Miss-Lou Heritage Group plans garden commemoration, movie

Published 1:01 am Tuesday, February 20, 2018


NATCHEZ — The Miss-Lou Heritage Group has one last hurrah planned for Black History Month: a Saturday filled with celebrating and honoring African-American history in Natchez.

At noon Saturday, Jeremy Houston, president and founder of the heritage group, will host the third-annual Wharlest Jackson Sr. Community Garden Commemoration.

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The community garden was established in 2016 to honor Wharlest Jackson Sr., an NAACP treasurer who died in late February 1967 after someone placed a bomb in his car.

Since the first year Houston planted the garden, it has served meals to more than 200 residents in Natchez, he said.

During and after the commemoration, Houston said he wants community members involved to use the hashtag #WharlestsVision2018 both to spread the word about Jackson’s death and to share the bounties of the community garden.

“We want the community to be a part of this,” Houston said.

Later that day, Houston will show the documentary “Black Natchez” and host discussion of current and past Civil Rights.

“Black Natchez,” filmed in 1965, tracks efforts to organize and register black voters in the Miss-Lou.

Both events are free and open to the public.

These maybe the last events of Houston’s Black History Month celebrations, but they certainly were not the first.

All month long, Houston has given special tours, visited classrooms and hosted events to honor African-American history.

Houston said he feels the schoolroom demonstrations stay with students.

Each presentation, Houston said, allows him to instill some knowledge of Natchez’s history in Miss-Lou youth.

“These kids have lived here their whole lives and don’t know the historic significance of these homes and places,” Houston said.

“They don’t know the impact Natchez residents have had.”

Houston said he has met students who heard his presentation in seventh grade and still remember the lesson years later.

“It sticks with them,” he said. “They remember.”

And though Black History Month may be coming to a close, Houston has no shortage of events in the coming months.

“March is a big month for us; we have a lot going on,” Houston said. “We live and eat this every month.”