Wednesday, September 21, 2022

The Natchez Democrat: Blues expert plans talk Oct. 8 at Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture

Published 4:43 pm Tuesday, September 20, 2022


Scott Barretta
Blues Historian
By ROSCOE BARNES
Special to The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ – Blues historian Scott Barretta is coming to Natchez to talk about the blues. 

Specifically, he will talk about the key people in the city’s blues history in a presentation at 1 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 8, at the Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture.

The free event is a “Coffee and Culture” initiative that is sponsored by the Southwest Mississippi Center for Culture & Learning at Alcorn University, according to Teresa A. Busby, the center’s executive director.

Barrett’s talk, “Natchez’s Rich Blues Tradition,” will focus on musicians, including Papa George Lightfoot, Scott Dunbar, Hezekiah Early and the Ealey brothers, as well as songs about the Rhythm Club fire of1940.

Walter Barnes, the musician who died in the 1940 fire that killed more than 200 people, will also be mentioned, according to Barretta. The legacy of the fire, Barretta said, “was particularly important in terms of the songs that were written in the wake of that terrible tragedy.”

Barretta noted “Barnes himself was very interesting beyond his musicianship, as he was one of the leading journalists for African American entertainment at the time.”

Note: Online version of this story can be viewed on 
The Natchez Democrat website. See it here. 

Barretta is a resident of Greenwood. He is widely known as the host the MPB radio show “Highway 61.” In addition to being a writer and researcher for the Mississippi Blues Trail, he teaches sociology courses about music at the University of Mississippi.

The music connoisseur said he looks forward to a return visit to Natchez, which he first visited in 1999 when he came to Mississippi to edit Living Blues magazine.

“I spent the most time there in 2009-10 when I conducted oral histories of local musicians, including Hezekiah Early and YZ Ealey, for the Mississippi Arts Commission and then wrote up articles on many of the artists for a special Natchez issue of Living Blues,” he said.

Barretta said he helped write and research multiple Mississippi Blues Trail markers in the Natchez area.  “I’m really looking forward to speaking about the artists there, particularly as I’ve never presented these stories in Natchez,” he said.

Speaking of Natchez, Barretta said nothing is as dramatic in Mississippi’s landscape as the bluffs.

“I love how integrated the river is into the cityscape,” he said. “I timed my visit so I could go to the Blues and Soul Super Bowl there. Otherwise, as a historian, I enjoy the fact that so much of Natchez’s long history is evident, and that in recent years there’s been so much attention to the legacy of its African American residents.”

Although much, undoubtedly, will be gained by the presentation, Barretta said, there is one thing about his topic that he hopes the public will grasp: “That Natchez has a rich and distinctive history that mirrors the exceptional nature of the city.”


Monday, September 19, 2022

Lolly Rash to Speak at September Meeting of Natchez Historical Society

She will talk about ‘endangered places’ in Mississippi – and how they can be saved


Lolly Rash, Executive Director
Mississippi Heritage Trust

NATCHEZ, Miss. -- Lolly Rash, executive director of the Mississippi Heritage Trust, will be the featured speaker at the September meeting of the Natchez Historical Society. Rash will talk about endangered historical places in Mississippi.
 
The meeting is set for 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 27, at the Historic Natchez Foundation at 108 S. Commerce St.
 
Rash’s presentation is titled, “Please Don’t Tear It Down - 22 Years of the 10 Most Endangered Historical Places in Mississippi.”
 
According to Alan Wolf, an NHS trustee, Rash has been fighting for Mississippi’s historic treasures for 23 years. She has worked in her current position since 2013.
 
“Since the Mississippi Heritage Trust published the first list of the ‘10 Most Endangered Historic Places in Mississippi’ in 1999, there have been tremendous preservation victories,” Wolf wrote in a recent column in The Natchez Democrat.
 
Wolf listed several places that have been saved: The Cutrer Mansion in Clarksdale, the King Edward Hotel in Jackson, and the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center in Ocean Springs, among others.
 
