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Black History program on Hiram Revels Tuesday

NATCHEZ — This Black History Month marks the anniversary month of the day Hiram Rhodes Revels, a former Natchez alderman and former pastor of Zion Chapel AME Church, became the first African-American to fill a seat in the United States Senate.

A Black History Month program honoring Revels will begin at noon Tuesday at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in the Nelson Multi-Purpose Room, which is located in the Redd Watkins Career and Technical Education Building at 30 Campus Drive.

The program — which is free and open to the public — is sponsored by the Carolyn Vance Smith Natchez Literary Research Center at the Co-Lin library and will feature guest speaker Robert Luckett, Ph.D., of Jackson State University who specializes in the reconstruction era after the Civil War, said Willie Mae Dunn Library Director, Beth Richard.

“(Luckett) is a great speaker who teaches history at Jackson State University,” Richard said. “We’ve invited him to come because he has done a lot on the reconstruction era, which was the era that Hiram Revels was here in Natchez and became such a significant historical figure.”

Richard said Revels came to Natchez to be the first pastor of Zion Chapel in 1866 and was elected as a city alderman in 1868. Revels then became a state senator and was selected by Mississippi State Legislature to fill a vacant U.S. Senate seat in 1870.

After the completion of his senate term, Revels returned to Mississippi to be the first president of Alcorn State University in Lorman, Richard said.

“Since this is a significant anniversary for Hiram Revels, who has such a strong local connection, we want to focus on that and hopefully have students there who may have never even heard of (Revels). We hope that they will learn something from this program and have a good turnout from the community too … and help them learn about this piece of history and about such an amazing individual.”

For more information about the program, email beth.richard@colin.edu or call 601-446-1107.