Remembering important for community

Published 12:05 am Friday, October 2, 2015

Five decades ago, a series of atrocities marked our community and stained American history for eternity.

The Civil Rights Movement in America was among the most ugly times in our nation’s relatively young history. Racially motivated murders and mistreatment were relatively commonplace.

So when hundreds of local blacks met to discuss forming a public protest, perhaps it was inevitable that a clash would occur.

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In this case, the white establishment came down hard on the group, illegally detaining them on the claim that the group was parading without a permit. Approximately 200 of the alleged protesters were hauled to the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman. At the prison, the detainees were terrorized and abused as a way of intimidating them — all before they had ever been formally charged, let alone found guilty of any crime.

Fortunately, the scare tactics didn’t work and further civil rights work progressed in Natchez and the surrounding area.

But not before more mothers buried their sons and wives were left alone due to the murderous reign of the hate groups prevalent at the time.

This weekend’s commemoration should be a somber one for our community, but one that we’re glad isn’t simply being brushed into the dustpan of history.

Remembering all of our past sins, especially the ones we wish so desperately to forget, is the only way to keep them top-of-mind enough that we’ll never be in a position to repeat them in the future.