Natchez Trails: 300 Block of Martin Luther King Street formerly North Pine Street
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Markerman62
N 31° 33.563 W 091° 23.895
15R E 652021 N 3492710
Located at MLK St. and Jefferson St., Natchez
Waymark Code: WM13FEG
Location: Mississippi, United States
Date Posted: 11/30/2020
Published By:Groundspeak Regular Member scrambler390
Views: 0

300 North Martin Luther King Street (above) is home to the city's oldest funeral business.
Robert D. Mackel (below) opened Bluff City Undertaking in 1898 at the corner of Jefferson and North Rankin Streets. About 1911 he relocated the business to its present location at the intersection of Martin Luther King, Jefferson and St. Catherine streets.
In 1950 Bluff City Undertaking became known as Robert D. Mackel and Sons to honor the founder.
Mackel family members are descendents of Robert Wood, one of the first African American mayors in the country. Natchez was the only city in Mississippi to elect an African American mayor during Reconstruction. Wood also served as sheriff, postmaster and tax collector.
Mourners filled the sidewalks and lined the streets around Bluff City Undertaking as the African American community attended visitation and funerals for some of the 209 casualties of the Rhythm Night Club fire in April 1940.
The Funeral homes were overwhelmed by the number of deaths, and some victims were buried in a Mass grave at the Watkins Street Cemetery.
For more than a century the city's African American funeral operators clustered near the intersections of St. Catherine, North Martin Luther King, and Jefferson streets.
The photographer who took the picture of mourners in front of Bluff City Undertaking also recorded the small wood houses that once lined the east side of the 300 block of North Martin Luther King Street.
Elected in 1973, George F. West, Sr. served as the city's first African American alderman since Reconstruction.
Pictured on the left is a view of paving of the 700 block of Jefferson Street, On the right side of the street is the rear annex of Bluff City Undertaking. The large building on the left side of the street is St. MAry's Orphanage, which was demolished in the 1960s and is now a parking lot behind Zion Chapel A.M.E. Church.
Pictured above is the Rhythm Night Club after the fire. Ironically the club stood in the midst of three funeral businesses.

Natchez African American
Funeral Homes

227 North Martin Luther King
People's Undertaking Company
Natchez Colored Undertaking Company
Williams and Williams Funeral Service

300 North Martin Luther King
Bluff City Undertaking
Robert D. Mackel & Sons.

409 North Martin Luther King
George F. West Funeral Home

7 St. Catherine Street
Natchez Mutual Burial Association
West-Webb Funeral System
Webb Funeral System

106 East Franklin Street
Curtis Funeral System, Inc.
Date Installed:: 2010

Organization that placed the object:: Ciry of Natchez

Photo or photos will be uploaded.: yes

Related Website:: Not listed

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Markerman62 visited Natchez Trails: 300 Block of Martin Luther King Street  formerly North Pine Street 12/15/2020 Markerman62 visited it