Port Gibson, Mississippi: “Too beautiful to burn”

(Supposedly that’s what US Grant said about it.)

I wasn’t planning on visiting this town, but my GPS took me through it when it was navigating back towards Natchez from the more untamed parts of Claiborne County. It looked pretty interesting, but I was starting to get hungry and it was an hour back to Natchez (and I really wanted to eat lunch at Fat Mama’s Tamales.) I’ll have to try to get back next time I’m in Mississippi, Church Street alone would make it worth the diversion. There are 7 churches on the street and some of them are pretty weird. One of them—the Presbyterian church, I think—has a giant gilded hand atop the steeple, index finger pointing into the sky. And the oldest synagogue in the state is also in Port Gibson; although it no longer has an active congregation, a non-Jewish couple bought the building, which is in a Moorish Revival style, to ensure its preservation.

Claiborne County Courthouse, Port Gibson, Mississippi

Photographing a white building against a sky so overcast that it is also white presents something of a challenge.

Claiborne County Courthouse, Port Gibson, Mississippi

CSA Monument, Port Gibson, MS

I wasn’t exaggerating the town’s demographics, by the way: it is literally 80% African-American, out of a population of about 1,500. And they have to look at this CSA monument every time they drive or walk down the main drag. However, I thought it was interesting that the soldier looks so young. Like, maybe it’s really a monument to all the boys they made fight that stupid war. Especially towards the end, when they were running out of able-bodied males.

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