Thursday, September 21, 2023

My article on George Metcalfe is published by


Contributed by: Roscoe Barnes III
Posted Sept. 20, 2023

George Metcalfe
(Courtesy of Ed Pincus Film Collection, Amistad Research Center, New Orleans)

I'm happy to report that my latest article is published by the online encyclopedia, The article presents a well-documented profile of George Metcalfe, a famous civil rights leaders in Natchez during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Metcalfe was the president of the Natchez Branch of the NAACP when his car was bombed on Aug. 27, 1965, by the Ku Klux Klan. He survived the bombing but suffered serious and permanent injuries.

For a look at his story, visit here or follow this link: 


Part 2: MPB Think Radio interview of Frances Jefferson, sister of Anne Moody


Frances Jefferson, sister of Anne Moody, is interviewed by reporter Desare Frazier on Mississippi Edition MPB Think Radio.

Interview begins at 16:30.

Visit this link:


Tuesday, September 19, 2023

MPB Think Radio interview of Frances Jefferson, sister of Anne Moody


Frances Jefferson, sister of Anne Moody, is interviewed by reporter Desare Frazier on Mississippi Edition MPB Think Radio.

Interview begins at 16:26.

Visit this link:

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Natchez Historical Society awarded $2,400 grant by Mississippi Humanities Council

Special for The Natchez Democrat
Published 12:49 pm Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023

Jessica Fleming Crawford, southeast regional director for The Archaeological Conservancy, spoke at the May 23 meeting of the Natchez Historical Society. She talked about an archeological site related to the “Natchez Massacre” and chattel slavery in Natchez. 

NATCHEZ — Mississippi Humanities Council recently awarded a $2,400 grant to the Natchez Historical Society in support of the society’s monthly speakers’ program.

Specifically, the funding will cover the speakers’ honoraria of $2,400, said Alan Wolf, who serves as a director of the society and chair of its program committee. Wolf said that the society’s board of directors is all grateful to the council for the grant.

“It’s an endorsement of the importance and value to the civic life of the NHS’s programming about Natchez’s history,” Wolf said. “The idea is that by understanding the circumstances, people, and issues of our past we can better address the challenges and opportunities of the present.”

In other words, he added, “The award recognizes the NHS’s seriousness of civic purpose.” Wolf said the recent grant application was the first one submitted to the council.

“The Mississippi Humanities Council is excited to support the Natchez Historical Society’s outstanding programming,” said Dr. Stuart Rockoff, executive director of the council. “This year’s series offers speakers on a diverse array of topics that explore the richness and complexity of Natchez history.”

The society was organized in 1954 to collect and disseminate historical material about Natchez and Adams County. The nonprofit is dedicated to the historical study of Natchez and the surrounding area.

Danny Heitman, author of "A Summer of Birds: John James Audubon at Oakley House" (LSU Press, 2008), was the featured speaker at this year’s annual dinner meeting of the Natchez Historical Society.

“The local history spans an exceptionally long timeline from the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians to the present day city atop the high bluffs of the Father of Waters, the mighty Mississippi River,” the society notes on its website. “The contributions of Native Americans, African-Americans, and European settlers, have combined to form a rich local tapestry important to the understanding of the larger regional and national historical record.”
The society meets twice a month at the Historic Natchez Foundation. A formal meeting of its board of directors is held on the second Monday; on the fourth Tuesday, a public forum is held where recognized experts and historians give lectures and lead discussions on diverse topics related to Natchez’s history.
Since the creation of the program, speakers have included authors, university professors, independent scholars, community leaders, and elected officials.
The society also hosts an annual dinner in January that includes a speaker and presentation of its Historic Preservation Award.  The award honors individuals or organizations who have made a significant contribution to historic preservation or the study of history within the Natchez area.   
Read more at:

Monday, September 11, 2023

Stanley Nelson to talk about ’66 murder of Ben Chester White at Sept. 26 meeting of Natchez Historical Society

Nelson will present "Murder on Pretty Creek: New Revelations on an Old Case"

 By Roscoe Barnes III
Natchez, MS, USA /
Sep 11, 2023 | 2:53 p.m.

