It has been seventy-one years and what is known to us as the Rhythm Night Club Fire (The Natchez Burning), is still having a meaningful effect on the Natchez community as well as the Nation. This tragedy took the lives of over two hundred souls from the Black community of Natchez and impacted the lives of all Natchez residents as well as the music world of the nation. An event of social entertainment transformed into an event of horror and grief in a matter of minutes. A city, a nation, left in shock by the swiftness of this disaster that has taken so many away in the prime of their lives.
April 23, 1940, is not a day of celebration but a day of mourning for the families, friends, and employers, of those who lost their lives. The remembering of People, members of our community who simply went out for entertainment and some never returned. The indirect gift that they have given us through the changing of fire codes to prevent this type of tragedy from happening again. A time of remembering that tragedy is not dictated by us and the time and place are not foretold in advance.
To get the full story I would advise all who visit Natchez to take the time and visit the Rhythm Night Club Memorial Museum # 5 ST. Catherine Street Natchez Ms. Located at the actual site of the club and offers a very detailed account of this tragedy.