
Luther Folson, Jr. was born in 1969, just two years after the Water Valley School district began integrating in 1967 and the year before the school district was officially integrated and the African American school, Davidson High School, graduated its last class in 1970. He discusses what the racial climate was like for a black child growing up in Water Valley in the 1970s and 80s and describes experiencing little to no racial discrimination at school. Folson’s stories about his adult life in the 1990s through 2019 living in Water Valley and working in neighboring towns contrasts sharply with the his childhood experiences. Folson attended the University of Mississippi in 1994-96, before Chancellor Robert Khayat began campaigning to distance the University from its Confederate symbols by banning the rebel flag from sporting events and retiring the Colonel Reb mascot. He describes meeting Anthony Hervey, an African American man who regularly dressed up as a Confederate soldier and carried a large rebel flag or Mississippi state flag in order to protest removing Confederate symbols from the University or from the state flag, and discovering how much he had in common with a man who he otherwise disagreed with so vehemently when it came to racial issues. Folson also outlines his career as a law enforcement officer, including his tenure at the Water Valley Police Department where he was the only African American police officer who served on the force, leading up to his multiple runs for Sheriff of Yalobusha County. His latest campaign is set to end on election days, 11 days after this interview was completed. The other key events in Folson’s life include battling cancer and the role it played in his Christian faith and fostering children. This interview was conducted as a part of the Black Families of Water Valley and Yalobusha County Oral History Project for Jessie Wilkerson’s SST 560 Oral History of Southern Social Movement class.
2 hr 52 min
Water Valley (Miss.)
African American Studies | American Studies | Oral History
Folson, Luther Jr. and Bright, Michelle R., "Folson Jr., Luther" (2019). Black Families of Yalobusha County Oral History Project. 1.