Jessica Fleming Crawford to discuss ‘Natchez Massacre’ and ‘Ground Zero for Slavery’ at May 23 meeting of Natchez Historical Society

Published 2:56 pm Monday, May 15, 2023

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Special to The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — Jessica Fleming Crawford, southeast regional director for The Archaeological Conservancy, will talk about an archeological site related to the “Natchez Massacre” and chattel slavery at the meeting of the Natchez Historical Society on Tuesday, May 23, at Historic Natchez Foundation, 108 S. Commerce St.

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Crawford’s presentation is titled, “Ground Zero for Slavery: The Importance of the Terre Blanche Concession at Natchez, Mississippi.” The social will begin at 5:30 p.m., and Crawford’s presentation will start at 6 p.m. The meeting is free and open to the public.

Crawford will discuss the 1729 massacre, or as some call it, the uprising, in which the Natchez Indians attacked and killed most of the French who were here. She will also talk about the “1719 Terre Blanche Concession, a plantation that had 300 acres in cultivation and at least 86 enslaved people who were taken directly from their homes in Africa or were of the first generation to be born the Province of Louisiana.”

Archaeologists with the Lower Mississippi Survey discovered the Terre Blanche Concession in 1971 on property owned by the International Paper Company. The site is located on Lower Woodville Road on the south side of St. Catherine Creek.

The Terre Blanche site, said Crawford, “is one of two that are arguably ‘ground zero’ for chattel slavery in the Natchez District, and archaeologically, very little of it remains.” Crawford noted her presentation will focus on the importance of this site.

Crawford is no stranger to Natchez. In fact, she has made many visits to the city. Over the years, she has worked with Concord Quarters and served as a guest speaker for the NHS and the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians. She is also involved with ongoing research projects in Natchez.

“Ms. Crawford is an expert on the history surrounding the Terre Blanche Conservancy and what its archeology tells us about Natchez’s early history,” said Alan Wolf, a director of NHS and its program chair. “She’s not to be missed by anyone interested in our native and colonial past.”

Crawford is a graduate of the University of Mississippi, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English. She holds a master’s degree in Anthropology with an emphasis in Archaeology.

Crawford’s organization, The Archaeological Conservancy, is considered “the only national non-profit organization dedicated to acquiring and preserving America’s most important cultural sites,” according to the agency’s website. In addition to identifying and acquiring “the most significant archaeological sites in the United States,” the Conservancy helps to preserve these sites.

As regional director, Crawford manages Conservancy properties in eight southeastern states from her office in Marks. She oversees research and works to acquire additional properties, which is made possible by purchase, donation or by holding easements, Crawford said.

Additionally, Crawford plans and guides a week-long educational tour of Southeastern archaeological sites.

For more information, call 601-492-3000 or send email to