- Associated Press - Friday, February 7, 2014

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - The African-American Military History Museum in Hattiesburg reopened Thursday for the first time since it was damaged during last February’s tornado.

The storm caused about $450,000 in damage to the building - which originally opened March 22, 1942 - and about $600,000 in damage to its contents.

The reopening attracted a crowd of 100 residents and officials.

“This building was not spared, but it was not destroyed, neither in spirit nor physically,” said Rick Taylor, executive director of Hattiesburg Tourism and Convention Commissions.

“We were able to put it back together, and this is very exciting for our community. It’s something that we should not only treasure, but seek to preserve as well.”

The Hattiesburg American reports (https://hatne.ws/1iAGmmb ) the USO Club that houses the museum is currently the only surviving United Service Organizations facility built exclusively for African-American soldiers, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“The tornado caused extensive damage, but we are now back in the house, and for that we are very appreciative,” said Ralph Lindsey, vice president of the African-American Military History Museum Committee. “With the help and support that we have received, we have this museum back the way it deserves to be.”

Shortly after the tornado, AAMHMC launched the “Rise Up and Rebuild Campaign” to assist with rebuilding costs. The organization has to date donated $7,858 to the effort.


Information from: The Hattiesburg American, https://www.hattiesburgamerican.com

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