Help us with Parchman Ordeal list

Published 1:52 am Thursday, June 1, 2017

Natchez is a city filled with history, and we are very fortunate that today we have a diverse population committed to recognizing and memorializing this history of all groups, equally and across the board. In that spirit, Mayor Darryl Grennell organized the Parchman Ordeal Committee in November of 2016. This committee is part of an overall movement to memorialize sites and occurrences that are key to the Civil Rights movement in Natchez and Adams County.

A great deal of work is being done to research, document and remember the estimated 700 protesters who were arrested during the weekend of October 2-5, 1965. Of that number, six charter busloads of people were transported to the state penitentiary at Parchman. Articles, news stories and films such as “The Parchment Ordeal” have paid tribute to the protesters and shed light on this difficult struggle in Natchez. For these things our committee is grateful; however, we do feel that one thing is missing—and that is a permanent memorial.

Therefore, the Parchman Ordeal Committee seeks to place a monument at an approved site to remember the role that these estimated 700 played in the struggle for civil rights in this area. It is the dream of the Parchman Ordeal Committee to include the names of all protesters arrested on the site that weekend—whether or not they were taken to Parchman. Therefore, we are appealing to the public to help us ensure the list we have is correct. You may visit the George Armstrong public library and view the list of all those arrested during this ordeal. If you or someone you know was arrested but is not on the list, you will be able to add the name. If you were arrested but your name on the list is incorrect, we need you to edit it. Once we have an edited list, a panel of reviewers will work to verify all of the additions.

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Thank you in advance for assisting with this very important task.

Robert Pernell is chairman of the Parchman Ordeal Committee.