Myriad activities planned for four-day event|[06/18/08]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Happiness truly is ‘coming home.’ And that is the theme of the 33rd annual Vicksburg Homecoming, a four-day event beginning here July 3.

The festivities officially begin with a big kickoff social at the Elks Fidelity Lodge, 916 Walnut St. at 8 p.m. But prior to that there will be the Rosa A. Temple High School mural dedication at Vicksburg Junior High School auditorium, 1533 Baldwin Ferry Road.

For July Fourth, a wine and cheese hour is set for 8 p.m. at the Vicksburg Convention Center, 1600 Mulberry St., exhibit hall A. Following that, there will be a get-acquainted social beginning at 9 p.m. with entertainment by D.J. ‘Big Pappa.’ There will be a cash bar, and those attending must have a package-event ticket.

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On July 5, the Rowan Sanders/Harry Powell Memorial Golf tournament is set to begin at 9 a.m. at the Clear Creek Golf Course at Bovina. A presidents’ meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. at L.D’s Kitchen #2, 2600 Halls Ferry Road.

The annual Scholarship Dinner-Dance Banquet will be at the Vicksburg Convention Center Exhibit Hall B. Dinner is to be served from 7 to 8 p.m. only. Entertainment will be by Big Pappa.

A farewell worship service is set for Sunday at the Holiday Inn Express, 4330 S. Frontage Road, bringing to a close the 33rd Homecoming events. There will be a continental breakfast at the inn.

A donation of $30 per person is asked and will cover all homecoming activities.

For additional information, call 601-634-0163, 601-415-7540 or 601-636-2588. Or e-mail

A historyIt all began in the mid-1970s. Booker T. Wilson of Washington, D.C., and Richard Dorsey of Atlanta, Ga., were attending the Dorsey’s family reunion. The two former residents of Vicksburg began to envision how wonderful it would be to get together with former residents who lived in other parts of the country. The idea of a reunion to renew old acquaintances as well as to raise funds to help the less fortunate in the city they call home was the main topic of the two friends.Wilson made the idea a reality by meeting with local citizens. Together they devised a plan of action and followed through with the first funds given by Wilson toward expenses. In 1975, the plan gave birth to the organization known as “The Vicksburg Homecoming Benevolent Club.” In 1987, club president Willie Glasper submitted the request for the club’s charter status and V.H.B.C. became incorporated the same year.In 1974 and 1975, the first group of local residents to meet with Wilson to organize the club were Florine Beacham, Georgia Dent, Athenia Jefferson, Beulah Lockett, Thelma J. Watson and Theresa P. Williams.The group went into the community and solicited support from other citizens to assist with the plan for the new organization. The workers were divided into 10 teams with captains to direct and supervise ticket sales, as well as plan activities for the annual event.

Former presidents of the group were Georgia Dent, John Ferguson, George Flaggs, and presently Willie Glasper, Sr.Since the inception of the V.H.B.C., in addition to reuniting friends and loved ones at homecoming events, the Vicksburg club’s benevolent contributions have exceeded $75,000 in aid to fire victims, burial assistance, utility payment assistance, as well as medical needs and rent payment assistance. Now three active chapters – the Chicago Metropolitan Area Chapter, established in 1984 under the leadership of Edna Parks Robertson; The Greater Los Angeles Area Chapter, established in 1985 under the leadership of Daisy Stewart; and the Las Vegas Chapter, established in 1991 under the leadership of Jack Fuller.Scholarships to deserving young students have been one of the highlights of the annual event. Through the contributions of the three chapters the V.H.B.C. has contributed over $100,000 in scholarship funds to area students.The founder, Booker T. Wilson, remains dedicated and loyal to his vision. Today member chapters and community supporters continue to show their loyalty and dedication to the organization and its founder. The Vicksburg Homecoming Benevolent Club is blessed to have the support of the Vicksburg/Warren County community. The motto says it all:”Happiness is… Coming Home!”Willie Glasper