The unveiling took place on the 127th anniversary of Mound Bayou and the completed project of 25 markers is targeted for July 12, 2015.
“Mound Bayou’s unique history in Mississippi, the United States, and the world, is an opportunity to connect people and history on an experiential level,” said Dr. Elaine Baker, president of the AARP local area Chapter.
“We are very excited about the Mound Bayou Heritage Trail. AARP-MS, AARP Mound Bayou Area Chapter No. 5146, the city of Mound Bayou and the Historic Mound Bayou Foundation are members of the partnership and are working to promote ‘Active Living in a Healthy Community’ for walkers, runners, bicyclists, and/or motorists of all ages and fitness levels. We envision this active living experience in a learning environment will also extend into heritage tourism and other long-term community development enterprises,” she said.
The Unveiling Ceremony began at the Mound Bayou City Hall and a motorcade travelled to the sites of the seven markers in the order of the unveiling:
* Second home of co-founder of Mound Bayou Isaiah T. Montgomery & wife, Martha Robb Montgomery (1919) — Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in Bolivar County by the United States Department of the Interior May 11, 1976, and designated as a Mississippi Landmark by the State of Mississippi
* The home of Eugene P. & Mary C. Booze, daughter of co-founder Isaiah T. Montgomery (1910)
* Home of Buffalo Soldier Charley Lee Woodley Sr., 1919–2008
* Train Depot (1900), Built by the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad, a subsidiary of the Illinois Central Railroad Company
* Friendship Clinic (1948), opened by the United Order of Friendship of America under the leadership of Dr. T.R M. Howard
* Site of Mound Bayou (Cottonseed) Oil Mill & Manufacturing Company (1912), organized by Charles Banks
* Bolivar County Baptist Seminary (1954), under the leadership of Rev. H.C. Cherry
The Booze Home marker was placed in memory of Augustus and Ada Simmons and Samuel and Vanveola Thompson. It connects two Mound Bayou citizens, Mayor Darryl R. Johnson Sr. and his father Hermon Johnson.
Hermon Johnson serves as the Legislative Committee Chair of the AARP Mound Bayou Area Chapter and as a member of the Historic Preservation Committee.
The motorcade also traveled past the markers placed in Phase 1. They are: the Bank Building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Bolivar County on March 1, 1996; site of the Bolivar County Training School; Taborian Hospital, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Bolivar County on Aug. 1, 1996); site of the Friendship Clinic and Oil Mill also includes a Civil Rights marker for Dr. T.R.M. Howard for whom Highway 161, within the city limits of Mound Bayou, was renamed; First Baptist Church and the Delta Health Center.
According to Baker, the Heritage Trail provides an opportunity for the participants to travel through the Mound Bayou Historic District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in Bolivar County on Sept. 11, 2013. This area is roughly bounded by Martin Luther King Avenue, the Mound Bayou Cemetery, and South and Davis Streets
Ultimately Baker said, the vision is to “expand the markers from a static information sign to a platform for interaction and learning.”
The Heritage Project, this will provide visitors with an opportunity to interact with the markers. “Users find more information and can share their experiences using social media platforms,” she said.
“The community will be far healthier – both physically and historically – as a result of the Heritage Trail. There are so few places that you can walk and ride and do all the things that are actually safe anymore. Mound Bayou is uniquely positioned for the trail,” said Baker, who is also president of the Mound Bayou Public Schools Alumni Association.