Gloster is where I was born and raised. Like many sparsely populated economically depressed communities in Mississippi today, Gloster (Amite County) is ripe for restoration. Gloster is one of the poorest communities in one of the poorest counties in one of the poorest states in the USA. Gloster has a population of less than 1000 people; 59% live below the poverty line, and 71% of those are black and female. There is no public school in Gloster; kids have to travel to the county seat to attend school. There is no movie house, no supermarket, no public parks or swimming pool, no organized sports [Update: there is now an organized community baseball team in Gloster!]. no recreation center or summer jobs or other activities for kids.
Update: As of April 2018, there’s a new full service supermarket in town, with fresh fruit and vegetables, meats, the works! The Piggly Wiggly brings the Gloster community home to shop for essential groceries and their staff is courteous, professesional, and multiracial! No longer any need to travel 40 miles round trip for good meats, fresh fruit and produce.
Living in this isolated rural community, the children in Gloster have no access to arts and cultural institutions, despite their own rich cultural legacy. Notably artists with roots in Gloster include playwright, Lorraine Hansberry, author of A Raisin in the Sun, her uncle Leo Hansberry, the “father” of African studies and former professor of history at Howard University, and sculptor James Washington, Jr. We’re currently researching other distinguished folks, “hidden figures,” if you will, who were born and raised in Gloster for our “Gloster Walk of Fame.” Stay tuned. Very exciting!
– Margaret Porter Troupe