Beauvoir marks Confederate Memorial Day - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Beauvoir marks Confederate Memorial Day

Visitors to Beauvoir spent Confederate Memorial Day learning the history of Jefferson Davis, the only president of the Confederacy. (Photo source: WLOX) Visitors to Beauvoir spent Confederate Memorial Day learning the history of Jefferson Davis, the only president of the Confederacy. (Photo source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

While the removal of a Confederate monument made headlines in New Orleans Monday, just to the east in Biloxi a very different scene could be found. Visitors to Beauvoir spent Confederate Memorial Day learning the history of Jefferson Davis, the only president of the Confederacy.

Ocean Springs resident Shari Ehlers said her sister and brother-in-law are on the coast visiting from Ohio, and she brought them to Beauvoir to learn about our state's history.

"They love it," Ehlers said. "We enjoy history. We've walked through the house, gone to the cemetery."

She said she didn't realize it was Confederate Memorial Day until she got to Beauvoir.

"It's neat that we chose this day to be here," Ehlers noted.

Dr. Tom Payne with Beauvoir said a wreath-laying ceremony for Confederate soldiers and re-enactments were held on Saturday on-site.

"In the cemetery, we commemorated the confederate soldiers. We're one of the few places in the South that have a monument to the unknown soldier," Payne explained.

He said the focus at Beauvoir is solely on the preservation of history.

"Our business is to educate and commemorate. We stay out of the political side of it," Payne noted.

But others, like Gordon Jackson with the Biloxi NAACP, say there's nothing to celebrate about Confederate Memorial Day. For Jackson, the holiday signifies the oppression of African-Americans, a group he believes still suffers from the institution of slavery.

Melinda Medina with the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance agrees.

"We shouldn't be memorializing or commemorating, such a dark part of our history, where we had slaves and we treated black people as third class citizens," Medina said.

But Dr. Payne sees things a bit differently.

"It wasn't about civil rights," Payne noted. "It was about rights of determination. What are they going to do with our future? How we're going to run our states. And that's what they fought for."

Confederate Memorial Day is currently observed in Mississippi and Alabama.

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