Looking Back Down History Lane

Augustus “Gus” Ashby

Gus, as he was affectionately known as, was born in Washington, D.C., but moved to Tupelo at an early age. He was a 1949 graduate of George Washington Carver High School. At Carver he was a member of the Blue Devil’s football team, Hi-Y Club, Older Youth Club, and Choir. After Carver, he attended Mississippi Industrial College in Holly Springs and Okolona Junior College in Okolona, MS.

Ashby was a member of the Henry Hampton Elks Lodge for 45 years and served as the Exalted Ruler for 15 years on the local level. He received numerous awards for his service in the organization.

Ashby was also a civil servant for Tupelo and Lee County. He served on the Tupelo Civil Improvement Club, Tupelo Bi-Racial Committee, Golden Eagle Club, NAACP, EMPAC, and the CDF. For his outstanding work in the community, he received the Golden Heritage Award from the NAACP (1999) and the Special Service Award from the Black Business Association of Mississippi.

The World War II veteran worked at Day Brite Lighting Company in Tupelo for 35 years, and he and his lovely wife Frances owned and operated Ashby’s Cash Grocery Store on North Green Street for 23 years. Ashby passed on December 22, 1999, but left a lasting legacy that is still felt today.


Clyde C. Augustus

Many young people of the area may not realize who the C.C. Augustus Center on North Green Street is named after. Well, it would be this gentleman we’re speaking of.

This giant was extremely instrumental in the growth and development of Tupelo’s African-American community during the ’50s and ’60s. Augustus was born and raised in Tupelo and was a lifetime member of the Lane Chapel C.M.E. Church.

Mr. Augustus coached at Carver School for 27 years and was the athletic director for another five years. He was active in the community, serving as East Division Chairman of the Yocona Area Boys Scouts. He was also an Elks member and a member of the Tupelo Civic Improvement Club.

Mr. Augustus continued to be active in his Church until passing in March of 1967.


Miss Alice Little

Miss Little was born in Tupelo on August 6, 1903, and became a member of the Lane Chapel C.M.E. Church at a young age, where she was very active, serving on numerous boards and committees, and also served as the Vice President of the Women’s Missionary Connectional Council of the C.M.E. Church.

Miss Little was the founder of the Palmetto Day Care Center and a charter member of the board of directors of Lift Inc. She graduated from Mississippi Industrial College in Holly Springs and taught afterward in Mississippi and Tennessee.

She was an active supporter of numerous civic organizations and Church projects, including charter member and chairman of the board of Lee United Companions, an organization chartered in 1966 to combat illegitimacy in this area and provide scholarships for Black women in the area of social work.

Miss Little was remarkable in her efforts supporting foreign mission work in Nigeria, Ghana, Haiti, and Jamaica. She received numerous awards for her work and dedication before passing in 1983.

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