Annex building will be renamed

Published 8:02 pm Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Jan. 21, Vicksburg’s City Hall Annex will be getting a new name.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen Monday approved a resolution to rename the building on Walnut Street the Robert M. Walker Annex Building after the city’s first elected African American mayor.

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“I don’t know of any other person who is worthy of (being) the first to have a building named after him, for what he has done not only for the state of Mississippi but also for the city of Vicksburg,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said.

He said the dedication ceremony for the building is Jan. 21 at 11:30 a.m.

Flaggs said he plans to name other city buildings after people who have had an impact “on the quality of life and the progress of this city,” adding the next honoree will be Dr. Briggs Hopson.

“I’m honored for the city to make that designation. I’m just elated,” Walker said. “This is a once in a lifetime thing for just a few people, so I’m really appreciative of the city officials for their action. Obviously, I was put in that position by the people of Vicksburg, and so I’m very appreciative of them for making this possible.”

Walker a history maker

Walker won a special election in 1988 to fill the unexpired term of Demery Grubbs, who left the city to work for the Mississippi Municipal League. He won a full term as mayor from 1989-1993, and served as mayor again from 1997-2001.

He was elected to two terms on the Warren County Board of Supervisors in 1984 and 1988, and resigned his seat on the Board of Supervisors in 1988 to run for mayor.

According to the board’s resolution, Walker was appointed an assistant secretary of state for elections in 1995, was vice chairman and chairman of the Mississippi Library Commission and appointed to a special statewide task force on elections by then-Lt. Gov. Ronnie Musgrove.

He also served as a field secretary for the NAACP for five years and was co-founder and coordinator of the Mississippi Legal Services Coalition for four years. He was chief administrator for Jackson Mayor Frank Melton, and served as interim athletic director at Jackson State University.

Initially known as the Neil Building, the one-story annex at South and Walnut streets was bought by the city in 1995 for additional office space.

It presently houses the city’s local access television station, VTV; the boardroom for the Board of Mayor and Aldermen; the city’s IT department; city purchasing; Vicksburg Senior Center; Intercity Youth Program and an office for the city’s legal department.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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