This film is a long time coming -- 'American Reckoning is a riveting account of the efforts of Ser Seshsh and the other Black activists in Natchez, MS in the mid-1960s.
They are at it again, the great white hope Mayor of Natchez and staff at Natchez Tourism Agency who just got to Natchez trying to take credit for making the Forks of Roads enslavement market preservation their efforts and having the help of plantation Natchez Collaboration Blacks!
None of the speakers in this article had a damn thing to do with the successful bringing of the chattel slavery selling markets history and preservation of the land that my person spent 26 years to bring to fruition as a National Park Service Park! The speakers in this article have stated several items that are not true because they are coping narrative from earlier sources as late back as 1999 that is wrong. This is the second public display of the present mayor of Natchez aimed at co- opting the years of work my person, with the help of others, did to bring the Forks of the Roads history and sites From Forgotten to a National Park Service Park! This is the theme we just had printed on $5,000 + worth of commemorative T-shirts that will given to the people who helped me be successful in my equal history campaign to preserve the Forks into a National Park Service Park! This Mayor will not be one!
Former Mississippi State House Phillip West and retired Mississippi Department of Archives History Natchez Director Jim Barnett and Former Hank Smith and that Board of Alderpersons will be among the hundreds of persons awarded a Forks of the Roads Commemorative T shirt later this year! It was the two of them who proposed the action to have the City of Natchez apply for special Mississippi State Legislators one time funds to buy property at the Forks and hold for the Park Service! The current Natchez Mayor in office in less than two years had nothing to do with it! Look how he’s been lying and pulling publicity stunts backed upon by lying collaborators! My person got calls the first thing this Monday morning from folks in Jackson stating how angry they are that they did not see my picture in some event at the Forks in June of 2021, when the MDAH grant paid for property that was bought from Cliff McCarstlein 2001, was finally conveyed to the National Park Service as I intended it to be back in my 1995 start to push for. Told them that my person was up at the other end of street at that Juneteenth 2021 event with a huge sign picketing and protesting the great white hope’s dog and pony show aimed at stealing credit for the Forks of the Roads successful being brought from forgotten to a National Park Service Park! Told them put their outrage in writing and send it to me!
It is time to share the lying rascals and credit taking thrives with the audiences and persons who know who did what and who didn’t! Also it’s time that the enslaved persons selling markets locations in Natchez downtown and Under the Hill be noted with historical markers showing that Natchez proper was a “slave” selling market before the long distance America domestic enslaved persons trading from the upper south to Natchez were banned from doing so by ordinance effective April 27, 1833. But in town local dealers continued until Union army occupied Natchez on Julyteenth, July 13, 1863. Wait until ya see that many, many enslaves of Natchez were forced taken out to Texas to keep them from self emancipating (runaway) to Emancipation proclamation freedom behind Union lines. Many, many of them were not returned from Texas until 1866!...Yes still enslaved in Texas way after Galveston Texas Juneteenth! Ya don’t hear these lying rascals saying a damn thing about the real Natchez Mississippi was America’s domestic enslavement market city destination. Roscoe Barnes and Davin Heath ya pants are down and...?? https://www.newsbreak.com/news/2514669303770/forks-in-the-road-second-largest-domestic-slave-market-in-the-deep-south
Oooooooooooooooweweeeeeeeeee! Look what Chris Goodwin and Joecephus Martin has done with our Black and Blue Civil War Living History Programs introduction for the world to see! Not what my person envisioned back in 2020 due Covid interruptions of our 13th Annual program! But mi is so grateful for the way the Ancestors has touched us all who were helping to bring our work of redemption for enslaves’ Africans descendants of the Mississippi River Valley who when the right time came in 1863 carried out what Professor Ed Baptist called “The greatest slave rebellion in the history of America!” They struck a decisive blow for their own freedom, the freedom of other enslaves and saving the Union of the United States! This made it possible for the first mass civil rights benefits for Africans in America per the 13-14-15 amendments to the U. S. Constitution! Asheoooooooooo!
Award Winning Ser Seshsh Ab Heter-Clifford M. Boxley, Masters Regional and Urban Planner, San Jose State University
Ser accepted the award on behalf of all folks who expressed interests in and participated in helping for 26 years, to achieve equal history commemorations via bringing the Forks of the Roads enslavement markets sites from forgotten to a National Park Site.
THE NEW YORK TIMES
How a Slave Market Became a National Park Service Site
When driving through Natchez, Miss., it is easy to overlook Forks of the Road. But from 1833 to 1863, it was among the largest slave markets in America.
By Brishette Mendoza
July 3, 2021
NATCHEZ, Miss. — When driving through Natchez, Miss., a town popular with tourists, it is easy to overlook an awkwardly shaped patch of land, only modestly marked by a few signs, free-standing exhibits and shackles cemented in the ground.
But from 1833 to 1863, the land, Forks of the Road, was among the largest slave markets in America. And now, local historians, residents and officials are celebrating its recognition as a new national historical park site.
Once long forgotten by many outside the region, Forks of the Road was where tens of thousands of enslaved men, women and children were taken to work in homes and plantations. The domestic slave trade was such a central feature of the nation’s economy, and it made millionaires out of many Natchez residents.
In an emotional ceremony late last month in which the city donated nearly three acres of land to the National Park Service, officials unveiled a large National Park Service sign that now marks the acknowledgment that residents and many outside the region said was a long time coming: “Forks of the Road, Natchez National Historical Park.”
