Hattiesburg honors family of Civil Rights activists with landmark

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Hattiesburg’s Historical Landmark program officials commemorate a local prominent civil rights activist couple, Mr. Benton Dwight and Mrs. Lula Dwight.

“We are here celebrating my parents and their involvement in bringing Dr. King to Hattiesburg, Mississippi,” The city’s historic conservation commission along with the mayor and city council hosted a landmark ceremony to share the family’s story. The new landmark sign sits outside of the home on Spencer Street.

“In a community…where the population is always sort of turning over, coming to take jobs, coming to go to school, sometimes we don’t gather roots on who brought us here in the first place an so to have these sorts of markers really kind of let future generations know who’s shoulders they stand on,” said Mayor Toby Barker.

Lillie Dwight daughter of Lula and her late father, Benton, says in the 1960s her parents’ home was used as a rallying point for activists. “They brought Dr. King here to Hattiesburg because they felt that he would be an inspiration to the many people who were involved in the civil rights movement here in Hattiesburg,”

Lillie’s parents were involved in several organizations including: The NAACP, Freedom Democratic Party, Founders of Forrest County National Rights Welfare Organization and many others.

“They felt it was one of their duties and responsibility as a Christian to try and help,” Lillie said. The landmark ceremony ended with the family expressing gratitude to city administrators, a short prayer and of course a family photo-op near the brand new ‘Dwight Family Home’ landmark.

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