“They, and the numerous similar ‘saves’ here in Natchez, offer inspiring examples of what can happen when communities come together with a vision of the future and a spirit of cooperation,” Wolf wrote. “Ms. Rash will share stories of endangered places saved, yet to be saved, and lost, and as well discuss the Heritage Trust’s current projects throughout Mississippi.”
 
For more information, send email to info@natchezhistoricalsociety.org.
 


Friday, September 16, 2022

Concord Quarters to host walking tours of archeological research sites

Public invited to witness installation of interpretive panels
 

Students at the Mississippi State University Archaeological Field School conducted research in June 2022 on the grounds of Concord Quarters.

NATCHEZ, Miss. -- Interpretive panels displaying the work of 13 Mississippi State University Archaeological Field School students will be installed during a special program from 10 a.m. to noon Sunday, September 25, at Concord Quarters, announced Debbie Cosey, who co-owns the Concord Quarters Bed and Breakfast with her husband, Gregory Cosey.

Debbie said the event will include a walking tour that will feature critical points throughout the property, which is located at 301 Gayoso St. Specifically, the tour will focus on the excavation sites that revealed the location of the “Big House” or mansion, a kitchen, cistern, and smoke house, among other things.

Concord Quarters is an original free-standing slave quarters built in the 1820s. At one time, the property where it resides was home to three primary buildings, which included a mansion that was built by Natchez Spanish Manuel Gayoso in the 1700s. However, the mansion burned down in 1901, and today, only the slave quarters remain.

Archeological research was conducted on the property in June under the supervision of Dr. Shawn Lambert, professor of Anthropology at Mississippi State University. He and Jessica Crawford, director of the Southeast Division of the Archaeological Conservancy, will be the special guests at Sunday’s installation.

“We are officially an archaeological site, and we now know where various structures and other important things were located,” said Debbie, who noted she was excited about the archaeological dig and the research conducted by the students. It is because of their findings that the panels were created, she said.

“Thanks to them, we now know more about this property,” Debbie said. “We’re free-standing here. We’re all that’s left to interpret this significant history. We now know what we didn’t know before.”

Sunday’s event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

For more information, call 601-493-3018 or send email to concordquarters@gmail.com.






Thursday, September 15, 2022

The Natchez Democrat: Community meeting with chosen designer of U.S. Colored Troops monument set for Oct. 4

#VisitNatchez
#NatchezUSCT

Alcorn State University’s Southwest Mississippi Center for Culture and Learning observed Black History Month with members of the Natchez U.S. Colored Troops Monument Committee. Presenters included, from left, Robert Pernell, chairman of the Natchez U.S. Colored Troops Monument Committee; Teresa Busby, executive director of Southwest MS Center for Culture and Learning; Mayor Dan Gibson; Barney Schoby, U.S. Park Ranger and graduate of ASU; and Deborah Fountain, a genealogist and researcher who chairs the History and Research Subcommittee for the Natchez USCT Monument Committee. Fountain is pictured on the screen in the background.


By ROSCOE BARNES
Special to The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ – The Natchez U.S. Colored Troops Monument Committee will host a public meeting to discuss the design of its proposed USCT monument at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4, at the Natchez Convention Center at 211 Main St.
 
Thomas J. Warren of Warren Studios Inc., who was approved in August as the designer for the monument, will be present to talk about the project and receive questions and comments from the public, according to Committee Chairman Robert Pernell.
 
“As we have said from the beginning, we want to be transparent, but even more, we want to hear from the public,” Pernell said. “We have reached an important milestone with this project, but we still have a ways to go.”
 
Pernell said it is important for the community to be informed, and because it is a community endeavor, the project needs community support, he said.
 
The monument will honor more than 3,000 African American men who served at Fort McPherson during the Civil War. It will be located on the Natchez Bluff, at the corner of Madison and Broadway streets, contingent upon approval of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and the Natchez Preservation Commission.
 
Warren, who is based in Oregon, is a native of Rolling Fork. He was selected to create a conceptual and schematic design for the monument, said Lance Harris, chairman of the Monument Design Subcommittee.
 
“At the end of the project, we will have a conceptual design and schematic design, as well as cost estimation that can be used for fundraising efforts as we get ready for the next phase,” Harris said.

