African-Americans performers help rewrite Natchez's story

Apr 4, 2015 2:02 PM by News Staff

NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) - Natchez is telling a different story about its past.

Bestselling novelist Greg Iles has reworked the Historic Natchez Tableaux, which holds its final performance Saturday for visitors to the Natchez Spring Pilgrimage, an annual tour of pre-Civil War homes.

The eight-decade-old pageant had glorified the Old South, but the new version includes scenes focusing on realities of slavery and Confederate defeat.

Iles got involved when leaders of one of the two garden clubs that run the pilgrimage selected his daughter Madeline Iles as queen. Madeline Iles was uneasy about an event lacking African-American perspective, and organizers agreed to changes.

The new version includes larger numbers of African-American actors, softening its negative image in the black community.

Iles says the Tableaux remains imperfect, but says it's a model for racial cooperation.

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