Emmett Till

Mississippi Trial 1955
Chris Crowe

Civil Rights Post 1955
Jim Crow

Parchman Farm
By Madison

Parchman Farm was not just an ordinary farm. In fact, it wasn’t a farm at all. Parchman Farms was a Mississippi State Penitentiary that admitted only black offenders in Mississippi. Mostly everyone was sentenced to death. At Parchman Farms, if you did anything bad at all you would be punished very severely. If you acted out, some punishments would be whippings, or even as harsh as tying an inmate’s legs around a pole and handcuffing their hands around their feet so they couldn’t move at all. The guards would leave them there for as many days as they wanted.

The penitentiary held 4,840 prisoners, all black. They only held a few women who they thought were dangerous. The women there would cook, or make the males' clothes. Every person had his/her own job on the so called “farm”. Males would farm the land, such as growing cash crops, and cotton. Parchman Farms is well-known for their extensive cotton growing. Building railroads and extracting turpentine gum from trees were only a few of their tasks in one day. Lucky prisoners could have the easy job of just watching after the penitentiary’s guard dogs. Others worked in the brickyards, cotton gin, prison hospital, or the sawmill.

Men’s housing units were called “cages” and that’s pretty much what they were. Women lived in an area known as Camp 13. Camp 13 was basically just a shed with a few cots. Guards were only males; as a result there were numerous accounts of sexual assault in Camp 13. A fence separated the male and female housing units. Once in the prison each inmate would receive a nickname; such as a male named Johnny, who was known as “Have Mercy” when he protested a beating. Once integration started happening the inmates would form gangs and end up attacking each other.

Even though all of the inmates were going to be sentenced to death, they tried to have fun. They would sing and dance with each other; they would even form baseball teams and play baseball when they had a free day. Ways of killing the inmates would vary. In 1987 BBC Television filmed a documentary and showed an inmate being killed in a gas chamber. Many people were enraged so now they kill them by lethal injection. The prison has three cemeteries for their dead offenders. All in all this prison is still in use and I personally don’t think it should be. Horrible things have happened in this prison that has left an ugly scar on our society

""Male prisoners with guard." Mdah. Web. 11-29-11. http://mdah.state.ms.us/arrec/digital_archives/parchman/index.php?id=99022.

"Female prisoners." Mdah. Web. 11-29-11. http://mdah.state.ms.us/arrec/digital_archives/parchman/index.php?id=97278.


This page was last updated on: Thursday, January 19, 2012