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Natchez celebrates Black history

NATCHEZ — The Nu Xi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and the Natchez Museum of African American History, also called NAPAC, are celebrating Black History Month in COVID-19 safe ways.

The Omega Psi Phi of Natchez is hosting a series of virtual and some outdoor events throughout the month, both to acknowledge Black history and stay healthy.

Virtual events include a month-long and social media-based Black History Treasure Hunting challenge, an R&B Facebook listening party and several Zoom events.

Omega Psi Phi is partnering with NAPAC to host a virtual tour of the NAPAC museum Feb. 6, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. via Zoom.
At 10 a.m. Feb. 27, Omega Psi Phi members will also take a stroll around the City of Natchez to visit African American historical sites — including the Rhythm Club Memorial Marker on the Bluff, William Johnson House, Proud to Take a Stand Monument and the Natchez Burning Marker — which will be live-streamed on social media.

Bobby Dennis, chairman of the NAPAC museum, said the doors of the museum have been closed due to COVID-19. However, with vaccinations underway, Dennis said the museum will be giving small tours to individuals beginning Saturday, Feb. 6.

“We will take individuals but it depends upon how many individuals we get at one time,” he said. “We want to open the museum and make it available to the public during Black History month.”

Those who are unable to tour the museum in person can also visit with a virtual tour that is published on the community website, visitnapac.net, Dennis said.

The museum tells the history of notable Blacks in the Natchez community like William Johnson, Prince Ibrahima and Richard Wright as well as accounts of the Parchman ordeal — when people were unjustly incarcerated for a Civil Rights demonstration in Natchez in 1965.

The museum also features the artwork of local artists and a library of books related to the development of Natchez during the Reconstruction and Civil Rights period up until today, Dennis said.

Dennis said celebrating Black History is important for preserving a history that, for a long time, was untold except by word of mouth from one generation to the next.

“Our story (the Black community’s story) has never been told by us. We’ve only been getting bits and pieces,” Dennis said. “We used to have conversations at the dinner table where our parents and grandparents would tell us what life was like for them. It is important that we share those stories because sharing all of the successes and not successes make a difference in a young person’s life and helps them to understand their work in society means something.”

Those interested in participating in virtual events for Black History month can register online at nuxiques.com/events.

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