Warren has 36 years of experience working on sculptures and monument designs. A graduate of Mississippi College, he has created 53 public art works in 20 states and Canada. His past works have included monuments of Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers, John Lewis, among other historic figures.
 
For more information on the Natchez USCT Monument Project, visit NatchezUSCTMonument.com. The works of Warren Studios can be viewed at warrensculpture.com.
 

Friday, September 2, 2022

Another Look at John L. Sherrill’s book, ‘They Speak with Other Tongues’

By Roscoe Barnes III, PhD
Author, F.F. Bosworth: The Man Behind “Christ the Healer”
Copyright © 2022
 
#FFBosworth

When you read a book that you haven't read in decades, you tend to see things that you didn't see on your first reading. That happened to me recently when I came across the late John L. Sherill's book, They Speak with Other Tongues (Pyramid Books, 1964). The book is a first-person account of a reporter, John L. Sherill, who set out to investigate the growing phenomenon of speaking in tongues in the early 1960s. In the process of his research, his own life became part of the story he was investigating -- and was transformed when, to his surprise, he began to speak in tongues.

My first reading of this book occurred in the mid-70s, when I was a teenager. At the time, I was a new believer and knew nothing about Pentecostals and charismatics. I was also clueless about the who's who of Pentecostalism and the various names highlighted in the book. There was much, to be honest, that simply did not resonate with me.

Now 45 years later, I am quite familiar with those leaders who spoke with other tongues. Today, as I flip through the pages, I see names and experiences that speak to me in new ways. It's as if I'm reading the book for the first time.

As I pore over the pages, I see a number of stories that stand out. The first one that caught my eye was the connection of Norman Vincent Peale, and his wife, Ruth Stafford Peale’s, connection to the charismatic movement. Norman is known for his bestselling book, The Power of Positive Thinking. He and Ruth also published Guidepost magazine. Sherrill was one of their writers. According to Sherrill, it was Ruth who introduced him to Harald Bredesen. She was genuinely interested in the phenomenon of speaking tongues. She and Norman had sat “spell-bound for two hours” listening to Bredesen’s testimony over dinner. “Well,” she said. “I for one want to know more about it.”

Tongues recognized as Polish

Sherrill initially planned to write a story about the experience, but after meeting Bredesen, he realized the issue was much bigger than an article: it would take a book to do the story justice.
They Speak with Other Tongues recounts numerous cases where the tongues turned out to be actual languages that were understood by people in the audience. For example, when Bredesen received the baptism in the Spirit, he reportedly spoke to an old man in Polish. Bredesen did not know Polish, but the man did, and he tried to talk to Bredesen in that language. The man was surprised to learn later that Bredesen did not know the language.

Another story that stood out to me was the testimony of David J. Du Plessis aka Mr. Pentecost. He was one of many Pentecostal leaders interviewed by Sherrill. In addition to talking to Sherill about tongues, Du Plessis spoke of a car accident that had a profound impact on his life. Said Sherill: “The accident had a profound effect on him, on his ministry, and ultimately on the entire Pentecostal movement.” Du Plessis believed the Lord used the accident, including his injuries, to prepare hm for his global ministry in ecumenism.

Difference between Pentecostals and non-Pentecostals

Du Plessis also shared a colorful story about the difference between those who speak in tongues and those who do not. In a meeting at the headquarters of the Episcopal church, a priest asked, “Mr. du Plessis, are you telling us that you Pentecostals have the truth, and we other churches do not?” Du Plessis prayed for wisdom and responded as follows:
 
    “We both have the truth,” he said. “You know, when my wife and I moved to America we bought a marvelous device called a deep freeze, and there we keep some rather fine Texas beef.
 
    “Now my wife can take one of those steaks out and lay it, froze solid, on the table. It’s steak, all right, no question of that. You and I can sit around and analyze it: we can discuss its lineage, its age, what part of the steer it comes form. We can weigh it and list its nutritive values.
 
    “But if my wife puts that steak on the fire, something different begins to happen. My little boy smells it from way out in the yard and come shouting:
“’Gee, Mom, that smells good! I want some!’
 
