Luminary at Melrose remembers enslaved on Juneteenth

Published 10:43 am Thursday, June 20, 2024

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NATCHEZ — The threat of rain showers did not dim the light of the Juneteenth Luminary Commemorative Event taking place at Melrose Wednesday evening.

A diverse crowd gathered on the grounds of the historical home and national park for the event held by the Natchez National Historical Park on the evening of Juneteenth, a federal holiday commemorating the arrival of freedom for enslaved people across the country.

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The evening was inspiring and serene, and it featured no strict agenda or program; instead, it served as an opportunity for solemn remembrance. Visitors gazed out over the serene landscape of the estate and saw over 700 carefully placed lanterns expanding even beyond the horizon. Each light represented one of the 700 men, women, and children enslaved by the McCurran family on the grounds of Melrose and at cotton plantations around the region.

A professional videography crew with high-end video equipment—and even boom microphones—captured footage of the evening and interviewed attendees.

The event concluded with an impromptu prayer circle led by Mayor Dan Gibson, who remarked on the injustices in Natchez’s history and paid honor to the enslaved men and women who built Natchez.