Meredith, film fest among Black History events

By NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – February will bring several opportunities to dig into Tupelo’s and Mississippi’s rich African-American heritage as part of Black History Month.
James Meredith, the first black student to attend the University of Mississippi, will speak at a 2 p.m. Feb. 22 event at the Lee County Library. His arrival at Ole Miss 50 years ago was a flashpoint in the civil rights movement. Following the talk, there will be a book signing and reception. The event is free and open to the public.
This Saturday, the Soul Food Film Festival will begin at 4 p.m. at St. Paul Christian Life Center in Tupelo. The event will feature the Tupelo Unity Choir and a full-length feature film on Tupelo’s black neighborhoods, “From the Ashes.” The documentary film was written and produced by Peggy James and Brandi Alexander Minor.
Soul food will be served during intermission at the event, which is sponsored by Satin and Silver Productions, Park Hill Neighborhood Association, IMPACT, St. Paul United Methodist Church and AKA. Admission will be $7. For more information, call Nettie Davis at (662) 842-5506 or James at (662) 767-0107.
On Feb. 16, the Natchez Trace Visitor’s Center will host a program “From Prince to Slave to Freedom” at 10 a.m. that follows the story of Prince Abdul-Rahman. In Africa, he was heir to a throne, in Natchez he was purchased as an enslaved person by a cotton and tobacco farmer. He eventually became the overseer of a plantation, was later freed, and returned to Africa.
The speaker will be Robert Bruce Smith, who has presented a number of history program for the Parkway Visitors Center. For more information, visit or call (800) 305-7417.
All month, the Lee County Library is hosting an exhibit on the Utica Normal and Industrial Institute. The traveling exhibit features nine panels that chronicle the founding of the Utica Normal and Industrial Institute for the Training of Colored Young Men and Women by William H. Holtzclaw, the Institute’s principal.
Holtzclaw was a student of Booker T. Washington and the author of “Black Man’s Burden.” He was a Tuskegee graduate.
Teachers can receive a workbook that goes along with the exhibit. Class field trips are welcome. Call Vicky Manning at (662) 841-9027.

Click video to hear audio