Mississippi national park commemorates Juneteenth with luminaria display

Published 9:48 am Thursday, June 20, 2024

One of Mississippi’s national parks celebrated the Juneteenth holiday Wednesday with a display of 700 luminaires — one light for each of the enslaved men, women and children who once worked at the property and its associated plantations in the region.

The Natchez National Historical Park invited local residents and visitors to the Melrose estate to help commemorate the event.

Between 1825 and 1865, the John T. McMurran family of Natchez held in slave labor conditions nearly 700 people at the Melrose estate and on cotton enslavement camps in Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas.

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On the front lawn of the Melrose estate, 700 luminaires were placed to remember those individuals.

“This evening, we celebrate the annual Juneteenth holiday that commemorates the arrival of freedom for the enslaved people across this country with the end of the Civil War in 1865,” a leaflet for the event stated, “We pause to contemplate these individuals and their lives.”