They are preserving some historic properties in Jackson and need us to pitch in, not with hammer and saws, but by showing support.
The historic properties are a couple of houses on Cohea Street in the Farish Street District in Jackson. These two houses are significant for many reasons, but primarily because they were purchased and paid off by a freed slave, Mary Green Scott, and her daughter, Virginia and son-in-law John Ford in the 1890s, just a few decades after the Civil War.
And the family didn’t just live here, they operated businesses here, a laundry in a little building out back, next to a chicken yard and a garden.
Mary Scott’s daughter, Virginia, in addition to being a school teacher was a midwife and lived here. Virginia’s granddaughter, Mrs. Ruth Weir, was born in this house.
"My grandmother was a midwife and she delivered a lot of babies next door at 138 East Cohea," said Weir.
Dr. Alferteen Harrison is the President of the organization in charge of restoring the houses of the Scott-Ford House Museum. She says these properties have been designated Mississippi Landmarks and are important paragraphs in the story of former slaves developing their entrepreneurial skills after gaining freedom.
"This project represents the upward mobility of the black middle class after slavery," said Dr. Harrison.
Although much of the area between downtown’s Greenwood Cemetery and Farish Street is being developed right now, these homes are protected by law and were deeded back to the state by the developer. But a lot has to be done before people can start touring them.
There is a bill in the legislature to help funding. Representative Alyce Clarke of Hinds County knows what will help there.
"And if there is anybody out there who listens to this program who were delivered by a midwife you need to let your legislator know," said Rep. Clarke. "This bill needs to be funded."
A lot has come up lately about ‘heritage’ and the preservation of it in Mississippi. Well, these houses represent an important slice of someone’s heritage and the completion of them will Make A Difference to all of us wishing the past to be remembered accurately.
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