In the late 1890s, two Russian immigrants named Charles and Alice Rosenthal gave birth to Sam Rosenthal
in Brooklyn, New York.
By age three, the Rosenthals moved to Natchez, where Sam
childhood.After a short stint in New Orleans, Rosenthal
moved to Rolling Fork in 1919 to join his
brother's clothing store.An outspoken gentleman, Rosenthal
found himself elected as an alderman by April 8, 1924.A few months later, the mayor of Rolling Fork resigned, as he moved outside the city limits.
had no real interest in the position, future Governor Fielding Wright nominated him as a mayoral candidate.Sam Rosenthal
was elected on July 3.From 1924 until 1969, Sam Rosenthal
, nicknamed "Mr.Sam," served as mayor of Rolling Fork
continuously in a place with few contested elections.
As mayor, his
first acts in the 1920s were to introduce a credit structure for the local lumber yard and to invest in a new generating motor in order to improve electricity in this rural Delta area.When the levee broke in the 1927 Great Mississippi River Flood, Rosenthal
evacuated everyone on a train to Vicksburg before the town completely flooded, while Rosenthal
stayed to watch over the city.Sources say that as much as seven feet of water flooded the town in the late 1920s.While the Great Depression caused most places to struggle, Rosenthal
used the Works Progress Administration of the New Deal
to pave the roads of Rolling Fork.With 100 men paid a dollar per day, the project was complete by the end of the 1930s.
Even as the boll weevil hit Rolling Fork's cotton crop, Rosenthal's work to build a successful town did not end.He
modernized Rolling Fork with schools and a library, while also bringing textile work to an area full of textile raw materials.After World War II, Rosenthal
organized the Deer Creek National Gas District, which served five municipalities.He was chairman of the district for nearly fifteen years.
During the 1960s, Rosenthal
held community discussions to allay tensions during the civil rights movement.Rosenthal was also a city judge and a charter member of the Lions Club along with fellow Jews Sam Lamensdorf, Ed Danzig, and H.C. Glazier Jr.
In 1969, Sam Rosenthal
reelection bid, causing him to retire as one of the longest consecutive termed mayors to ever serve.
While Sam Rosenthal
certainly dominated the twentieth century history of Rolling Fork and its surrounding areas, other Jewish businesses and institutions existed in the area as well.
owned a Furniture and Dry Goods store, which later became Mr. Sam's Clothing Store.