Jones Co. supervisors vote to explore removal of once-segregated water fountains

Jones Co. supervisors vote to explore removal of once-segregated water fountains

ELLISVILLE, Miss. (WDAM) - The Jones County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted Monday on a motion to explore the steps necessary to remove two once-segregated water fountains in front of the Ellisville Courthouse.

The fountains, which are on each side of the Ellisville Courthouse entrance, have the words “Colored” engraved on one and “White” engraved on the other, though the words are now covered by plaques.

The fountains have the words ‘Colored’ and ‘White’ engraved on them, though the words have since been covered with plaques.
The fountains have the words ‘Colored’ and ‘White’ engraved on them, though the words have since been covered with plaques. (Source: Mississippi Department of Archives and History)

Longtime Ellisville resident Donnie Watts asked for the removal of the fountains during Monday’s meeting.

“I can see it,” Watts said. “You won’t see it cause you never knew what was under it.”

The process would require the supervisors to first fill out and submit a notice of intent form to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History because the courthouse is a historical landmark. During this process, the supervisors said they would also do more research on the two fountains.

In August 1989, the Jones County Board of Supervisors voted against replacing the water fountains, instead deciding to add historical plaques to the fountains, according to The Associated Press.

“What they decided to do after that was to plaster over the fountains and when rain came and washed that away, they put those plaques on and those are the same plaques you see right now,” Watts said.

He says he was part of the NAACP in 1989, and says he’s been trying to get the fountains removed for years. Watts is glad on the decision made by the supervisors, but says it’s a decision they could have been made more than 30 years ago.

The Board plans to revisit the motion once they hear back from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

Copyright 2020 WDAM. All rights reserved.