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College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Letters from the “Queen of the Parkway”

In the University of Mississippi J.D. Williams Library Archives are letters from Roane Fleming Byrnes(1890-1970).  Roane was a children’s author and ran her father’s 1600 acre plantation in Beverley, MS with her husband Ferriday (1890-1956).

However, she is mainly known for her concern and interest in the preservation of the Natchez Trace Parkway. Since she was a key factor toward establishing the parkway, and president of the Natchez Trace Association for over twenty-five years, she earned the title “Queen of the Parkway.”

Along with her interest in the parkway, Roane was concerned about the state of race relations in Natchez. The archive collection contains a significant number of essays and speeches written by Roane on the topic of racial harmony. She also contributed to the rebuilding of several African–American churches burned by white extremists in Mississippi during the turbulence of the 1960s.

In the video, Dr. Jay Johnson, professor of anthropology at the University of Mississippi, explains the history and importance of the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Information from the J.D. Williams Archives