Focused on Mississippi: History of auto dealers

We were summoned to the entrance of the Two Museums in downtown Jackson. Taking the podium is one of the most energetic people I have ever met, Johnny Morrow. He has many interests and a few passions. One of his passions is automobiles. He was the first African American automobile wholesaler in Jackson.

Reflecting back over his career and remembering all of the people he worked with in the automobile sales industry in Jackson, Morrow has compiled a history of the dealers and their contributions to the city during the “Golden Age of Car Dealers.”

Back then, South State Street was the car selling Mecca of Mississippi. Most of these guys struck Morrow as having something else to them when he researched them. They not only sold cars, but they also built Jackson.

In the background are the children and grandchildren of the people who sold the cars, many of them picking up the dealership after their dads retired. Toby Trowbridge remembers his dad, owner of Van Trow Oldsmobile.

Golden Age of Car Dealers Van Trow Oldsmobile


“I guess the best memory of my dad was his saying: He was often wrong but never in doubt,” he stated.

It took that kind of tenacity to sell cars and build a city. The kind of character that Senator John Horne says we could use some more of today.

“And we need to go find some more folks just like them to bring Jackson back,” said the state senator.

So it started as a press conference to announce the release of the history of the car dealers and their roll in shaping Jackson, but ended up more being a challenge to summons up the character they had and make some more history in the capital city.

Source: Focused on Mississippi: History of auto dealers