Stanley Nelson
Author, "Devils Walking" and "Klan of Devils"

NATCHEZ, Miss. – The killing of Ben Chester White, one of the brutal murders that occurred in Natchez during the civil rights movement in the 1960s, will be discussed by Stanley Nelson at the Tuesday, Sept. 26, meeting of the Natchez Historical Society.

The meeting will begin with a social at 5:30 p.m. and Nelson’s presentation at 6 p.m., at the Historic Natchez Foundation at 108 S. Commerce St. The event is free to the public.

Nelson’s presentation is titled, “Murder on Pretty Creek: New Revelations on an Old Case.” It will focus on White, the 67-year-old Black man who was murdered in 1966 by the Ku Klux Klan. Nelson will talk about his alleged killers, two of whom, Ernest Avants and James Lloyd Jones, were charged but not convicted in 1967; and a third one, Claude Fuller, who was never brought to trial.

Nelson said Avants was convicted decades later in federal court and died in prison a short time after his conviction.

“The murder of Ben Chester White is one of the most haunting cases I have ever worked on,” said Nelson. “One Klansman confessed his involvement in the murder and identified the other two Klansmen involved. Yet a jury couldn’t reach a verdict in the confessor’s case because at least two Klansmen were on the jury.”

Nelson is the author of “Devils Walking: Klan Murders Along the Mississippi River in the 1960s (LSU Press, 2016) and “Klans of Devils: The Murder of a black Louisiana Deputy Sheriff” (LSU, 2021). He was the longtime editor of the Concordia Sentinel in Ferriday, La.

“Mr. Nelson has long held a justifiable reputation in Natchez as being as or more effective than the FBI in sleuthing out the terror-network here that was the Klan,” said Alan Wolf, a director of the society and its program chair. “Mr. Nelson promises to be true to form at this important coming presentation.”

The alleged killers reportedly drove to White’s house on June 10, 1966, and lured him away with the promise that they would pay him two dollars to help find a dog. White, according to Nelson, was gentle man, who was known to be kind and even timid when it came to challenging the authority of a white man. He was not active in politics or the civil rights movement.

Nelson reported the story as follows:

After White got into their car, they took him to the Pretty Creek bridge in Homochitto National Forest. The men got out of the car with Fuller grabbing an automatic carbine and Avants, a shotgun. Fuller said to White, “All right, Pop, get out.”

White said, “Oh, Lord, what have I done to deserve this?”

Fuller unloaded 17 rounds into White, and Avant finished him off with a shotgun blast to his head. They threw his body over the bridge and onto the bank of Pretty Creek.

Nelson said the killing was said to be a set-up for another murder: “There also were stories that this was a murder ordered by higher ups in the White Knights to draw Martin Luther King to Natchez in protest where Klansmen would assassinate him. But was this really true? We’ll be sharing never before reported information about this and on other aspects of the case at the NHS meeting.”

The society’s program featuring Nelson is funded in part by a grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council through funding by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

For more information on this NHS event, call 601-492-3000 or send email to

See more here:

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Zion Chapel to celebrate Hiram Revels with bust in his honor

Unveiling set for Saturday, Sept. 30

By Roscoe Barnes III
Natchez, MS, USA /
Sep 6, 2023 | 3:56 PM

Rev. Birdon Mitchell, pastor of Zion Chapel A.M.E. Chapel, said Hiram Revels was a man of many accomplishments. 

NATCHEZ, Miss. – Zion Chapel A.M.E. Church will celebrate the legacy of Hiram Rhodes Revels this month with a bust in his honor created by Bob Willis of Oklahoma. The bust will be unveiled in a ceremony in the church at 1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 30, at 228 N. Dr. M.L. King St.

The Rev. Birdon Mitchell, pastor of Zion Chapel, said he was excited about the opportunity to pay homage to Revels.

“I, along with the Zion Chapel family, am ecstatic that Hiram Revels, a former pastor of our church, the first president of Alcorn College, and the first person of color to serve in the United State Senate,  is being recognized in our community,” he said. “The Lord’s name be praised! I’m truly thankful to all who are involved in making this event possible.”

