Richard Wright Memorial Highway Dedication Ceremony Set for February

Published 3:18 pm Friday, February 8, 2008

NATCHEZ — Dedication ceremonies for a segment of U. S. Highway 84 in Adams County to be named the “Richard Wright Memorial Highway” have been set for Saturday, Feb. 23, at 2:30 p.m. The ceremony will take place at the junction of U. S. 61 North and U. S. 84 West in the parking lot of the B Kwik Chevron.

Natchez’s famous “native son,” the internationally known author, Richard Wright, was born 100 years ago this year near Natchez, in Adams County, Mississippi, the son of a sharecropper and a country schoolteacher. Wright’s first novel, Native Son, was published in 1940 and was an immediate success. His Black Boy, a fictionalized autobiography, was published in 1945 and sold 400,000 copies in three months. In all, he wrote more than a dozen influential books of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. After leaving Natchez, he lived and worked in Jackson, Memphis, Chicago, and New York, later moving to Paris, where he died in 1960.

This highway dedication ceremony by the Mississippi Department of Transportation is being held in conjunction with the 2008 Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration titled “Richard Wright, the South, and the World: A Centennial Celebration.” This celebration will kick off a year-long series of international conferences and programs honoring this famous American writer.

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“MDOT is proud to partner with this prestigious event in honoring one of Mississippi’s own,” says Southern Transportation Commissioner Wayne Brown.

The Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration was begun in 1990 by Copiah-Lincoln Community College. This internationally known celebration, now sponsored by Copiah-Lincoln Community College, Natchez National Historical Park, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and Mississippi Public Broadcasting, along with partial funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities through the Mississippi Humanities Council and Mississippi Arts Commission, has been praised as “Mississippi’s most significant annual conference devoted to literature, history, film and culture.”

Attending the dedication ceremonies will be U. S. Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, former Governor William Winter, Mayor Phillip West, the local legislative delegation, members of the Wright family, and local elected officials. The public is invited to attend the dedication ceremonies free of charge. Ample parking will be provided at the ceremony site.

The highway dedication ceremony is part of the Richard Wright Ramble, a guided motor coach tour of sites related to the author and the Wright family. Tickets for the tour, with transportation, guide and refreshments are $20 per person, and are available by calling (601) 446-1289 or toll-free 866-296-6522 or by visiting and clicking on tickets.

In the event of rain, the dedication ceremony will be held inside the Natchez Convention Center, 211 Main Street, Natchez, Miss., at 1:30 p.m.

Please contact Janet Sullivan, MDOT Natchez, at (601) 446-7358 or or Carolyn Smith, Co-Lin Natchez at (601) 446-1208 or if you have any questions.