Recently I visited the unincorporated community of Nitta Yuma in the Mississippi Delta. When driving around the town, which is only a few blocks, I came across this abandoned church. I wasn’t able to go inside on the day of my visit but I did come across a video that was posted from someone else’s visit inside the church. (Scroll down to see it).
It looks like it was once a lovely church but it hasn’t stood the test of time. Can’t help but wonder what happened inside these walls and what could have been if it had been cared for and restored.
A sassy little mockingbird had perfect timing as I was taking this photo in Natchez City Cemetery. This is the Andrew Brown Memorial (1789 – 1871). Andrew was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He trained as an architect and migrated to Natchez, by way of Pittsburgh, in 1820. In Natchez, he worked as a builder and established his own lumber business.
I’ve seen a lot of cemetery monuments over the years but I’ve rarely felt as moved by one as I was when I saw this one in Greenville Cemetery in Washington County, Mississippi. This is the gravesite for Senator Leroy Percy and the monument is called “The Patriot”. The Norman knight honors Percy who stood up to the Ku Klux Klan in 1920s Mississippi. Here’s how the story is described in John Barry’s “Rising Tide”: “In 1922 Percy rose to national prominence for confronting the Ku Klux Klan when it attempted to organize members in Washington County during the years of its revival in the South and growth in the Midwest. On March 1, 1922, the Klan planned a recruiting session at the Greenville county courthouse. Percy arrived during a speech by the Klan leader Joseph Camp, who was attacking blacks, Jews, and Catholics. After Camp finished, Percy approached the podium and proceeded to dismantle Camp’s speech to thunderous applause, concluding with the plea, ‘Friends, let this Klan go somewhere else where it will not do the harm that it will in this community. Let them sow dissension in some community less united than is ours.’ After Percy stepped down, an ally of his in the audience rose to put forth a resolution, secretly written by Percy, condemning the Klan. The resolution passed, and Camp ceased his efforts to establish the Klan in Washington County. Percy’s speech and victory drew praise from newspapers around the nation.”
Indianola, Mississippi has been selected by Budget Travel as one of the top 10 Coolest Small Towns in America. That title is, in large part, due to the it’s deep rooted Blues history. B.B. King was born near Indianola and played in public for the first time at the age of 17 at the corner pictured here, known as BB’s Corner. You can visit this corner at Church Street and Second Street in Indianola. Then take a short drive to the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center to learn more about his life and pay your respects at his final resting place, located on the grounds of the center in the city he loved.
“A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.” -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
To me, the South means beauty in unexpected places. Mount Helena, off old Highway 61 in the Mississippi Delta, is a unique Southern home because it sits atop a ceremonial Indian mound. It’s the last thing you expect to see when you’re driving along the flat Delta region. But I think that speaks to the South you encounter day after day. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, something beautiful and unexpected comes into view and you’re reminded why you love calling the South home.