City prepares to honor Tommie Lee Williams Sr. with historic marker

Published 7:41 pm Friday, March 6, 2020

In 1972, Tommie Lee Williams Sr. began giving away clothes from a closing local thrift shop.

That act led to the development in 1975 of We Care Community Services Inc., an organization that has provided services ranging from a GED program to summer enrichment programs for youth, job training and housing assistance.

Thursday at 10 a.m., at the intersection of Jackson and Walnut streets, city officials, family members and officials with the Mississippi Department of Archives & History will honor Williams’ memory and his service by unveiling a marker outlining his life.

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“Mr. Williams was a community leader, a community activist, a person who was keenly aware of the impact it made on the community (by) not being able to have a high school diploma, not being able to read and write as it relates to early childhood education and the needs of people who were homeless or needed food,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said.

“He was blind, but yet he saw so much for the needs of our community,” he said. “Because of that, I’m honored to be a part of the celebration of a marker depicting his life and the contributions made to Vicksburg.”

Flaggs said the city paid the cost of the marker honoring Williams.

“This is a significant and memorable milestone for the family,” said Williams’ daughter, Dr. Adena Williams Loston. “Our father impacted the well-being of many individuals, and to have a historic marker to honor his contributions to humanity is phenomenal and humbling.

“On behalf of my mother, Frances Pearline Williams, and the entire Williams family, we are eternally grateful to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Mayor George Flaggs and Aldermen Michael Mayfield and Alex Monsour,” she continued.

A World War II veteran, Williams was a licensed master plumber who led efforts to improve his community, including school breakfast programs, school integration, and sponsoring a Cub Scout pack and block parties for children.

He lost his sight in 1967 but continued working in the community, serving as a member of the Concerned Citizens organization that staged a boycott of downtown merchants in 1972, helping conduct voter registration drives and later overseeing We Care Community Services.

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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