Guild working to preserve Vicksburg’s history

Published 12:28 am Sunday, July 2, 2017

Many of you know about the good works happening here because of the year-old Heritage Guild of Vicksburg and Warren County.

If you don’t know about the guild, what it has done and what it wants to get done here, I’m happy to provide that information here.

The guild held its first anniversary luncheon on Wednesday and brought to town former Clarksdale mayor William “Bill” Luckett, who talked about the myriad of historic buildings he has had a part in restoring and rehabbing in that city.

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Luckett, an attorney, is known for his efforts to preserve Delta culture and history, and to use that culture and history to draw tourists and their dollars. He is equally well known as actor Morgan Freeman’s best friend. The two have partnered in several business ventures and together own and operate the Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale.

Luckett’s message, which those who created the Heritage Guild understand well, is that preserving and highlighting our city’s unique history and shining a spotlight on that history, will translate into a bolstered economic and benefit all here.

Luckett reminded those at the luncheon of all the reasons hundreds of thousands of people flock to Vicksburg every year, and shared some ideas about how our community can further highlight our tremendous assets, including Vicksburg’s critical role in the development of the Blues.

In its short year of existence, the Heritage Guild has attracted 80 individuals and businesses, who have joined in its efforts. The guild’s leaders have reached out to community groups and organizations to explain its aim and to get support for its work.

The guild’s mission includes encouraging all, regardless of age and economic ability, to appreciate, support and see the value in the community’s work to preserve its history. It wants all in the community to fight blight and deterioration in the city’s historic neighborhoods.

Joyce Clingan, president of the Heritage Guild, urged others to draw critical attention to properties that need grass cut or are dilapidated and in need of boarding up and a little paint to make them less of an eyesore. She said everyone should feel free to pick up the phone and call the mayor or their alderman or supervisor in the county and report what they see as eyesores in the community.

The work this group is doing will pay dividends for all in Vicksburg. Please consider joining them in their efforts, not only by calling attention to areas of our community that “need some love,” as Clingan put it, but also by joining the Heritage Guild as a member. Dues are only $35 for individuals, $50 for couples and $50 for businesses.

“People are interested in what we have to offer in Mississippi, and in Vicksburg, you probably have more to offer than any city in this state,” Luckett said.

He’s right. Hats off to Joyce Clingan, Dinah Lazor, Carolyn McMillin, Harley Caldwell, Dee Hyland and others in the Heritage Guild for taking the lead to preserve Vicksburg’s rich history and culture.