History of Fite’s Bottom

d n English

The Community known as Fite’s Bottom was established in 1908. The Fite family owned the 115 acres of land where the community was built. The majority of the people that lived there worked at Concrete Products, Jackson Saw Mill,Morgan Mills, Coca Cola, public service jobs, the Railroads, and various other jobs around Jackson.

The Community had many self employed individuals. There were Barbers, Beauticians, mechanics, carpenters, educators , merchants ,preachers,  educators , just to name a few. There were cafes, boarding houses, all sort of stores and churches.

Several ladies in the community took it as their mission to teach the children. 

Miss Sister Davis taught many a child from her home on Meadow St.  She believed any child could learn each day a child got a new vocabulary word to spell and define. Also each child got a Bible verse to learn. It was said you went out of your way to learn as not to get  that look or a switch. She taught her students how to use their brains and reasoning skills. She also spent time teaching adults reading, writing and numbers to advance in their jobs.

Then there was Mrs Annie Mae Givens who not only taught in public school but tutored many a child . Through her teaching her students were able to advance in school faster than others. Her attitude was any child could learn and learn to appreciate education. It was said many of her students would come find her to thank her. It is no telling how many of her students went on to graduate from college.

In the beginning of the community made sure the citizens of Fite’s Bottom never went hungry and had a place to stay. There was no such thing as food stamps or assistance you helped your neighbor. Fite’s Bottom was the first integrated community in Jackson. People helping each other survive and better themselves.

I forgot to mention the music that could be heard around the Bottoms. On Sunday the beautiful music praising the Lord was heard  coming out of the Churches for hours. Durning the week and especially on Saturday you could hear the Blues.

Musicians like John Lee Hooker, Big Maybelle, Sonny Boy Williams and Issac Hays just to name a few learned from sitting in on the music jams in Fite Bottom. Many went on to make their mark on the world with music they learned in Fite’s Bottom. One gentleman told me “it was not unusual to see Carl Perkins and some of the other white boys learning licks and songs in the Bottoms.”

At first the bottoms did not flood that bad the powers that be started to as I was told “messing with the Forked Deer”.

By the late 50’s to the early 60’s more and more moved out of the Bottoms to better housing. The opportunities had increased with better paying jobs.

By  the 70’s this community called Fite’s Bottom had gone from a thriving community to a ghetto. Then in 1978 the people that remained were relocated and the entire area cleared.

I am not going to get on my soap box.  (BUT) The individuals that lived in Fite’s Bottom contributed to the growth of Jackson and Madison Co..Their stories should never be forgotten they are part of the  history of the City of Jackson.

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