USM students assist park service with site plan for historic slave market

USM students assist park service with site plan for historic slave market

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Some University of Southern Mississippi students are helping the National Park Service develop a historic location in Natchez that was once the site of one of the largest slave markets in the South.

More than one dozen architectural engineering technology students are working on designs for an interpretive center and memorial for the “Forks of the Road.”

That was a slave market that was active during the 1830s and 1840s.

The NPS is purchasing several acres around the site and it’s seeking ideas on what should be located on it.

In February, the students presented an initial design plan for the area.

“They were very excited about all the ideas and all the work that the students have done and they’re hoping that they’ll be able to utilize that,” said Leffi Cewe-Malloy, the architectural engineering technology coordinator for USM. “They’re currently still acquiring all the land and eventually, in a year or two, they’re going to have a competition with I guess, national architects that will make a similar type of design.”

“I think them bringing us in as students and giving us the opportunity to give our viewpoints and what we think will look great and a way to interpret those feelings and those actual actions that occurred within that slave trade, is very important to me,” said McKenzie McDavid, a senior from Greenville.

“You want to keep in mind what this place is going to be used for, what it’s going to be making the people feel and use their experience in this area to kind of guide how you’d construct it and design it, so they feel what you want them to feel,” said Colt Lee, a senior from Bay St. Louis.

The students’ ideas for the interpretive center and memorial will be submitted to the NPS in April.

Students from the University of Texas-San Antonio are also working on the project.

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