No changes planned for city’s Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations, mayor says

Published 2:02 pm Sunday, January 14, 2024

NATCHEZ — Despite a winter storm watch for Natchez and Adams County on Monday, Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson said no changes are planned for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day plans here.

“We are going forward with the program,” Gibson said Sunday afternoon.

Jackie Marsaw, who is in charge of the city’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade, said plans for it continue unchanged, as well.

Email newsletter signup

The National Weather Service in Jackson has issued a winter weather advisory for the Natchez area beginning at 6 a.m. on Monday and continuing until 6 a.m. on Tuesday. However, the NWS forecast has improved somewhat since Saturday.

For Monday, the forecast calls for a chance of rain, freezing rain, and sleet before 5 p.m., then a chance of freezing rain and sleet. Mostly cloudy skies are expected, with a high near 35. North wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30 percent. Little or no sleet accumulation expected.

On Monday night, a chance of freezing rain and sleet are forecast, mainly before 11 p.m. Skies will be mostly cloudy with a low around 18. Winds will be north from 15 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40 percent.

On Tuesdays, the National Weather Service forecasts mostly sunny skies with a high near 29. North wind around 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Tuesday night is expected to be mostly clear with a low around 12 degrees and north wind 10 to 20 mph.

Martin Luther King Jr. events begin Sunday at 5 p.m. at Beulah Baptist Church, 710 B. St., across from Cathedral School. The City of Natchez is teaming up for the second year to present Lift Every Voice. Mississippi native John Christopher Adams, an operatic tenor, will present familiar and important spirituals and anthems, Gibson said.

The event will also feature a tribute for the founders of the Natchez Association for the Preservation of African American Culture, known as NAPAC, and the Natchez Museum of African American History.

“Seven remarkable ladies — the late Judge Mary Lee Davis-Toles, Josie Gilchrest-Camper, Flora M. Green Terrell, Mary White, Patricia A. Washington, Juanita Jones and the late Patricia Powers, blazed a trail for a museum that is today celebrated internationally. And we look forward to recognizing each one of them,” the mayor said.

Tony Fields, director of music at Zion Chapel AME Church, will also perform Sunday night.

The celebration continues on Monday at 2 p.m. at what will become Hiram Revels Plaza, located at that is known as the MLK Triangle across from Zion Chapel AME Church at the corner of St. Catherine and MLK streets. There, leaders from Zion Chapel, which owns the Triangle property, will convey ownership of the property to the city in order for the development of a park in honor of Hiram Revels.

The late Rev. Hiram Revels was pastor of Zion Chapel Church and a former U.S. Senator representing Mississippi. He was also the first president of Alcorn State University. Revels was the first African American to serve in either house of the U.S. Congress.

The commemoration at the Triangle will be followed by the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade, which will commence at 3 p.m. on Broadway. Co-Grand Marshals will be Mrs. Leola Harris and Natchez Police Chief Caroline “Cal” Green. Guests are invited to view the parade after the Revels Plaza ceremony from the steps of the historic Zion Chapel Church at the corner of MLK Street and Jefferson Street.