3 on the Road: Forks of the Road - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

3 on the Road: Forks of the Road

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
NATCHEZ, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Evidently, this is the time for Mississippi to come to grips with its past, with the opening of the frank and honest Civil Rights Museum in Jackson. And in Natchez, an insightful display at the Visitors Center about the Forks of the Roads slave market.

The site of the infamous Forks of the Road slave market is modestly marked at the intersection of St. Catherin and East Franklin in Natchez. In the early to mid-1800s, the slave trade migrated here from downtown, about a mile away, for fear of cholera.

If you’ve never stopped by here to read the story of the market then you have a more convenient location to find out all about it right now, at the Visitors Center by the Mississippi River Bridge in Natchez.

Ser Seshs Ab Heter-Boxley has made resurrecting of the story of the Forks of the Road his life’s mission.  There was a lot of antebellum history interpreted in Natchez 25 years ago, here, but it was pretty one-sided.

Seeing little to nothing that honored the enslaved people, Ser Boxley discovered this site.

"I chose that site, the Forks of the Road as an equalizer," said Ser Boxley.

And it’s not that Ser Boxley isn’t the kind of in-your-face person who doesn’t mind a bit of controversy, but just stirring things up wasn’t his prime goal in wanting this place where humans were trafficked to be recognized and acknowledged. And to him, it doesn’t have so much to do with us today, but with “they” who came through here, not of their own accord.

"We have to take a stand and do what we call reparations for our ancestors," added Ser Boxley. "Ancestors say, well who’s going to tell our story?"

A lady stopped at the Forks of the Roads display one day for some reason, started reading what happened here and was moved when she realized these weren’t some nebulous non-entities that were sold here, but people. Like you are and like I am.

"And she comes up with the understanding that she’s standing on sacred ground," said Ser Boxley. "And she said I’m going to start coming back here often and bringing flowers and what have you." 

So what’s the point for Ser Boxley of doing all of this? It gives humanity to an enslaved people and forces us to face the past. So is that what we should be taking away from seeing this?

"I can’t say exactly what’s the take away except that, Hey! To the Ancestors? I’ve gotten your story out," said Ser Boxley.

The Forks of the Road display will be at the Natchez Visitors Center until April 15.

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