Acquisition of the Guest House a point of pride for us all

Published 5:20 am Wednesday, May 18, 2022

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We are always pleased when investors from out of the area choose to take a chance on Natchez. Our city, which welcomes hundreds of thousands of tourists each year, appreciates those who think enough of us to set up shop here.

But the investment of Mike and Tiffany Clinton of Los Angeles, who have joined their friend, Natchez native Joseph Smith, in acquiring The Guest House bed and breakfast and restaurant seems special to us.

The Clintons and Smith are Black. Their business is located in a former antebellum home, the likes of which their ancestors at one time would not have been allowed to enter through the front door. Now, they own the place.

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As Mike Clinton pointed out when he talked to The Natchez Democrat last week, “Can you imagine? The African American kids running around here are the heirs.”

Mimi Miller of the Historic Natchez Foundation understands the significance of the new acquisition by the Clintons and Smith.

“This acquisition of The Guest House is a really big deal for us. We have dreamed for almost 50 years of seeing Black ownership in downtown historic properties and businesses and historic mansions. I see this as a tremendous step forward for the Black community toward recognizing that the city’s historic buildings also belong to them.”

Indeed, they do.

Many in Natchez have worked hard to recognize the sins of the past; build racial reconciliation and unity. It is a difficult process and requires trust on all sides.

Our hope is that all Natchezians will take Smith and the Clintons up on their invitation to come to sit on the porch at The Guest House, enjoy a beverage and watch the sunset or have a meal in The Guest House restaurant. The new owners said they want The Guest House to be Natchez’s living room.

This acquisition should be a point of pride for everyone in Natchez, regardless of race and ethnicity. We have so far to go, no doubt, to get to where we need to be but we have come a long, wonderful way.