Pieces of history return to Alcorn

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 15, 2009

NATCHEZ — A piece of local history is coming home, but before it does its curator wanted to make sure it would have a good home.

Susan Cayton Woodson, the great-granddaughter of Sen. Hiram R. Revels, announced recently she will bequeath a number of items associated with Revels to Alcorn State University.

Woodson visited Alcorn’s campus Saturday and attended the Alcorn vs. Prarie View football game before traveling to Natchez to tour Zion Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, where Revels at one time served as pastor.

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Revels was the first president of Alcorn State University, then Alcorn College. He was also the first black U.S. Senator, served as the Mississippi Secretary of State Ad Interim and was a Natchez alderman.

The items Woodson will donate include four oil portraits, a stone bust of an African woman by sculptor Woodrow Nash and a Seth Thomas mantle clock given to Revels in the 1870s by Jefferson Davis, former president of the Confederate States of America.

This was Woodson’s first trip to Mississippi. During her tour of Zion Chapel AME Church, Natchez Association for the Preservation of Afro-American Culture Director Darrell White told Woodson about local black history and how Revels was part of it.

“I wanted to see where they were going to house the clock,” she said. “It took the clock for me to come down here to find out the history of the clock.”

Alcorn officials said they were extremely grateful for Woodson’s donation.

“Alcorn is extremely grateful to Ms. Susan Cayton Woodson and her family for their generosity,” President George Ross said in a news release. “The rich and varied collection will greatly influence many generations who visit the campus for years to come.”