Mississippi Strong: Suzi Altman - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Mississippi Strong: Suzi Altman

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Soiurce: WLBT Soiurce: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
VICKSBURG, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Suzi Altman was fascinated by the folk architecture at Margaret’s Grocery in Vicksburg and has watched it deteriorate over time and wants to do something about it and has put action to her wishes.

Let's start off by going back a quarter of a century to when I first visited Margaret’s Grocery. Not only me but people from all over the world stopped here, attracted by Reverend Dennis’ unique architecture. He turned a rather plain old store into what he told Margaret would be a palace if she would marry him. She married him but not because of the palace promise.

"I married him because I loved him," said Margaret.

And Preacher, as he was affectionately known, took the opportunity to preach to pretty much everyone who stopped in, attracted by its towering spires and quirky colors.

"So many people has got good gifts. Now I want y’all to understand me. But they don’t know what their purpose is for," said Rev. Dennis

Now fast forward to today. The one-time palace has fallen into ruin. But fortunately, someone who ‘knows what her purpose is for’ has stepped forward to try to preserve the place.

Suzi Altman knew both Margaret and the Preacher and promised them she would see to it the Preacher’s Palace wasn’t lost. And it shouldn’t be lost.

It’s a very important environment," said Suzi. "It’s been written about by everyone from William Arnet to National Geographic. Margaret’s Grocery is a Southern Vernacular folk art environment that’s a Mississippi Folk Art treasure. Margaret passed away in 2009 and she was a pretty smart lady. She was the first African American store owner on highway 61. Preacher died in 2012 and in 2013 we founded the Mississippi Folk Art Foundation to protect this."

Suzi says her foundation will go farther than just restoring the building, but will work in the community, too.

It’s important for the local community to embrace what’s there, to have civic pride in the creations that are here," added Suzi. "People from around the world came to visit Margaret’s Grocery where it sat. So why wouldn’t more people come to visit when it’s all fixed up.

And because Suzi Altman decided to be Mississippi Strong, Margaret’s Grocery may yet live again and once again attract visitors the way it used to and maybe boost the economy in its neighborhood in Vicksburg.

There is a Facebook Page and a Go Fund Me account where we can help.

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