The Legacy of Elmore Bolling
Lowndes County, Alabama gained national attention in the 1960s as a hot bed of Civil Rights activity. However, before the 1960s, violence ravaged the area, leading residents to call it, “Bloody Lowndes.” One such victim was Elmore Bolling. Elmore’s six remaining children visited the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail Interpretive Center to share memories of their father.
Elmore Bolling was born on May 10, 1908 to Braxton and Belle Bolling. Unable to attend the first grade until he was thirteen, Bolling was too embarrassed to complete his education and he never learned to read nor write. However, that did not deter his business dreams. In 1931, starting with only a Model T Ford, Elmore steadily built a first-rate trucking company and in time, a thriving general store. Josephine Bolling remembers her father as a successful businessman and philanthropist who gained the respect of his community. “He would walk in the room and everyone would become quiet. That was out of respect.”
However, some white Lowndes County residents were enraged over Bolling’s success. On December 4, 1947, Elmore Bolling was lynched and his body left at the side of Highway 80 near his general store. Despite his tragic and untimely end, Elmore Bolling will be remembered as a giving citizen, a fearless man and most importantly, a loving father.
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