Oral Histories

Folson Sr., Luther


Folson Sr., Luther


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Luther Folson, Sr. was born in 1943. He discusses what the racial climate was like for a black child growing up in Water Valley in the 1950s and 60s and describes a brutal murder that occurred when he was about fifteen-years-old, when Sheriff Buster Treloar beat Woodrow Wilson Daniel to death in a jail cell. Folson’s stories about his adult life in Water Valley since the 1960s also include several incidences of police brutality and racially-motivated violence. Folson attended the University of Mississippi in 1975, thirteen years after James Meredith integrated, but he recounts how unfairly black students were treated by fellow students and professors at the University. He also worked with his father as a janitor at the University before Meredith integrated, so he was able to share what the atmosphere on campus was like for black men working on campus before and black men studying on campus after Meredith’s integration. He describes various violent racial moments during his lifetime in Water Valley, as well as racial discrimination he and his family experienced as educators and while running for local office. Folson also speaks about his family life as a child and their experiences as sharecroppers. The other key events in Folson’s life include serving as a chairman for the state head start program, MAP, and traveling to Washington, D.C. with the committee and securing funding from Congress. He also got to meet President Gerald Ford during that trip. 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.


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3 hr 5 min

Publication Date


Relational Format

audio recording


Water Valley (Miss.)


African American Studies | American Studies | Oral History


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Folson Sr., Luther