Archived Story

Watkins Street history speaks for itself

Published 12:02am Friday, August 2, 2013

It is important to me because as a child, it was the only way to get home at 1416 Watkins St.

When we buried my grandmother Sarah Foster in L section in 1987, I began cutting grass around her grave area, or someone did it for me.

When Ms. White asked me to attend her meeting to form the Worthy Women of Watkins Street, that is what I was doing cutting grass. I attended and joined the association.

We were organized in 2005 to care for and maintain the historical cemetery.

To this day, I and other members of the Worthy Women of Watkins Street Cemetery Association along with Natchez Public Schools AOP students, youth court students and other volunteers are still caring for and maintaining the Watkins Street Cemetery.

Being that I am there Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon — weather permitting — and have not seen any signs of four-wheeler vandalism, the only visible destruction is acts of God, tree limbs falling and erosion.

Some of our historical acknowledgements include Dr. Ian Brown of the University of Alabama’s Department of Archeology. His students were here on March 31, 2012, for one day and began the mapping and recording of graves beginning with sections M and N, which is the Rhythm Night Club section and will be completed by Mr. Jim Barnett of the Department of Archives and History and his wife, Sharon.

As of today, he has completed sections A, B, C and D and are currently working on section E.

The Cemetery has been recognized by Walt Grayson on his commentary, “A Look Around Mississippi,” which airs on WLBT.

This month, the Watkins Street Cemetery will be featured in an article by Mrs. Sarah Bogan titled, “History Reclaimed” in the Our Heritage Magazine Summer-Fall 2013 edition.

Let it be known that the Worthy Women of Watkins Street Association has been a 501 C3 non-profit organization since 2006.

We function on tax-deductible donations and volunteered time given by our many supporters.

From these funds, there are two part-time employees, equipment and supply cost.

We appreciate each of you and pray for your continued support.

We, the Worthy Women of Watkins Street Cemetery Association, invite you to come and see for yourselves the work we put in everyday to preserve and maintain one of the oldest African-American cemeteries in Mississippi, having celebrated 104 years in March of this year.

Let’s keep this historical cemetery name, “Watkins Street Cemetery” for all the reasons named above.

Its history speaks for itself.

 

Dorothy Sanders is a member of the Worthy Women of Watkins Street.

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