“History is not always pleasant, but it’s important that history be told, all of it,” and particularly in this moment in America, said Dan Gibson, the mayor of Natchez. He was elected in July 2020, as thousands of people were marching in streets across the nation to protest systemic racism and police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.
“It’s a sad story,” he said of the history of Forks of the Road. “And I think for many years, there are some who would have been satisfied to see that story forgotten. But how can you forget it?”
Many of the descendants of those once enslaved in Natchez — a majority-African American city of about 14,600 residents — still live in the area, Mr. Gibson said, and deserve to have their contributions to the history of Natchez finally recognized.
A federal law passed in 2017 authorized the Natchez National Historical Park, an 18.5-acre site, to preserve and interpret the Forks of the Road plot, and there are plans to build an educational visitor center and a memorial or monument.
In his keynote speech at the June 18 ceremony, the day after President Biden signed legislation making Juneteenth a federal holiday, Senator Roger Wicker, Republican of Mississippi, acknowledged that the country had been the “the greatest experiment in democracy and freedom that’s ever been known around the globe. But it’s also been a work in progress.”
He noted the irony of the historical street names that bound the location of the Forks of the Road — at the corner of Liberty and Washington. “I wonder if it dawned on the people participating there, what was done,” he said.
Kathleen Bond, the superintendent for the Natchez National Historical Park, oversaw a study that paved the way for congressional support of the site. Its significance, she said, is “an opportunity to tell the truth.”
“I’m a great believer in paradox, that you can hold things that seem contradictory, but you don’t have the truth unless you’ve got the whole, all the sides of it,” Ms. Bond said. “I mean, you can’t be here in Natchez without seeing the beautiful architecture and the beautiful furnishings that remain, after more than 150 years. But that was a beauty that was built on an atrocity of violence and suffering and torture.”
Residents agree that this milestone was reached because local historians saw an opportunity and worked diligently to ensure its reality.
For more than two decades, Ser Seshsh Ab Heter-CM Boxley, plus the Friends of the Forks of the Road Society Inc., lobbied for the preservation of the site and a new, more complete telling of its history, which includes remembering its role in the Civil War.
During the war, Colored Troops soldiers serving at Fort McPherson, the Union’s post in Natchez, leveled the Forks of the Road and used lumber from the slave pens to fortify its holding.
Ser Boxley, who was raised in Natchez but then lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for 35 years after high school, observed upon his return in 1995 that the city’s tourism industry made it look as if white people had done “everything all by themselves.”
“I decided that I needed to do something,” he said. So he looked for a site “that spoke to a people’s history.” The Forks of the Road was that site.
Its significance is not limited to Black people, he said, but is part of a more complete telling of the region’s history.
Mayor Gibson agreed.
“It doesn’t mean we stop telling the story that’s been told here for so many years, about the Natchez Indians, about the French, about the Spanish, about the English and the Americans,” he said. “All of that’s important, but it is also time to make sure we’re telling the story that is the African American history of our community.”
“I think this will build more unity here, but it will also bring more tourists here,” he continued. “And it will also give people a sense of belonging that I believe is long overdue.”
Natchez has long been a tourist attraction, with its views of the Mississippi River and opulent mansions, but visitors crave the full story of the town. And the community “wants to tell that story,” said Devin Heath, the executive director of Visit Natchez.
“How do we go forward together as one community?” he said, adding that the descendants of the owners of the antebellum mansions weren’t the ones who owned those who were enslaved, “they’re telling the story of the home.”
“Several of them have reached out to me and said, ‘We want to be a part of telling the complete story, we just need the resources and support,’” Mr. Heath said. “And so what we’re doing is trying to create that kind of environment where they’ll have that information.”
Felicia Bridgewater-Irving, a city alderwoman who lives close to the site and whose district includes Forks of the Road, said she often sees visitors there. “If you ever visit there,” she said, “you’re emotionally filled with what has taken place.”
Acknowledging that history, she said, makes it easier to move forward.
Her colleague, Valencia Hall, a city alderwoman who grew up in Natchez during the Jim Crow South and whose ancestors include Colored Troops there, said she was very proud to see Forks of the Road become a National Park Service site.
“It tells us how far we have come in race relations,” she said, showing a way “to honor one another as human beings, as people with humanity, with dignity and honor.”
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Watch this new video featuring Ser Seshsh Ab-Heter Boxley talking about his exhibit, "Americas Domestic Slave Trade Hub at Natchez Forks of the Road". The exhibit is currently at the Natchez, Mississippi Visitors Center.
Ser Seshsh Ab Heter-Clifford M. Boxley returned to his hometown of Natchez , Mississippi in 1995 after living in the San Francisco Bay area for 35 years. He chose America's domestic "slave" trade's Forks of the Road "slave" market site in the city of Natchez as an "Equal History Commemoration Equalizer", both locally and nationally.
Ser's Equal History Campaign's main objective is to over come the way whites people have preserved, presented and interpreted history so as to make it look like they accomplished all community developments "all by themselves".
Equal history is a human right that the modern civil rights movement failed to address.
European descendants invaded the land of the Natchez Indians in the early 1700s. In 1716, they established a city named after the Natchez Nation. After basically destroying the Natchez people, chattel slavery was at the center of development for the city of Natchez. This part of Mississippi was also where ultimately, enslaved African Americans ultimately "freed themselves" after the Emancipation Proclamation made it legal to do so.
CLICK to read about the Friends of the Forks of the Road Society's campaign for equal history and tourism development in the deep south.
Visit our News page for information about upcoming events and the Equal History movement in the news.
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