Remembering the storm: Triumph over tragedy
Published 11:13 pm Friday, December 1, 2023
For a few weeks now I have been doing some research into the 1953 tornado.
With this year marking its 70th anniversary, it had been decided a while back to do a “special” edition to commemorate this fateful day in Vicksburg’s history.
Obviously, I had heard stories of the tornado; Vicksburg’s Sunday Post Herald won a Pulitzer for its reporting.
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But it wasn’t until I really started delving into the history that I became fascinated not only with the photographs but also with the survivor stories and the camaraderie of the community.
As one of my assignments for the enterprise package, I had the privilege of interviewing Pam Mayfield and B.B. Evans who were children at the time the storm hit.
Listening to them described what they witnessed really made Dec. 5, 1953, come to life for me.
Also capturing that fated day were the stories that appeared in the local newspaper and papers from across the state, many of which were included in a scrapbook assembled by the late Ed Clark.
My mom and dad, who were neighbors of the Clarks, had it in safe keeping and let me use it for this project.
The Old Courthouse Museum was also a treasure trove of information. The museum had an original copy of the Post-Herald that had been printed the day after the storm (the edition that had won the Pulitzer Prize for the paper) ,and they had pictures they shared with me that had been taken after the storm hit.
Some of the most telling of course were the ones of the collapsed wall of the Saenger Theater where children were killed.
Paul Ingram was also kind enough to share his never before published color photographs taken by his grandfather after the storm.
Today, the city bares no scares left from the storm, only the stories and photos from that fateful day.
I hope in harkening back to this dark day in Vicksburg, we will be reminded that where tragedy occurred triumph prevailed.
You can read the stories and see more photos of the Dec. 5, 1953 tornado here.