PHOTO FEATURE: Congressman Thompson shares Black History Month message with Natchez church members

Published 4:01 pm Sunday, February 19, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

NATCHEZ — Attendees at New Beginnings Missionary Baptist Church’s special Black History Month service on Sunday morning were moved not just by traditional gospel music, which brought the congregation to their feet and some to dance, but also by a moving message from U.S. Congressman Bennie Thompson.

Thompson, a Bolton native, has served Mississippi’s 2nd Congressional District since 1993, which Adams County recently joined after redistricting. He is both the first Democrat and the first African American to serve as the chair of the Committee on Homeland Security.

Attendees saw elected leaders from local, state and federal levels, with State Rep. Robert Johnson III and several Natchez Aldermen, the mayor, sheriff and county supervisors present.

Email newsletter signup

Thompson spoke about the importance of electing leaders who understand “both where they are and whose they are,” referring to God as their creator.

He also spoke passionately about how Mississippi’s historically Black colleges and universities have been underfunded and should therefore receive more in state funding to catch up.

He spoke of how rural communities with Democratic majority populations have been “shorted” by their elected leaders. This shorting isn’t new, he recalled, as he described how, in his childhood, he passed by two segregated white schools in Hinds County to get to one Black school that received handed-down textbooks from the white schools.

“That’s how it used to be,” he said. “Separate and unequal.”

Of all the counties he represents, Thompson commended Adams County for being interested in history and sharing the whole story.

“Black History is living history and there are some parts of history that should never be allowed to repeat itself,” he said. “We’ve come a long way, but we need to tell that story.”