Thursday, June 28, 2007
Holly Springs museum hosting annual celebration
By SUE WATSON
The Ida B. Wells-Barnett Museum in Holly Springs will host its annual three-day birthday celebration and festival in honor of civil rights activist the late Ida B. Wells on July 13-15.
The theme this year is “Ida B. Wells: Her Legacy and Challenge,” according to museum curator Leona Harris.
Guest speaker for the Saturday evening banquet at 7 p.m. at Hudsonville CME Church will be the honorable Rep. Kelvin Buck of Holly Springs.
The banquet will be a tribute to the late Mary Walker Jones Penilton, a member of Hudsonville CME and one of the founding members of Ladies In Fellowship Together (L.I.F.T.), a group of black and white ladies in the Slayden and Hudsonville areas who decided it was time for the races to share their experiences, fellowship and worship together.
“Mary was a museum supporter and loved by both black and white races and by God,” Harris said. “She was a uniter. If there is anyone who did the work of Jesus Christ through their actions, Mary Penilton did. She didn’t just talk it, she lived it. She didn’t care what color you were.”
The fun kicks off Friday, July 13, with tours of the museum located at 220 North Randolph Street in Holly Springs. Visitor parking is located in the Spring Hollow parking lot behind the museum.
Featured this year at the museum are works of Gloria Gipson Suggs, based on memories of growing up in the Hudsonville area. Included are the early Gatewood MB Church and Old Hudsonville CME Church, the Atway Store, A Place Called Home, Community Baptism, Family Reunion and One Room School House and Big Red Truck.
Also on display are a collection of masks made by local artist Dale DeBerry; a collection of African-American veterans, including one female veteran; and the first-time showing of memorabilia of the late Osborne Bell, donated by his mother.
Included in the late Sheriff Bell’s memorabilia are the badges of Osborne Bell and his father Parker Bell who served out the slain sheriff’s term.
Also featured this year are three black and white photos of Mississippi artist Randy Hayes, who recently purchased a home in Holly Springs.
More of Hayes’ works will be on display at a later opening, Harris said.
“So when our guests come, they will get a real good flavor of some of Marshall County,” said Harris.
“We’re asking the veterans to help us build our collection, and we are particularly interested in obtaining more photos of women veterans.”
A catfish and buffalo fish fry is set for noon Friday. Guests can choose to eat on the lawn or carry out lunch. Proceeds benefit the museum.
Then Friday afternoon at 5:30 a gospel music explosion kicks off at Spring Hollow Park with local community church choirs and other talent slated.
The annual Memphis tour of historic civil rights activists’ sites is set for Saturday, July 14. The tour bus departs from the museum at 8 a.m. and returns to Holly Springs at around 2:30 p.m. Tour fee for adults is $52 and children ages 4-17 can tour for $47. The round trip ticket includes transportation, lunch, a visit to civil rights activists’ grave sites, to Slave Haven - an antebellum home in Memphis formerly owned by a white couple who opened their home for the underground railroad.
The tour includes a visit to the Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.
The Ida B. Wells-Barnett Celebration serves as the primary fund-raiser for the museum each year. Churches, businesses and organizations are asked to co-sponsor the event through donations, their patronage or by purchasing an ad in the program. Cost of ads range from as little as $20 to $100 for a full-page ad. All ads are due by 12 noon Friday, June 29.
Artist and vendor booths are also available for rent.
Each year the descendant sons and daughters of Ida B. Wells make a pilgrimage back to the museum to tell family stories handed down from generation to generation. Each day of the celebration one of Wells’ relatives takes part in the storytelling.
For further information contact Harris at 662-252-3232 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Look in upcoming issues of The South Reporter for a detailed schedule of events at this year’s Ida B. Wells-Barnett birthday celebration.
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