300 Block of Martin Luther King Street

300 Block of Martin Luther King Street (HM21U6)

Location: Natchez, MS 39120 Adams County
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Country: United States of America
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N 31° 33.563', W 91° 23.894'

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Inscription

formerly North Pine Street

—Natchez Trails —

300 North Martin Luther King Street (above) is home to the city's oldest funeral business.Robert D. Mackel (below) opened Bluff City Undertaking in 1898 at the corner of Jefferson and North Rankin Streets. About 1911 he relocated the business to its present location at the intersection of Martin Luther King, Jefferson and St. Catherine streets.In 1950 Bluff City Undertaking became known as Robert D. Mackel and Sons to honor the founder. Mackel family members are descendents of Robert Wood, one of the first African American mayors in the country. Natchez was the only city in Mississippi to elect an African American mayor during Reconstruction. Wood also served as sheriff, postmaster and tax collector.Mourners filled the sidewalks and lined the streets around Bluff City Undertaking as the African American community attended visitation and funerals for some of the 209 casualties of the Rhythm Night Club fire in April 1940. The Funeral homes were overwhelmed by the number of deaths, and some victims were buried in a Mass grave at the Watkins Street Cemetery. For more than a century the city's African American funeral operators clustered near the intersections of St. Catherine, North Martin Luther King, and Jefferson streets.The photographer who took the picture of mourners in front of Bluff City Undertaking also
recorded the small wood houses that once lined the east side of the 300 block of North Martin Luther King Street. Elected in 1973, George F. West, Sr. served as the city's first African American alderman since Reconstruction. Pictured on the left is a view of paving of the 700 block of Jefferson Street, On the right side of the street is the rear annex of Bluff City Undertaking. The large building on the left side of the street is St. MAry's Orphanage, which was demolished in the 1960s and is now a parking lot behind Zion Chapel A.M.E. Church.Pictured above is the Rhythm Night Club after the fire. Ironically the club stood in the midst of three funeral businesses.
Natchez African American Funeral Homes227 North Martin Luther KingPeople's Undertaking CompanyNatchez Colored Undertaking CompanyWilliams and Williams Funeral Service300 North Martin Luther KingBluff City UndertakingRobert D. Mackel & Sons.409 North Martin Luther KingGeorge F. West Funeral Home7 St. Catherine StreetNatchez Mutual Burial AssociationWest-Webb Funeral SystemWebb Funeral System106 East Franklin StreetCurtis Funeral System, Inc.
Details
HM NumberHM21U6
Series This marker is part of the series
Tags
Placed ByCity of Natchez
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, September 22nd, 2017 at 10:01am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15R E 652023 N 3492710
Decimal Degrees31.55938333, -91.39823333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 31° 33.563', W 91° 23.894'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds31° 33' 33.78" N, 91° 23' 53.64" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)601, 769
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 700-798 Jefferson St, Natchez MS 39120, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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