Columbus is proud of its diversity and the contributions African-American citizens have made throughout its rich history. These citizens played significant roles in shaping Columbus into the town it is today. We are dedicated to building awareness of this heritage, and we offer a historic tour that showcases the events, people, and achievements that are important to Columbus. Join Columbus and Lowndes County in paying tribute to the spirit of African-Americans with our historic and informative African-American Heritage Tour available year round.
Located between Main Street and College Street, Catfish Alley was a central meeting and business district for the Columbus African-American Community in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Concord CME Church
One of the oldest churches in Columbus, Concord was an African-American church established in Lowndes County in 1867. Prior to the construction of a wooden structure, the congregation met in what was called a “brush arbor,” a collection of limbs and bushes gathered under a large tree in an open grove. The first wooden structure was constructed in 1908.
1213 Concord Road
Dr. Theodoric V. James Home
Dr. James (believed to have been Columbus’ first African-American doctor) built this home between 1906 and 1912. It is a nice example of the Queen Anne Free Classic style in domestic architecture and is still owned by his descendants.
1104 5th Avenue North
The first store at this location was called “The Tan Yard” (1791-1819), and was owned and operated by William Cooper. It was the main area in Columbus for European and Native American trade. Cooper’s last recorded transaction was the trading of horses with the Chickasaw Tribe in 1819. The Chickasaws called Cooper “the Big Black Tanner.”
Corner of 2nd Avenue North and 4th Street North
The Haven (c. 1843)
NATIONAL REGISTER HISTORIC DISTRICT
315 3rd Avenue North
Missionary Union Baptist Church
The Missionary Union Baptist Church, organized in 1833, is the oldest African-American church in Northeast Mississippi. Organized during the days of slavery, services were held in the afternoons on Sundays and Wednesdays in the basement of the First Baptist Church.
The Penny-Savings Bank, founded in the early 1900s, was Columbus’ first African-American bank. W.I. Mitchell served as the president of the ban from 1907 to 1913. In addition to the Penny-Savings Bank, there are several other significant historical facts about this location.
Queen City Hotel Site
Queen City Hotel was the center of the African-American business district in the mid-twentieth century. It was also the focus of lodging and entertainment for the African-American community. It was constructed, owned and operated in 1909 by Robert Walker, who was once a slave.
Robert Walker Home Site
Robert Walker, born before the Civil War, was a slave who was a house servant for the Walker family. Here, he was trained as a butler and caterer. In 1908, he opened the Queen City Hotel, the first African-American owned and operated hotel in Columbus.
Corner of 7th Avenue and 14th Street North
Sandfield Cemetery is the late nineteenth century burial site of several African-American leaders and businessmen which include the following:
Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church
Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church originated under a “brush harbor” by a few determined and devoted Christian slaves. In 1821, the land for the church was chartered.
Union Academy was established in 1877. As indicated by the state historic marker on 9th Avenue South, the original Union Academy was located at the site of a former Confederate Arsenal just south of the railroad tracks.
W.I. Mitchell Home Site
In 1877, W.I. Mitchell became the first black principal of Union Academy, the first African-American school. Prior to becoming principal, he was also a teacher. From 1907 to 1913, he served as president of The Penny-Savings Bank, the first African-American bank in Columbus, Mississippi.
Corner of 7th Avenue and 16th Street North
29th Annual Seventh Avenue Heritage Festival
Seventh Avenue Festival – a celebration of the unique culture and entrepreneurial spirit of one of the city’s most highly profiled business and entertainment districts. Free admission. For more information call 662-549-4314.