The unveiling is free to the public. It is, in part, a celebration of Revels’ birthday, according to Norma West, event organizer. Revels was born on Sept. 27, 1827.

A banner featuring Bishop Richard Allen and Hiram Revels is displayed on the second floor of Zion Chapel A.M.E. Chapel.

Revels became the first pastor to serve at Zion Chapel in the 1860s, and in 1870, he became the first African American lawmaker to serve in the United States Congress. Following his time in office, Revels became the first president of Alcorn A&M College, which is now Alcorn State University, in Lorman.

“Hiram Revels is an important national figure, and it is fitting that this bust will be placed at Zion Chapel, from whose pulpit he entered the United States Senate and made history,” said Carter Burns, executive director of Historic Natchez Foundation. “I’m thrilled to see him honored in this way.

Roscoe Barnes III, cultural heritage tourism manager for Visit Natchez, said that he and Visit Natchez are assisting with the event.

"We are proud of Pastor Mitchell and Zion Chapel for honoring Hiram Revels with this important work of art by Bob Willis," he said. "We're asking local residents and visitors alike to come out to this church program and learn more about Revels and his role in Natchez's rich cultural history."

Sculptor Bob Willis was selected by Zion Chapel A.M.E. Church to sculpt the bust of Hiram Revels.
The ceremony will feature music by Tony Fields and presentations by Mitchell, Willis, and Mayor Dan Gibson.

Willis is a retired pastor with a passion for telling stories through his art. His work shows a special interest in Natchez’s history. Over the years, he has sculpted several busts related to Natchez, including one of John Roy Lynch, which he donated to the Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture.

Willis said he appreciates the opportunity to recognize Revels through his work. “It was my honor to sculpt a bust of Hiram Revels, recognizing his faithful service to his community, to our Country, and to our God,” he said.

For more information on the Hiram R. Revels unveiling ceremony, call 601-807-0454.

Bob Willis’ bust of John R. Lynch is on display at the Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture. Lynch was born enslaved in 1847 in Concordia Parish, Louisiana. In 1872, he became the first African American speaker of the Mississippi state house. He also represented Mississippi in the U.S. House of Representatives.

To see this and other stories at, please follow this link:

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Civil Rights Leader George Metcalfe’s Obituary

He was the president of the Natchez branch of the NAACP when he survived an attempted assassination by the KKK. His car was bombed by the Klan on Aug. 27, 1965.

George Metcalfe's obit appeared in the April 27 - May 3, 1989, issue of The Monroe Dispatch
(click on image to enlarge)

I finally have a copy of civil rights leader George Metcalfe’s obituary that appeared in the April 27 – May 3, 1989, issue of The Monroe Dispatch (Monroe, La.). I am grateful to Rebecca Wolfe of Ouachita Parish Public Library for her assistance in making this information available.

I learned of the obit’s publication through In the interest of clarity for the readers of this page, I’m writing it out in the space below.

Homegoing Services for Bro. George Metcalfe

During the integration crisis during the ‘60s, Brother George Metcalfe marched side by side in Mississippi with the Evers Brothers Charles and the late Medgar Evers according to Dispatch sources.

Brother Metcalfe was funeralized in the Peter Rock Baptist Church on Tuesday, April 25, Rev. F. D. Nash officiated. Brother Metcalfe’s homegoing was unexpected Friday, April 21, 1989 at his residence at 2117 Evans Ave.

Bro. Metcalfe leaves to cherish his memories four daughters: Georgia Lue Miller, Lottie Arnold, Bobbie Jean Gilbert, all of Los Angeles, Beatrice Smith, Wisner, La.; one son: Jimmy Metcalfe, Los Angeles, Ca.: 5 sisters: Earnestine Metcalfe, Florence Metcalfe, Martha Harris, of Monroe, La., Bertha Brass, Wisner, La., Barbara Gibson, Los Angeles, Ca.: 10 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.

My article on George Metcalfe is published by

GEORGE METCALFE (1911-1989) Contributed by:  Roscoe Barnes III Posted Sept. 20, 2023 George Metcalfe (Courtesy of Ed Pincus Film Collection,...