Join us for last of civil rights forums

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Since early 2018, the Historic Natchez Foundation and Mississippi State Department of Health have collaborated to better understand the connections of history, place and health in Natchez and Adams County.

Through the Adams County Civil Rights Project, both organizations have unpacked the difficult aspects of Mississippi’s Civil Rights history to discern varying impacts at the community-wide level.

Discussions concerning local education, local health and wellness and local civil rights history provided ample support for the importance and wide-ranging implications of this project.

Collectively, we acknowledge the overall gravitas of Natchez’s lengthy civil rights history. The question now shifts to: How can we utilize this history to create a healthier more inclusive Natchez community?

Throughout this journey, HNF and the Mississippi State Department of Health have maintained that community involvement and input be paramount to the study.

Three community forums have provided a wealth of information including data generated from polling questions as well as untold stories and experiences.

Voices representing various sectors of the community have also expressed the wants and needs throughout Natchez.

The fourth and final community forum will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Zion Chapel AME Church, 228 N. Martin Luther King Jr., St., Natchez.

Additionally, the Historic Natchez Foundation and Mississippi State Department of Health would like to extend a sincere thank you to the Natchez-Adams County community for their continued involvement in and support of past community forum discussions.

The stated goals and aims of the project remain unchanged from the outset. HNF continues its work to develop a site survey, eventually culminating in a thematic National Register of Historic Places nomination.

This product also will generate an unofficial Civil Rights trail for the Natchez community and visitors.

The Mississippi State Department of Health will complete a Health Impact Assessment, complementing the survey work to ask: How can a Civil Rights Register and Trail become a community tool to address disparities and health inequalities, including community cohesion, education, economic development, and access to physical activity?

Please join us from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday for the final public discussion about these important topics. Light refreshments will be provided.

The Health Impact Assessment is administered by the Mississippi State Department of Health with a grant from the Health Impact Project, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts.

The Historic Natchez Foundation’s National Register project is being completed with assistance from the Historic Preservation Fund, administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of the Interior.

CHASE KLUGH is director of preservations for the Historic Natchez Foundation.