NAPAC Featured in Ms Humanities Newsletter

NAPAC Featured in Ms Humanities Newsletter

MHC Outreach: Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture


MHC Outreach: Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture
Our American Rescue Plan grant rounds have ended and award packets have been dispersed to 51 different cultural organizations across the state. One institution awarded funding is the Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture.
The Museum was organized by the Natchez Association for the Preservation of African American Culture and opened in 1991. The Museum was an idea cultivated and manifested by a group of phenomenal black women led by Mary Lee Toles. This group, along with others, understood the rich history of Black people in Natchez and the importance of preserving that heritage. As a result, the Museum’s goal was not just to tell the stories of African Americans who made Natchez what it is today but also to safeguard artifacts that aid in that storytelling.
New Executive Director Bobby Dennis (pictured above with MHC outreach & program officer John Spann) is eager to continue that legacy of preservation and truth-telling. With ARP grant funds and continued partnership from the Mississippi Humanities Council, he plans to update exhibits, bring in more technology, and acquire different means to preserve and display artifacts. As COVID-19 case numbers subside, he hopes to offer more in-person programming to continue uplifting the stories of the Black people of Natchez.
“The museum’s slogan is, ‘We exist to tell our story,’” says Dennis. “Those words are both accurate and fitting for the museum because it does have a story to tell.”
From the slavery experience to the life and work of acclaimed literary figure Richard Wright, along with unsung histories like the Rhythm Night Club Fire and Dr. John Banks, the first African American doctor in Natchez, the museum shines a light on the contributions of African Americans to the growth of Natchez and the nation. MHC’s continued partnership with the Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture will help bring more of these unsung stories to light, enriching visitors’ knowledge of Natchez as a whole.



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