Fisher leaves local legacy

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 22, 2010

NATCHEZ — The Miss-Lou lost an active advocate for the preservation of local black history with the Monday death of Ozelle Fisher.

Fisher, 77, was born in Natchez and spent much of her adult life in New York, but she came back to the area and became involved in local projects.

Historic Natchez Foundation Executive Director Mimi Miller said she remembered Fisher as both a good friend and a friend of the foundation.

“She came back to Natchez and immediately got involved in African-American history and historic preservation,” Miller said.

“Ozelle was just fun, outspoken, had a great sense of humor and said what she thought always, never minced words.”

Part of Fisher’s work in preserving local black history was — while she served on the Historic Natchez Foundation board — to record local oral histories.

“She was always out rounding up information for us and interviewing people, many of whom are now dead, looking for photographs and doing anything she could to help the Historic Natchez Foundation record the African-American history of Natchez,” Miller said.

Fisher represented the Historic Natchez Foundation on the Mississippi African-American History Council, and also volunteered at the Natchez Association for the Preservation of Afro-American Culture museum, Miller said.

Work at the NAPAC museum was what NAPAC board member Bobby Dennis characterized as a passion for Fisher.

“She played a big role in the early stages of getting the museum developed and catalogued,” Dennis said. “She pretty much curated the museum in the early years.”

Fisher was also involved in community life, and she served on the early Natchez Juneteenth committees.

“She really had a hand or at least an ear or an eye in most of the public events in the city,” former Project Southern Cross Director Thelma Williams said.

Fisher volunteered 16 years of her time with Project Southern Cross, which ran a youth project at the Angeletty House during the summer and operated the Mostly African Market during the winter.

“She was a very perceptive person, a person with a sort of wide appetite for people and events, and she sort of followed those inclinations while she was with us,” Williams said. “She showed up not with just our functions, but she was also seen a great deal around the city.”

Funeral arrangements for Fisher are incomplete at Bateaste Memorial Funeral Home.