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.

The Bolling Family
Left to Right: Mary Bolling Brumby, Charlie A. McCall(brother-in-law), Josephine Bolling McCall, Robert Bolling, Morris Bolling, Louis Bolling and Elmore Bolling, Jr.

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.”

Elmore Bolling Historic Marker
Historic marker on Highway 80 near mile marker 114 dedicated to Elmore Bolling.

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.



4 Responses to “The Legacy of Elmore Bolling”

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  • I am proud to carry the Bolling name.

    Comment from Jackie Bolling on December 11, 2011 at 3:40 am - Reply to this Comment
  • As I read this article I nearly began to weep, my generation truly has no clue or reverence for to sacrifices made to get us where we are today. Elmore Bolling paid the ultimate price for attaining the american dream as i am sure countless other African Americans have. We must stand up and make the lost lives of our ancestors meaningful.

    Comment from Leonard S. Thomas Sr. on February 15, 2008 at 4:30 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • Souls should never rest until we expose the horrors of what man can hatefully do to another man. Such exposure is the true deterrent. Such exposure is also healing balm for man who truly cares about another man. All humanity for good depends upon this exposure. Dr. Gwen Patton

    Comment from Dr. Gwen Patton on January 28, 2008 at 10:56 am - Reply to this Comment
  • It’s incredible what horrible things people will do to one another. Each generation thinks it lives in enlightened times and “those things” could never happen today. But I wonder. Have we come far enough yet?

    Comment from Bonnie Colucci on January 23, 2008 at 12:04 am - Reply to this Comment

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