GREENWOOD, Ms. (KTAL/KMSS) – Leflore County, Mississippi is where Emmett Till was killed in 1955 during an act of racial hatred.
It’s the same place where Rev. Dr. Donald L. Tucker would call home and pastor a church, he says was not too far from the funeral home where Till’s body was taken.
“I had never been in the south. In the 60’s it was a very hot, hot, hot time of segregation.”
An assignment from the African Methodist Episcopal church placed the Detroit native at Turner A.M.E. Church in Greenwood Mississippi.
“My parents, my mother, my brothers and my sisters were against it and the majority of my colleagues said Tucker you must be crazy! Why would you go to Mississippi at a time like this?”
Dr. Tucker quickly discovered why he was there.
“I realized after organizing and meeting and sharing, that my work went beyond these walls.”
Rev. Tucker became the first president of the NAACP in the Mississippi Delta and worked with slain Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers.
“I couldn’t sit in front of a door. I couldn’t sit in front of a window.”
His life was threatened after he took the courageous steps of becoming the first person in Leflore County to pass a literacy test to vote.
“I just knew I had the Lord on my side.”
After he secured his right to vote, law enforcement unleashed dogs on Tucker to deter others from attempting to do the same.
“I limp today from where that dog bit me, but today I say to the citizens, all over the world if you do not exercise the right of voting, shame, shame on us for the vote is our answer.”
Dr. Tucker left Mississippi and relocated to an A.M.E. Church in Bermuda, due to death threats from the Ku Klux Klan. He finally returned to Mississippi in 2014 and is recognized in the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum for his contributions to the movement.
He currently resides in Shreveport, where he serves at St. Matthew A.M.E. Church.
Tucker graduated from Wilberforce University and Payne Theological Seminary. He’s also a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
KMSS Fox 33 Today’s Hero television series introduces its audience to these brave men and women by sharing their stories and providing insight into what it is like to walk in their shoes.
These specials take on a unique lens as we focus on four extremely important events in 2021 Black History Month, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day. Join us as we honor and celebrate these incredibly important heroes. A KMSS Fox 33 Today’s Hero Monthly Individual will be selected beginning February 2021 and a KMSS Fox 33 Today’s Hero of The Year will be selected in December of 2021.