Researching the stories of Natchez

Researching the stories of Natchez

Local author Beverly Adams , David Dreyer, Ismall Alli, and Canadian Author/Story teller  Rukhsane Khan speaks on researching the African Prince Ibrahima

Researching the stories of Natchez

Since re-opening the Natchez Museum of African American Culture after the easing of Covid 19 the interest in the contributions of the African American Society that help establish and shape this community has grown tremendously.

With the help of Visitnatchez.org, and through a grant provided by Mississippi Humanities Council, the Museum has been able to extend its reach through advertising, educational programming, and exhibits that depict the culture of the African Americans through their role in the development of Natchez as a Freeman, Slave, and Freedman. Our work with Natchez Historic Society, The National Park Service, and most importantly the local citizens of our community has enabled us to give a more complete story of the vital role the African American has played in the development of our city.

Being able to see the benefits of our work to preserve the sacrifices and contributions of African Americans in the

development of Natchez is coming more prevalent. The exposure of our website (www.visitnapac.net), along with video interviews in relevant venues has begun to give measurable data that informs us of our contributions to the Natchez community, and tourism through the distribution of stories of the life of people of slavery, reconstruction, civil rights, and today.

Over the past six months, I have fielded calls from researchers, descendants, and inquisitive readers, seeking information on African American families from colonization through civil rights. Over half of these callers have scheduled or are planning to visit our city to experience and learn more about what they have read or heard. One such caller was Rukhsane Khan a children’s book writer and storyteller from Toronto Canada. She and her son Ismall Alli has just completed a week’s stay here researching and putting the final touches to her new book on Ibrahima. To have an internationally acclaimed author visit Natchez and the Museum seeking the people’s side of the Ibrahima story speaks volumes of what we have to offer visitors from all countries.

Natchez, the oldest settlement on the Mississippi, developed through three main talked-about cultures, French, English, and Spanish. In doing so, we forget to mention the African culture that was brought along with them. Those that came of free will, as well as those that were taken and enslaved, with each having skills and talents which has contributed to the building of this city. We here at the Natchez Museum of African American Culture are proud to be preservers of their stories, letting our visitors see us through the eyes of those who lived it. Horrors, sacrifices, and accomplishments, are all a part of the stories but through it all, we show relationships being built to continue to carry this community forward.

Today is tomorrow’s history and we write as we want to be told. @BobbyLDennis

 

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