By Kevin Edwards
BC Staff Writer
The Mississippi Historical Society honored recently honored several Bolivar County institutions with Awards of Merit at its annual conference hosted in Cleveland.
“The Award of Merit was established by the Mississippi Historical Society to honor individuals or organizations for their outstanding archival, museum, or historical preservation work,” said Brother Rogers, secretary-treasurer of the MHS. “Organizations in Cleveland and Bolivar County garnered seven Awards of Merit.”
Four museums in the area received awards for promoting the preservation and understanding of the state’s history.
The first recipient was the Martin and Sue King Railroad Heritage Museum, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this past summer and has become a popular visit in Cleveland.
“We’re so proud to have been recognized and we’re proud to be amongst all the other Bolivar County entities that were recognized as well,” said museum director Lisa Miller. “It was just really well represented.”
The Amzie Moore House Museum and Interpretive Center was recognized for outstanding work to memorialize the life and legacy of civil rights leader Amzie Moore.
Bolivar County Supervisor James McBride praised the surrounding community at the most recent Board of Supervisors meeting for protecting the house.
“When we endeavored to do this construction or preserve this place, there were people that made comments that they were going to tear it up or break in and to this day, I want to commend that community,” McBride said.
“Nobody has ever broken into that house. They might walk across the lawn, drive around it, but nobody has ever endeavored to break in there and I want that community to know I appreciate that.”
The Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum was honored for maintaining and telling the story of Delta Chinese.
The Grammy Museum Mississippi was honored for recognition and promotion of the state’s music history through the Mississippi Music Bar and the Mississippi Music Table.
In addition, three awards were distributed for achievements made within the previous year.
Mound Bayou’s Delta Health Center in Mound Bayou was awarded for its Dr. LC Dorsey Community Health Center Museum, which opened last summer.
“With grant funding from the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area, the museum highlights the historical significance as part of the civil rights movement and Freedom Summer and the state of healthcare which at the time was stymied by political opposition from state and local leaders,” said Robin Boyles, chief program planning and development officer of the DHC.
The Delta Arts Alliance was awarded for the renovation and reopening of the historic Ellis Theater, which saw its opening last December.
The Hawkins v. Town of Shaw Project was also awarded.
Hawkins v. Town of Shaw was a class action discrimination case brought by black citizens led by Shaw native Andrew Hawkins against the town’s government alleging lack of equal access to the city’s municipal services.
The project culminated in a play last October during Shaw homecoming weekend and in renaming the stretch of Highway 61 that goes through the town as the Andrew and Mary Lou Hawkins Memorial Highway.