Be thankful for National Park Service
With the stroke of his pen, Gov. Phil Bryant has triggered the next — and final — phase of a long process of getting the Natchez Visitor Reception Center into the hands of the National Park Service. Since the building is owned by the City of Natchez, state permission had to be granted in the form of specific legislation to allow the transfer to the federal government.
Now that the permission has been granted the next phase can begin. The actual legal transfer is still a few months away.
We firmly believe the Natchez Visitor Reception Center will be in better hands under the watch of the National Park Service.
The Park Service’s involvement in Natchez has been immeasurably important to raising the bar on the quality of what’s offered to tourists. The National Park Service here has led the way in beginning to tell the previously muted stories of enslaved people and free men of color.
Today, the centerpiece of the Natchez National Historical Park, Melrose, provides visitors a glimpse into how slaves had to live.
The William Johnson House illustrates the unique story of a free man of color before the Civil War.
And in the future, the Natchez National Historical Park expects to incorporate land at the former Forks of the Road slave market site into the park and thus tell yet another facet to the Natchez story.
Natchez is truly blessed that the National Park Service is here and should be thankful the entity is willing to take on the task of managing the Natchez Visitor Reception Center.