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Indianola is a city in Sunflower County, Mississippi, United States, in the Mississippi Delta. The population was 12,066 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Sunflower County.HistoryThe town was originally named "Indian Bayou" in 1882 because the site along the river bank was formerly inhabited by a Choctaw Indian village. Between 1882 and 1886, the town's name was changed from "Indian Bayou" to "Eureka," then to "Belengate," and finally "Indianola," which was allegedly in honor of an Indian princess named "Ola." The town population developed at this site due to the location of a lumber mill on the river.In 1891, Minnie M. Cox was appointed postmaster of Indianola, becoming the first black female postmaster in the United States. Her rank was raised from fourth class to third class in 1900, and she was appointed to a full four-year term. Cox's position was one of the most respected and lucrative public posts in Indianola, as it served approximately 3,000 patrons and paid $1,100 annually—a large sum at that time. White resentment to Cox's prestigious position began to grow, and in 1902 some white residents in Indianola drew up a petition requesting Cox’s resignation. James K. Vardaman, editor of The Greenwood Commonwealth and a white supremacist, began delivering speeches reproaching the people of Indianola for “tolerating a negro wench as a postmaster.” Racial tensions grew, and threats of physical harm led Cox to submit her resignation to take effect January 1, 1903. The incident attracted national attention, and President Roosevelt refused to accept her resignation, feeling Cox had been wronged, and the authority of the federal government was being compromised. "Roosevelt stood resolute. Unless Cox's detractors could prove a reason for her dismissal other than the color of her skin, she would remain the Indianola postmistress". Roosevelt closed Indianola’s post office on January 2, 1903, and rerouted mail to Greenville; Cox continued to receive her salary. That same month, the United States Senate debated the Indianola postal event for four hours, and Cox left Indianola for her own safety and did not return. In February 1904, the post office was reopened, but demoted in rank from third class to fourth class.Put Indianola at the heart of your travel plans by using our United States trip itinerary maker tool.
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