Our history is becoming colorless

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 8, 2009

Natchez and Adams County owe a great deal to their heritage. We’re often known for being the city “where the old South still lives.”

That moniker conjures up romantic images for some people and horrible images for others.

The old South was a place of great inequality; it was a world of great wealth for some and inhumane treatment of others.

Email newsletter signup

While we’re known internationally for our well-preserved historic structures and our beautiful scenery, we’re also known for having one of the largest slavery markets before the Civil War.

We often forget the role that blacks played in our history and still play in the history that is being written daily in our community.

From the early days of European settlement in the area, the importance of the contribution of black Americans is astounding.

The majestic antebellum structures we celebrate today were built on the backs of slaves — whether through direct construction labor or through the wealth generated through slave labor in the cotton fields.

This month we celebrate Black History Month in America.

And it’s a celebration that all residents in Natchez — black and white — should celebrate in earnest.

Perhaps in no other community in America do the histories of early black Americans and early white Americans blend so uniquely as in Natchez and Adams County.

In the years ahead, our history — black and white — will continue to be merged into one, blended, colorless story of our past.