    “Gentlemen,” said David, “that is the difference between our ways of handling the same truth. You have yours on ice; we have ours on fire.”

‘Bible days are here again’

Interestingly, a number of striking comments came from unexpected sources. For instance, Dr. Henry Pitney Van Dusen, then-president of Union Theological Seminary in New York, uttered words that were surprisingly similar to the prophecies and claims made by Pentecostal evangelists and scholars. After visiting Pentecostal churches, he concluded: “I do believe that Peter and Barnabas and Paul would find themselves more at home in a good Pentecostal service than in the formalized and ritualized worship of most of our modern churches.”

He further stated: “I have come to feel that the Pentecostal movement with its emphasis upon the Holy Spirit, is more than just another revival. It is a revolution in our day. It is a revolution comparable in importance with the establishment of the original Apostolic Church and with the Protestant Reformation.”

This reminded me of F.F. Bosworth and Gordon Lindsay, and others, who said in their time, “Bible days are here again.” Van Dusen described the movement as "a third, mighty arm of Christendom." He viewed it, writes Sherrill, as "standing boldly alongside the Catholic and Protestant arms. And at the hard center core of this third force was the Pentecostal revival."

Sherill mentions many other names that would be easily recognized by students of church history. He writes about Charles Parham, William Seymour, Paul Walker, Dennis Bennett, Charles W. Conn, Catherine Marshall Lesourd, H.B. Garlock, Larry Christenson, T.J. McCrossan, Howard Ervin, Lydia Maxam, and Demos Shakarian, among others. Speaking of Wilkerson, he said the young preacher prayed in tongues daily to prepare for his ministry on the dangerous streets of New York. Sherill writes of revivals breaking out among students on the campus of Yale University. He also notes the move of the Spirit among Catholics and Lutherans and other groups.

Billy Graham's endorsement

The book includes an endorsement by Billy Graham and other church leaders in the form of a blurb. Graham said, “I believe the time has come to give the Holy Spirit His rightful place in our churches. We need to learn once again what it means to be Baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

Graham was right, and what he said then, is undoubtedly true today. Even though the experience of speaking in tongues is better understood and more popular today than it was in the 1960s, I believe there is much more to learn about the baptism in the Spirit and the gifts that the Spirit bestows on the church.

They Speak with Other Tongues is a good read. It is entertaining, conversational, and inspiring. It uses elements of suspense, dialogue, and colorful descriptions -- the things you’d see in a good novel. It presents its message without preaching. History and theology are covered, but the delivery is not heavy-handed or “in your face.” If you can find a copy that’s still in print, pick it up. Grab a cup of coffee (or tea). Step back in time and enjoy the journey.

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Note: My book, F.F. Bosworth: The Man Behind "Christ the Healer," can be purchased here with a 25% discount. Use the discount code (all caps): BOSWORTH25.
 
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For more information:
Visit the F.F. Bosworth page here. Questions about the research and commentary on F.F. Bosworth may be directed to Roscoe Barnes III, Ph.D., via email at doctorbarnes3@gmail.com or roscoebarnes3@yahoo.com. For updates on F.F. Bosworth history, simply follow this blog or @bosworth_fred and @Roscoebarnes3 on Twitter. #ChristTheHealer #BosworthMention #BosworthMatters

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Members of Natchez civil rights committee visit Bogalusa for unveiling of civil rights marker

Natchez Civil Rights Trail Committee members Roscoe Barnes III, left, and Robert Pernell, far right, recently visited Bogalusa, La., for the unveiling of a civil rights trail marker by Louisiana Lieutenant Gov. Billy Nungesser.

BOGALUSA, La. -- Natchez Civil Rights Trail Committee members Roscoe Barnes III and Robert Pernell recently visited Bogalusa, La., for the unveiling of a civil rights trail marker at the Robert “Bob” Hicks house. The event was held by Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser and the Louisiana Office of tourism.

Bogalusa, a city in Washington Parish, played an important role in the fight for freedom and justice, according to Barnes. Hick’s house served as a command center for the Deacons and other groups in the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

While visiting the small Louisiana community, Barnes and Pernell met with the city’s mayor and former civil rights activists, including one of the oldest living Deacons, who was 97. They also spoke with the lieutenant governor about Natchez’s listing on the Mississippi Freedom Trail.

