Forks of Road effort deserving of grant

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 14, 2001

History isn’t always pretty. And it isn’t always pleasant. But it is what shapes us, our lives, our legacies.

And another important piece of Natchez history will be better preserved thanks to a $200,000 grant from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

This grant, announced last week, will be used to help develop the historic site at the Forks of the Road — a spot that prior to the Civil War housed the second-largest slave market in America.

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While the Forks of the Road may not be a marker of Natchez’s proudest moment in history, it is an important site in our nation’s history. For thousands of African-Americans brought to this country as part of the slave trade, the Forks of the Road marked their point of entry to this new land — a land that generations later has become their home.

The grant will be used to purchase additional land around the site, land that will be combined with an existing marker to develop an interpretive history — described as an &uot;interpretive wayside&uot; at the site.

The grant awarded to the Natchez project is part of a $2.8 million statewide effort to preserve and recognize important sites and programs that promote African-American heritage in Mississippi. The grants were given to local governments and nonprofit groups working to interpretive and preserve that African-American history.

We can think of none more worthy than the Forks of the Road site.

And, we find it commendable that the state and the local leaders are working diligently to protect, preserve and share yet another facet of our state’s history — a history that has shaped all our lives.