For more than 17 years, the Hattiesburg Convention Commission (HCC) has strategically preserved and presented the rich history of the African American community of Hattiesburg through the Sixth Street Museum District and its historical sites of the African American Military History Museum, Oseola McCarty House, Historic Eureka School Museum, Historic Smith Drug Company and Moeller Military Vehicle Museum project.
In 2019, the Hattiesburg Convention Commission needed fencing to frame the parking lot of the Eureka School. Instead of simply replacing the old chain link fence, Museum District and Commission staff sought to create a statement piece to present the people who made the area of Sixth Street historic. After creating the idea of a commemorative wall to tell the stories of these historic figures, an advisory committee of 10 community representatives was formed to identify those African Americans who best inspired the community and individuals to aspire to great heights. This volunteer committee researched, collected, presented and ultimately selected 167 individuals to be recognized in perpetuity on the 375 l.f. wall.
In order to properly present the individuals who inspired all generations from the 1880’s to the present day in an equal fashion (and to address the challenges of photographic technology improvements from daguerreotype to digital), Portuguese artist, Ana Louro, was commissioned to hand draw all of the images from the varied photographic forms.
With the 167 images completed by the artist, HCC Graphic Designer Kari Zendejas designed the 3,000 s.f. wall to showcase the images and present each panel with its own unique QR code to allow the viewer to explore these notable community leaders on the Wall’s website.
The 375-foot long backlit wall, which borders the Historic Eureka School Museum site highlights 167 African Americans from Hattiesburg who have inspired or continue to inspire others through their work and service. The Wall is comprised of 75 panels and each panel has a QR code, which connects visitors to a biography for each image on the corresponding panel. The biographies can also be accessed through the Historic Eureka School’s website, https://hattiesburgeureka.com/generations. There is no charge to visit the wall. Tourists are welcome to visit the wall anytime between daylight and 10:00 p.m.
Advisory Committee: Henry Bethley, Dr. Anthony Harris, Sherita Johnson, Charles J. Brown, Eddie Holloway, Annie Jones, Melvin Williams, Bettie Dahmer, Stephanie Hoze, Stella Mackabee
Hattiesburg Convention Commission: Richard Taylor, Executive Director – Latoya Norman, Director of Museums – Eddie Baca, Director of Engineering and COnstruction – Salem Bunkheila, Director of Operations – Vanessa Molden, Museums Operations Supervisor – Kari Zendejas, Graphic Designer