“When we mentioned our plans for an unveiling before the year is out, the lieutenant
 governor handed us his business card and said, ‘Be sure to invite me,’” Barnes reported.

“It was important for us to meet the local citizens, the civil rights workers, and the elected officials of Louisiana,” said Pernell. “Their ceremony was amazing and well-attended. We wanted to see how they managed this special event. At the same time, we wanted to invite them to join us for the dedication of our Freedom Trail marker later this year.”

Monday, August 29, 2022

Mississippi Native Thomas J. Warren Picked to Design Natchez U.S. Colored Troops Monument

Agreement supported by Natchez Board of Aldermen
 
#NatchezUSCT

Thomas J. Warren
Warren Sculpture Studios Inc
.

NATCHEZ, Miss. – The Natchez U.S. Colored Troops Monument Committee has chosen Rolling Forks native Thomas J. Warren of Warren Sculpture Studios Inc., in Rogue River, Oregon, to lead the design phase of its monument project.
 
Warren, who has 36 years of experience working on sculptures and monument designs, said he welcomes the opportunity to work on the Natchez project.
 
“I am very excited about working on the Natchez U.S. Colored Troops Monument design,” he said Thursday. “I can’t wait to get back to my home state of Mississippi to visit with the community and stakeholders to learn what they want to see in this important monument to American heroes.”
 
Warren will soon visit Natchez as part of his research. He will meet with supporters and others with a vested interest in the project. He will, among other things, create a conceptual and schematic design for the monument, according to Robert Pernell, chairman of the Natchez USCT Monument Committee.
 
Pernell said the selection of Warren is another major step in the committee’s progress to honor more than 3,000 African American men who served at Fort McPherson during the Civil War.
 
“We’re getting closer and closer to our goal,” Pernell said. “We’re sharing this recent news so that we can keep the public, our supporters, and elected officials informed of our progress. Our aim is to be transparent.”
 
The committee’s selection of Warren received support Tuesday, Aug. 23, from the Natchez Board of Aldermen, following a presentation by Pernell and Lance Harris, chairman of the Monument Design Subcommittee.
 
Speaking after the meeting, Harris said that he and members of his subcommittee are happy that the full committee, including the city of Natchez, support working with Warren Studios. “I’m excited to begin work on this first phase of this project,” he said.
 
Harris explained that at the end of the project, “we will have a conceptual design and schematic design, as well as cost estimation that can be used for fundraising efforts as we get ready for the next phase.”
 
Mayor Dan Gibson said he was impressed by Warren’s previous work.
 
“We are so pleased by the unanimous selection of this outstanding Mississippi artisan,” he said. “Mr. Warren’s portfolio of past projects speaks to his talent and passion, especially in the area of celebrating the African American history of our country. This will be a monument all can take pride in.”
 
Warren is a graduate of Mississippi College. He has created 53 public art works in 20 states and Canada. His past works have included monuments of Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers, John Lewis, among other historic figures.
 
Earlier this year, the committee chose the Natchez Bluff, at the corner of Madison and Broadway streets, as the site for the proposed USCT monument.
 
In a unanimous vote in March, the Natchez Board of Aldermen approved the location contingent upon approval of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and the Natchez Preservation Commission.
 
Pernell, who formerly chaired the committee for the Parchman Ordeal monument, said he is grateful to his subcommittees and chairs who have worked hard on the USCT Monument Project. “I am proud of them, and I appreciate their contributions, which have allowed us to reach this phase of the project,” he said.
 
A community meeting on the monument design will be held sometime between the end of September and the beginning of October, according to Harris.
 
For more information on the Natchez USCT Monument Project, visit NatchezUSCTMonument.com. The works of Warren Studios can be viewed at warrensculpture.com.

The Natchez Democrat: Blues expert plans talk Oct. 8 at Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture

Published 4:43 pm Tuesday, September 20, 2022 By  Staff Reports Scott Barretta Blues Historian By ROSCOE BARNES Special to The Natchez Democ...