Natchez needs NAPAC, NAPAC needs Natchez

Published 12:03 am Friday, March 24, 2017

Many within our community see the period of Lent, and the upcoming Easter holidays as a symbol of spiritual renewal and rededication. Spring is in the air, as flowers bloom and our community takes on an appearance that is the envy of many who travel to our area, from all over the world. For 84 years tourism has been a major staple to our local economy. However, there has been an increased interest in the telling of the whole story as it relates to our communities shared history. One that speaks directly to the contributions, and accomplishments made by people of color.

African-Americans have been a part of this community since the French establishment of Fort Rosalie in 1716. By 1723 the French settlement in Natchez had 303 inhabitants, including 111 African- Americans. By 1860 nearly half of all freemen of color in the State of Mississippi lived in this area.

Thanks to the efforts of the National Parks Service, the name William Johnson is becoming recognizable. But what about John R. Lynch, Hiram Revels, Robert Wood, Wilson Brown, Louis Winston and a host of others whose accomplishments have been vastly unknown. This is why the NAPAC museum exists at 301 Main St. To fill the void, in the manner in which our areas rich history is interpreted. Natchez needs NAPAC as a depository of information and artifacts that acknowledge our African American community and its achievements. Did you know that the NAPAC museum sits on the site of William Johnson’s famed barber shop? If you didn’t, then you need to stop by and visit the NAPAC museum.

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Since our local economy is tied so closely to tourism, it is important that we all come together as a community in support of the efforts of the NAPAC museum. This will assist in our attempts to broaden our tourism base for economic enhancement of Southwest Mississippi; NAPAC needs the support of everyone. Become a supporting member of NAPAC. Annual membership is just $10. There are also more enhanced levels of participation should you have a greater desire to assist us in our mission. Your contributions will assist in the continued growth of the NAPAC museum and our local tourism industry.

For additional information or application call 601-445-0728
Darrell White is the director of the Natchez Museum of African-American History and Culture.