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Tag: ‘Natchez Mississippi’

Natchez Pilgrimage…A Mississippi Tradition

Posted: March 8th, 2010 by

  

Spring comes early to the Deep South.  Mid-February usually brings daffodils and the budding of flowering trees. By early March, the dogwoods and redbuds are bursting into bloom followed closely by flowering bulbs and azaleas.  While Northern neighbors are busy shoveling snow from the latest blizzard, Southern gardeners greet the arrival of spring with joy and exuberance. My father always has his vegetable garden well underway by Good Friday; which traditionally signals the threat of frost has passed and it is time to plant tomato seedlings. Although spring is a bit later this year due to some unusually cold weather, the typical rites of spring are well under way.  

Stanton Hall, Natchez MS Flickr photo by Paul V8

In my hometown of Natchez, Mississippi, local garden clubs have been preparing for the annual Spring Pilgrimage for months.  In this five-week event beginning in March, twenty-four antebellum mansions, many of them private residences, open their doors to visitors.  Since 1932, when the tradition of  Pilgrimage first began,  Hostesses attired in lavish antebellum costumes have welcomed visitors to tour these homes. In addition, Spring Pilgrimage offers special entertainment. The Historic Natchez Pageant, presented by over 200 local performers of all ages in elaborate costumes, recreates the romanticized eras of old.  Southern Road to Freedom is a stirring musical tribute by the Holy Family Choir to the African-American experience in Natchez from the Colonial period to the present-day; and Southern Exposure is a hilarious spoof on the homes, homeowners, and tourists of Pilgrimage.

It is this shared history of diverse cultures; American Indian, Afro-American and European, which brings history to life, and makes Spring Pilgrimage in Natchez such a unique and memorable experience.

Remembering Black History Month

Posted: February 24th, 2010 by

February is the birthday month for many famous people including four Presidents (George Washington, William Harrison, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan).  February is also Black History Month, an annual observance in the United States honoring African-Americans.  

What began as Negro History Week, in 1926 by Historian Garter G. Woodsen, evolved into Black History Month. In 1976, under the presidency of Jimmy Carter, Negro History Week was expanded to the entire month of February and was designated Black History Month.   

Booker T. Washington

There are a number of National Parks & Historic Sites dedicated to preserving African-American history. These sites are located throughout the United States from Massachusetts to Mississippi and celebrate the achievements of notable African-Americans such as Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver and Martin Luther King Jr. Although most are familiar with these famous Black Americans , there are also sites commemorating less well-known figures.  

William Johnson House, Natchez, Mississippi

Once such site is the Natchez National Historic Park, in Natchez, Mississippi. The William Johnson House was a home and business owned by William Johnson, a free black man, whose diary tells the story of everyday life in antebellum Natchez.  

Armchair travelers may make a virtual visit to Historic Sites dedicated to preserving African-American History here.