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Prowlers shake sense of community

Over a period of 20 years I’ve put my heart and soul into Prince Street Day Care and Learning Center.

I’m very proud of my accomplishments. The journey has not been easy, and it continues to be a challenge in many areas. Early Saturday morning at approximately 3 a.m. on Sept. 22, prowlers in the neighborhood broke into the center.

They pried the front doors open with a crowbar on the Prince Street side of the building, damaging the nearly 85-year-old antique doors almost beyond repair.

This part of the building has historical significance and value to the black community and the historical Woodlawn area. It was constructed in the early 1900s and consists of four large rooms with vent pipes, iron heaters and a wood and brick structure.

I realize this has no earthly meaning to thieves looking for anything of value they can steal and sell, but it has meaning to me and many other black Natchezians who went to school in this building in grades kindergarten through third grade during the past 80 to 90 years.

More than 50 years ago, I walked from the end of Madison Street where I lived in a small wooden frame shotgun house near the old Pecan Factory to Prince Street School every day in grades first through third and never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that one day I would be the overseer of the building where I got my early start.

It takes a lot of work to keep this building sound and in good condition. I’ve worked many long hours in this building and continue to do so daily and sometimes on weekends. This building is old, and burglars and thieves could cause a great deal of damage breaking and entering unlawfully into the building.

The prowlers did get into the building on Saturday morning on Sept. 22, but the alarm was set off when they entered the building. I am glad that we had an alarm system installed, and I am thankful that the Natchez Police Department responded immediately when they got the call. Nothing was stolen, but it disturbs me greatly to think of what could have been stolen if this had not been the case.

The interesting issue is, I’ve lived in this area for more than 30 years and know most of the young adults that still live in the vicinity, and they know me. They also know I’ll help them in any way I can. It hurts me deeply to know that one of them or someone else would rather break into my building and steal from me, rather than ask me for help.

I don’t know who the prowlers were, but street talk has given me some tips as to who they might be.

I know it doesn’t mean anything to thieves that people work hard for what they have and they don’t want it stolen from them.

It is my hope that you can read this, and I hope you have a conscience and will think twice before you attempt to break into the day care again, or any other place.

If you don’t respect me, then please do it for the babies and the young children in my care. The children deserve better. They deserve a safe, nurturing and learning environment that has not been violated or contaminated by filth from thuggish thieves with selfish motives.

The time, effort and expense of trying to clean, sanitize and fix back what thieves have torn up has been frustrating and overwhelming. I am outraged and that is putting it mildly.

I love all of the children in my daily care, and I love my childcare center. Both mean very much to me. Much hard work has gone into making it what it is. Whoever did this awful thing, please find yourself a job and do the decent thing and not take something that is not yours. Eventually, you will be caught, and the consequences might not be so nice the next time.


Barbara Crenshaw is the childcare director at Prince Street Daycare.