Warren County Supervisors award $50,000 in ARPA funds, deny seven other requests

Published 4:03 pm Tuesday, October 18, 2022

The Warren County Board of Supervisors voted on Monday to award $50,000 in American Relief Plan Act (ARPA) funds to the Jacqueline House African American Museum.

The museum, located at 1325 Main St. in Vicksburg, is open by appointment only and is the city’s only museum for the exclusive study of the history and culture of people of African descent in the Vicksburg and Warren County area. The collection of over 20,000 items has material in all formats: Photographs, books, manuscripts, music, posters, newspapers and rare ephemera.

In addition, the collections house selected artifacts, including items dating back to the slave period.

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The Board of Supervisors also voted to send seven letters of regret to community sponsors who had requested the following amounts:

  • Beulah Cemetery Restoration Committee, $8,000
  • Hope and A Future Youth Mentoring and Ministry, $100,000 
  • King of Kings Christian Center, $200,000
  • King of Kings Christian Center, $250,000
  • Selby’s Tutoring Services, $21,000
  • Total Praise Ministries, $283,000
  • Turner Speech and Language Services, LLC, $30,000

District 3 Supervisor Shawn Jackson was the sole Nay vote against denying Beulah Cemetery Restoration Committee’s request for funding, stating that the cemetery’s historic significance as an African American burial place warranted the request.

“I don’t feel comfortable with Beulah being rejected. Beulah was the only place where African Americans could be interred, and I think they may have really critical needs,” Jackson said, adding that she’d prefer to remove them from the list for further discussion.

District 2 Supervisor William Banks voiced his support for denying the use of ARPA funds for the cemetery on the grounds that the county already supports the cemetery in-kind through regular maintenance and other services.

“We take care of the road, we take care of the cemetery work, and we do everything for them as an in-kind service,” Banks said. “The road work and everything we do for them would be well worth more than $8,000, and I’ve explained that before.”

Board President Kelle Barfield underscored Banks’ statements by clarifying that the services the county renders for Beulah Cemetery can be funded through the provisions of state statutes instead of using the county’s ARPA funds.