Mayor wants city to install Parchman Ordeal monument

Published 1:49 am Sunday, October 30, 2016


NATCHEZ — Fifty-one years after Natchez police forced hundreds of black Natchezians onto buses and shipped them to the state penitentiary at Parchman, the City of Natchez may recognize those people who endured the ordeal with a permanent marker.

Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell said he is assembling a committee of Natchezians to initiate the process of planning the installation of a monument dedicated to the hundreds of residents who endured the Parchman Ordeal in October 1965.

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The detainees were everyday folks, standing up for justice and equality and taking a stand against the violent atrocities inflicted upon the black community.

Those arrested were taken to the Natchez City Auditorium, where some were released and others taken to the state penitentiary.

Once at Parchman, men and women were illegally detained for days, suffering terror and abuse at the hands of law enforcement.

Grennell said he would like to see the names of those arrested etched in a stone monument.

Grennell said he has copies of all of the arrests records of the Parchman Ordeal detainees and would task the committee once assembled with compiling a list of names and getting public feedback to make sure no names are omitted or misspelled.

A location for the monument has not been determined, Grennell said.

“Personally, I think it should go at the city auditorium, but I want to see what the committee has to say,” he said.

The monument or marker is important to not only acknowledge the sacrifice of those who suffered through the Parchman Ordeal, but so that visitors to the city may see a visible marker to be educated about the event.

“People who come here want to learn about civil rights,” Grennell said. “We want the names of all those individuals who went through the Parchman Ordeal on a marker so that the story can be told as part of the civil rights history of Natchez.”