Ex-mayor remembered for easing racial tension dies at 96

MCCOMB — Former McComb Mayor Newton H. James, a white businessman who was among community leaders who worked to end tensions during the civil rights movement in 1960s, has died at the age of 96.

Officials with Hartman-Sharkey Funeral Home say James died Thursday at Beacham Memorial Hospital in Magnolia. Services will be at 10 a.m. Monday at J. J. White Memorial Presbyterian Church in McComb.

In 1964 when McComb and Pike County were beset by civil rights bombings, Norman Gillis Jr. tells the Enterprise-Journal James got members of the black and white communities to put an advertisement in the Enterprise-Journal, known as the Statement of Principles.

Gillis says the ad called for an end to violence and respectful treatment of all people and helped calm things down.

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