In 1948, a group of community leaders in Tupelo, Mississippi, gathered in the Blue Room of the Tupelo Hotel to form the Community Development Foundation. This organization was created in response to the need for unity among movement activists who were facing violence and discrimination in Natchez, a city known for its Ku Klux Klan presence. George Metcalf, president of the local NAACP, was one of the activists who experienced this discrimination first-hand. He received threatening phone calls and his car was shot at multiple times.
On August 27, 1965, his car exploded when he started it after his shift at the Armstrong tire and rubber plant. This attack occurred shortly after Metcalf filed a petition to desegregate public schools in Natchez and asked the county clerk to comply with federal voter registration laws. The bomb caused black demonstrators to take to the streets in protest. Charles Evers declared: “We are going to fight back.” The Mississippi Main Streets Association was established as a coordination program of Main Street America, funded by the Mississippi Legislature through the Mississippi Development Authority.