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Mississippi’s oldest Black-owned business defies death | The Philadelphia Tribune

Mississippi’s oldest Black-owned business defies death | The Philadelphia Tribune VICKSBURG, Miss. — Mississippi’s oldest Black-owned business and oldest registered Black funeral home turned 123 years old in December.

W.H. Jefferson Funeral Home, African American Business, BuyBlack, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN



William H. and Lucy C. Jefferson founded W.H. Jefferson Funeral Home in 1894, and it has remained in family hands since.

“They had no children,” said James Jefferson Jr., who now manages the company.

“William Jefferson died in 1922, and Lucy ran the business until she got up in age, and then she turned it over in 1953 to my father and uncles, Williams H. Jefferson, James H. Jefferson Sr., and George L. Jefferson Sr.

“They ran the business until Uncle George resigned and left the business. They brought in their little brother, Robert J. Jefferson. He is the last surviving brother. He’s 96 and still getting around a lot.”

When William and Lucy Jefferson opened their business in 1894 in the 1100 block of Grove Street, Jefferson said, “It was more of a wooden frame house front type business.”

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The business moved to its current location at 800 Monroe St. in 1909. It survived the 1953 tornado with little damage, and the building was remodeled to its current state in 1965. Some of the wooden structure is still in the building that was in the original chapel, and the building had a full basement, he said.


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