Natchez unveils markers at 27 African-American historical sites

Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 7:37 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NATCHEZ, Ms. (KNOE) - The City of Natchez unveiled markers at 27 African-American historical sites on February 1 to mark the start of Black History Month.

“I’m very happy,” explained Lynda Mackel Washington, 4th generation owner of the Robert D. Mackel & Sons Funeral Home. “Proud for the establishment that my great ancestors set up for us to keep going.”

The funeral home opened in 1898 and was responsible for burial services after a fire killed 209 people in 1940.

“A bunch of them at the Rhythm Night Club,” said Mackel Washington. “They did a lot of those services. I wasn’t born yet, but I heard about it.”

The Natchez Association for the Preservation of Afro-American Culture (NAPAC) said the markers honor the city’s rich civil rights history.

“What better way to enhance our story than to have 27 markers that recognize and celebrate people, places and events that tell the story of the contributions and achievements and struggles and successes that have helped to shape America’s story,” NAPAC Co-Founder Flora Johnson explained.

Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson said each marker will have QR codes allowing visitors and residents to take a self-guided tour.

“You can now use these QR codes and go to the NAPAC website, and you, on your own, can read about these historic buildings and sites in our city,” said Gibson.

For Mackel Washington, it is a reminder of the sacrifices her ancestors made toward a more just future.

“History is Natchez,” explained Mackel-Washington. “Natchez is nothing, but every corner you turn on is history.”

Funding for the markers came from the City of Natchez, Visit Natchez and Natchez Historical Society.