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NPS obtains more land associated with state’s largest slave trafficking site

National Park Natchez
Photo courtesy of the Natchez National Park

The National Park Service (NPS) has announced that more land was acquired for the preservation of a Mississippi historic site connected to one of the country’s largest sites for the trafficking of slaves during the antebellum era.

The latest purchase occurred one year after the NPS obtained its first two parcels of Forks of the Road land as a donation from the City of Natchez. These land acquisitions have been made possible, in part, by support from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, National Park Foundation, Trust for Public Land, and the Archaeological Conservancy.

“This acquisition aids the National Park Service in our work to preserve underrepresented stories and more fully capture the essence of America’s history and culture,” Chris Abbett, associate regional director for partnerships, lands, interpretation, and planning for the NPS South-Atlantic Gulf region, said. “We look forward to completing further acquisitions and working with partners to help park visitors learn about Forks of the Road and its effect on enslaved people, local communities and the nation.”

The addition of the third parcel of land in Natchez ensures the long-term preservation of land associated with Forks of the Road. The historic O’Ferrall House property on the corner of O’Ferrall Avenue and Devereux Drive in Natchez lies within the 18-acre boundary of the Forks of the Road site, which was defined by Congress in 2017 when it authorized NPS to begin land acquisition.

“Forks of the Road allows us to both confront a tragic chapter in our nation’s history and honor the bravery of the enslaved people whose lives were forever changed here,” Dr. Jocelyn Imani, Black History and Culture Initiative director for Trust for Public Land said. “We are grateful to be part of this important preservation effort, illuminating vital lessons our history has to offer can strengthen our connection to our national heritage and to one another.”

NPS will continue to acquire parcels from willing sellers within the Forks of the Road district stretching along both sides of Devereux Drive and St. Catherine Street from Rembert Avenue to Concord Avenue, then launch a formal planning process for the development of the site with public input.

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