The newest Mississippi Freedom Trail marker, which recognizes the house that served as the local headquarters and home for NAACP president George Metcalfe, was unveiled today at 9 Saint Catherine St. in Natchez. During the 1960s, the house played a pivotal role in the civil rights movement, including serving as a boarding house for civil rights activists.
“While each site on the Mississippi Freedom Trail is an important landmark in Mississippi’s civil rights struggle, this house was a central hub of activity for many men and women who fought for equality during those trying times in our nation’s history,” said Visit Mississippi Director Craig Ray. “We are proud to recognize their efforts and their accomplishments with this Freedom Trail marker, which will serve to keep their story alive while educating its visitors for many generations to come.”
The event included opening remarks from Ward 4 Alderwoman Felicia R. Bridgewater-Irving, musical interludes by various local performers including the Natchez High School Choir, and comments from special guest speaker Daphne R. Chamberlain, Ph.D., an associate professor of History at Tougaloo College.
“Mississippi has a rich civil rights history that has shaped the local and national narrative of the freedom movement,” said Dr. Chamberlain. “The Natchez story is integral to that narrative, illustrating how a tradition of organizing at the grassroots level dismantled Jim Crow and changed Natchez and Mississippi for the better. This Freedom Trail Marker is a preservation of that history and a testament to the dedication of people who sought to make their community a just and equitable place to live for future generations.”
The marker commemorates the efforts of those civil rights activists who used the house to help plan and organize events throughout the 1960s. Despite acts of violence targeting the house and its occupants, activists continued to use the site for their activities, including Freedom Summer of 1964 and as a meeting place for NAACP Field Director Charles Evers.
“The city of Natchez is so excited about finally achieving placement on the Mississippi Freedom Trail. The civil rights history that exists here in Mississippi’s oldest municipality is truly amazing,” said Natchez Mayor Dan M. Gibson.” I am grateful to be where I am, ‘for such a time as this,’ as we work to better tell our whole story. It is important to everyone that this history be told, properly understood, and appreciated.”
Along with the guest speaker and additional remarks from Mayor Gibson and former Mayor Phillip West, the unveiling was attended by Rev. Joseph Logan of Rose Hill Missionary Baptist Church.