Sam Rosenthal

In 1908, 5-year-old Simon (later Sam) Rosenthal was admitted to the Home by his father Charles with his siblings Bessie and Louie. By 1918, the children returned to their father in Rolling Fork, Mississippi, where Sam soon began work in a dry goods store.

According to the Institute of Southern Jewish Life, Sam entered the world of politics by winning election as alderman in 1924. The same year, when Rolling Fork’s mayor resigned, “Mr. Sam” reluctantly accepted the nomination and began a remarkable mayoral tenure that lasted until 1969, bringing business, innovation, paved roads, schools, and a library to his small town. During the 1960s, Rosenthal hosted community discussions to allay tensions during the civil rights movement. 

For all of his good works, in addition to his service as president of the local congregation, the town designated July 11, 1968 as “Sam Rosenthal Day” and later named the municipal building in his honor.

Sam Rosenthal died in 1981 at the age of 86. 


Sam Rosenthal, 1980

Sam Rosenthal, 1980, in front of the plaque naming the Rolling Fork, Mississippi municipal building in his honor. Photo from ISJL.