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Friday-Saturday, September 15-16, 6-9 p.m. and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Historic Jefferson College. Historic Jefferson College, the birthplace of the state, will kick off a two-day bicentennial commemoration with free barbeque plates, live music, and Native American dancing on Friday, September 15, at its second annual Reveille! The site will continue the celebration on Saturday, September 16, with living history on the grounds, tours of historic buildings, the unveiling of a state historical marker, and vintage games for families.

“Delegates to Mississippi’s first constitutional convention met here in the summer of 1817 to draft the constitution that Mississippi was established upon,” said Historic Jefferson College director Robin Person. “We can only turn 200 once, so it’s important that we observe that event in a memorable way.”

Beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday, free plates of pulled pork or brisket from the Pig Out Inn will be served to the first 150 people, and there will be a cash bar. The Cane Grinders, featuring multi-instrumentalists Buddy and Faith McClure, will play Old Time music from 6 to 8 p.m. Between the band’s sets, members of the Chickasaw Nation Dance Troupe, dressed in traditional leather leggings, ribbon shirts, and brightly colored belts and sashes, will perform traditional stomp dances. The troupe was formed in 1992 in Ada, Oklahoma, to share the ancient arts of shell shaking, dancing, and singing with people from around the world.

Festivities resume Saturday morning at 10 a.m. with a reveille—a bugle call to wake soldiers for duty—and a flag raising. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., games such as croquet, bean bag toss, and a giant checker board will be set up for families to play, and living historians will portray Prince Ibrahima, Andrew Jackson, and other figures from the past.

At 10 a.m., MDAH sites administrator Clay Williams will lead a walking tour to where Assembly Hall, the tavern in which the first Mississippi legislature met, and the Methodist Church where delegates signed Mississippi’s first constitution, once stood. A new state historical marker interpreting the Methodist Church site will be unveiled.

At 11 a.m., Robin Person will guide a group through the circa-1819 East Wing and circa-1839 West Wing. Participants will see the original classrooms and laboratory, armory, living spaces, and offices—as well as nineteenth-century graffiti in the attic. Space is limited, and those wishing to take the tour must register in advance. Call 601-442-2901 for more information or to register.

At 12:30 p.m. on the first floor of the West Wing, Historic Natchez Foundation director Mimi Miller will give a presentation on architecture in the town of Washington, which served as the second capitol of the Mississippi Territory from 1802 to 1817.

Following Miller’s program, she will lead a bus tour of Washington at 1:30 p.m. Participants will see inside rarely opened historic homes and finish with a reception at the Sweet Auburn. Houses along the tour include the Selma, Meadvilla, and Ingleside—most of which had close ties to Jefferson College—as well as the Washington Methodist Church. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased in advance by contacting the Historic Natchez Foundation at 601-442-2500, or on the day of the tour.

Reveille is sponsored by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in partnership with the Historic Natchez Foundation and Order of the First Families of Mississippi. Historic Jefferson College is administered by MDAH. Established in 1802, Jefferson College was the first institution of higher learning chartered in the Mississippi Territory. The college is located in Washington, four miles northeast of Natchez on Highway 61. The address is 16 Old North Street, Natchez, MS 39120. For more information, call 601-442-2901 or email info@historicjeffersoncollege.com.

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