Vicksburg honors past contributions during last week of 2017

Published 6:11 pm Monday, January 1, 2018


s the New Year and cold air rolled into the River City, additions to Vicksburg’s past were also made this past week.

On Thursday, a historical marker was unveiled in recognition of the Magnolia Avenue High School on Bowman Avenue.

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Open from 1923 until 1958, Magnolia was the second African American high school in Vicksburg and from 1940 to 1946 it was the only African American high school in Mississippi to be included in a curriculum study performed by the Rockefeller Foundation.

The study focused on 16 African American high schools from throughout the southeast that were selected based on their progressive approach to education. Rosa A. Temple later replaced Magnolia.

“Magnolia laid the foundation for me to succeed as an educator and as a scientist,” Edgar Smith, who graduated from Magnolia in 1951 and served as the master of ceremonies Thursday, said. “My foundation was built here. We had fantastic teachers. I had an interest in science from a very early age. My chemistry teacher here sparked that interest so I went on and I got my doctorate in chemistry and I taught at major medical schools.”

The school was eventually named after J.G.H. Bowman who served as the school’s principal for 38 years and the marker, which is recognized by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, focuses on Bowman’s contributions to the school and the participation in the Rockefeller study.

Also this week, Martha Sue Roberts was honored after serving the city for more than 40 years. Roberts, now secretary for South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour, was honored by the board for her service to the city that spanned the administrations of five mayors and four South Ward aldermen.

Roberts said she did not know of any place else that she could have worked where there was so much diversity.

“We’ve had so many smart people here who have had a vision of what we could be, and Engineers and planners who could make things happen. I don’t think I could have worked any place other than the city and experienced the sense of accomplishment and depth of frustration and then seeing something so that benefits your community so much,” Roberts said, adding, “I have enjoyed my time.”

More positives in Vicksburg:

The Vicksburg Gators snapped their four-game losing streak in a big way Friday night. Ke’Darrion Parson scored 22 of his game-high 24 points in the first half, and the Gators crushed Jefferson County 104-43 at the Jefferson County Christmas Tournament. It was the most points Vicksburg has scored since beating Humphreys County 94-53 in November 2011, and the first time in at least a decade that it has scored more than 100.

Amber Gaston totaled 19 points and four blocked shots, and T.T. Sims had 14 points and four assists as Warren Central pounded Forest Hill 59-29 in the second round of the 2017 JPS Tournament on Wednesday. The Lady Vikes (11-3), the defending tournament champions, advanced to the semifinals Thursday at 10 a.m. against Terry, at Forest Hill High School in South Jackson.