City of Vicksburg seeks bills to help McAllister home, Beulah Cemetery

Published 3:26 pm Thursday, December 22, 2022

When the Legislature convenes in Jackson on Jan. 3, the city of Vicksburg will be asking it to approve local and private bills allowing the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to help two historic sites in the city.

The board Thursday approved two resolutions — one to allow the city to use funds to support efforts to transform Dr. Jane Ellen McAllister’s home into a museum, and another to help pay for maintenance and in-kind labor to help Beulah Cemetery.

A local and private act is a bill approved by the Legislature that allows a city or county government to do something that normally may not be allowed by state law.

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A Vicksburg native, Jane Ellen McAllister was the first Black woman in the U.S. to receive a doctorate in education.

She received her doctorate in education from Columbia University and taught psychology and education at Jackson State University, Southern University, Grambling State University, Fisk University, Virginia State University and Dillard University. She died in Vicksburg at age 96.

Her house received a historic marker in 2019. At that time, Mayor George Flaggs Jr. announced the city’s support for converting the McAllister house at 1403 Main St. into a museum.

He said Thursday there is a movement on the part of several people to convert the house into a museum. In order for the group to start raising funds, Flaggs said, “We have to do this, and they are committed to raise those funds if we are successful.”

Located at 2228 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Beulah Cemetery is known as a traditional African American cemetery; for years, most of the African American people in Vicksburg who weren’t buried by their respective churches were buried at Beulah.

It is one of the most recognized cemeteries in Vicksburg and Mississippi and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The bill would allow the city to continue the work it is doing at the cemetery.

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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