Watkins cemetery fundraiser a success

Published 12:10 am Friday, February 1, 2008

A gracious thank you to all who supported and/or attended the third annual Reflections and Remembrance Program sponsored by the Worthy Women of Watkins Street Cemetery Association recently at the NAPAC Museum.

This yearly fundraiser is our outreach to the community for financial assistance. Using the theme, “Sharing Information and History of the Watkins Street Cemetery,” the program provided a collective variety of information concerning the cemetery and community history in a venue other than a traditional church setting.

We extend our deepest gratitude to our panelists and guests for volunteering their time and talent to make our program a success. A panel discussion moderated by Dr. Samuel L. White included: Natchez-early 1900s, impact of the Rhythm Night Club fire-1940, and the civil rights’ era. Panel participants were, Darrell White, curator, NAPAC Museum; the Rev. James Stokes; Ser Clifford Boxley, Eugenia Brown Perry, a Rhythm Night Club survivor; and a taped interview concerning the Rhythm Night Club fire from James Rowan, a local and nationally renowned musician, and Thelma T. White, retired educator. Carlee B. Reed and Ralph Jennings resonated inspirational solos. W.D. Harris provided video graphics and Brenda Parker provided several delicious homemade cakes to compliment our refreshments.

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Our efforts to reclaim the cemetery from a forest of trees overgrown by vines and weeds and a deposit site for household debris included a massive clean-up. Gigantic trees were logged, chemical sprayings soil placement, and beautification activities are on-going.

Additional accomplishments completed in 2007 include erecting an entrance sign, cataloguing more than 1,000 names and tombstone information (Web address: www.forksoftheroad.net), and installing section markers to identify burial locations.

We wish to express our deepest appreciation to those various churches, county and city officials, friends, neighbors, our regular volunteers and those who have supported our efforts through prayers, monetary and in-kind donations and memberships.

We are especially appreciative of those who graced us with their presence at our fundraiser program and further embraced us with their heart and checkbooks to raise $1,950. Your assistance through becoming a regular donor will help us continue various improvement projects throughout the year. Please send donations to: WWW Cemetery Association, P.O. Box 17893, Natchez, MS 39122.

Recently our tireless efforts to preserve this historic were especially encouraged through receiving a preservation award from the Historic Natchez Foundation at their annual meeting.

Thank you very much Historic Natchez Foundation and thank you Natchez for your continued support. We say, “We can, and together we will!”

Carolyn R. Smith, secretary

Worthy Women of Watkins Street Cemetery Association