Community loses leader in Wallace

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 12, 2001

Natchez lost an esteemed community leader with the death of Harden Wallace on Thursday, friends and admirers said.

&uot;I knew Mr. Wallace all my life, grew up around the corner from his family,&uot; said Natchez Alderman Theodore &uot;Bubber&uot; West.

&uot;I knew him just as part of his family until I got old enough to know how important Mr. Wallace was to the African-American community,&uot; West said.

Email newsletter signup

&uot;He was especially interested in helping young African-American people go into business. He is a person who believed in Natchez, and he will be missed.&uot;

Former Natchez Mayor Tony Byrne remembers many years of service rendered the city by Wallace.

&uot;We involved him in city government through committees and commissions,&uot; said Byrne, who was mayor from 1968 to 1988. I remember that he was on the Architectural Review Board, and it was a very controversial board then. He did an excellent job.&uot;

Wallace also displayed leadership during the turbulent 1960s, Byrne said.

&uot;I was with the Chamber of Commerce from 1961 to 1968 and an alderman from 1966 to ’68, and Mr. Wallace always was a person you could talk to; he had a cool head, a good head.&uot;

William Terrell, who has been associated with the Bluff City Post for many years as editor and as publisher, described Wallace as one who worked quietly behind the scenes, motivating young people to do their best.

&uot;He was a great force in the community, diligently working to improve the community,&uot; said Terrell, who has followed Wallace’s activities for decades.

&uot;He was the driving force behind the Natchez Business and Civic League, and at one time he rose to become regional vice president of the National Business League.&uot;

Terrell said he admired Wallace for his peace-making qualities and for extending his hand across racial lines.

&uot;He often invited well-known white leaders to speak at Business and Civic League meetings, people like Secretary of State Eric Clark and now-Gov. Ronnie Musgrove.

&uot;There would be standing room only, but the people came as much for Mr. Wallace as for the speakers he invited.&uot;

Services will be 11 a.m. Tuesday at Zion Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Natchez. Complete funeral arrangements will be announced by West Funeral Home.