Last American slave was once courted by the national media

Former Marion County resident will receive monument at grave site
Former Marion County resident will receive monument at grave site

MARION COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - A local museum says, Sylvester Magee, the "last American slave", once garnered attention from from the national media and even Presidents.

"There's people in this county that still don't know who he is. It is interesting to tell people,"Let me tell you a little bit about Sylvester Magee, and once you tell them about him they are just astonished that they haven't heard about him before," said Vice President of the Marion County Historical Society, Brandi Perry.

Perry and Curator of the Marion County Museum and Archives Chris Watts, say Magee's name may not be familiar now, but in the 60's news of Magee's exceptional life could be seen in print and TV.

"The last few years of his life he was courted by the national media. He was in Jet magazine, he was in Time magazine there was an article written about him. He was on the Mike Douglas television show. He was very well known the last few years of his life," said Watts.

Watts added, the year before Magee died he was recorded by a TV station. In those recordings Magee gives a glimpse into his time as a slave.

"I have went through some hardships," said Magee in an interview with reporters. "In the slave time I was hit by my master."

Magee also claimed his parents lived to see as much history as he did.

"Mother lived 100 years. My father lived 108 years," said Magee.

Watts says the spotlight didn't end there.

"He received birthday cards from two sitting U.S. Presidents,  Nixon and Johnson," said Watts.

Now, Vice President of the Historical Society, Brandi Perry says 40 years after his death Magee will receive a final demonstration attesting to his life.

"The monument is actually about three feet high. It will tell his entire life story on the front of it so there is not going to be any guessing as to who this person was," said Perry.

Perry says the monument will be unveiled in February in honor of Black History Month. Perry says she hopes this puts Magee's story on the map.

"When we put that monument there they are going to be able to visit that cemetery and immediately know where to go, because the stone is quite impressive. And it should be!, " said Perry.