Grenada is a city in Grenada County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 13,092 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Grenada County.
Grenada was formed in 1836, after federal removal of the Choctaw who had long occupied this territory. It was the result of the union of the two adjacent towns (separated by the present-day Line Street) of Pittsburg and Tulahoma, founded respectively by European Americans Franklin Plummer and Hiram Runnels. Development included stores and businesses that supported the county court and market days.
Plantations were first developed along the Yazoo River for transportation and access to water. Cotton was the major commodity crop, dependent on the labor of enslaved African Americans.
In 1851 Grenada townspeople founded the Yalobusha Baptist Female Institute for education of their young white women. In 1882 the school was taken over by the Methodists and renamed as Grenada College. Classified in the 20th century as a junior college, it encountered financial troubles during the Great Depression. The church closed the college in 1936 and transferred its assets to Millsaps College.
In December 1862, Confederate general Earl Van Dorn, whose troops had been encamped in Grenada, led the three brigades under his command in an attempt to destroy the Union supply depot at Holly Springs, Mississippi.
In the civil rights era, African Americans throughout Mississippi were active in seeking their constitutional rights. Congress passed legislation in 1964 and 1965 that ended segregation of public facilities and protected voting rights, authorizing federal oversight and enforcement. In 1966, James Meredith started a solo March Against Fear to challenge oppression in Mississippi and encourage voter registration by African Americans. His planned route from Memphis, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi, passed through Grenada.
After Meredith was shot and wounded on the second day, and had to be hospitalized, other prominent activists and many marchers joined the effort, taking up his cause. The marchers, including Martin Luther King and Dick Gregory, spent about a week demonstrating in Grenada against discrimination and for voters rights before moving on. During that time, the town officials appeared cooperative, protecting the marchers with local police.
They also hired six black voter registrars, who registered one thousand black residents during that week. But, after the march passed through, the county fired the registrars. It was reported later that summer that the town never entered the 1,000 new black voters on official rolls. They had to start all over again to gain official voter registration.
As the Civil Rights Movement continued to press in 1966 and 1967 for voter registration and opportunities in employment, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) ran a civil rights organizing project in Grenada which lasted at least 11 months. They worked to register voters and gain concessions for hiring African Americans in local businesses and restaurants. These were still segregated, although a federal anti-segregation law had been passed, as well as a voting rights law.