The African American Museum was built as the Branch Banking House of the State of Mississippi and was a bank for many years. It has exceptional Federal millwork and mantels and some with its original wood graining.
It was acquired by the Woodmen of the World after a fire in 1912 had destroyed a rear wing and the roof and attic of the main building. That fire was at the core of an embezzlement scandal wherein it had been hoped that evidence of the fraud might have been destroyed (see entry 119 of Volume III of The Journal of Wilkinson County History).
A parapet wall was built on three sides and a flat roof was put on the building. For many years it was a barber shop and then after World War II it was the Woodville Public Library. The Civic Club acquired it in 1973 for $5000 to save it…and charmingly many years later those funds were returned three-fold by the Woodmen of the World as a donation for the matching funds needed for our MDAH grant. It was in bad shape.
In the mid-1970’s the rear brick wall and part of the east wall had to be rebuilt with custom made bricks to prevent it from falling. In the 1980’s the roof rafters were raised and the gable ends were restored and a temporary roof was put on. In 2004 thanks to a Mississippi Department of Archives and History Grant the restoration was completed and the service dependency with bathrooms and storage facilities was built.