I recently toured the home of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Eudora Welty, who is among those featured on the Southern Literary Trail (http://www.southernliterarytrail.org). My friend Clotie Graves, who conducts an African-American tour in Jackson, Miss., accompanied me on a recent blue-skies-and-50-degree-temps-January afternoon.
We found the Eudora Welty House, which Welty's parents originally lived in and where she stayed until her death in 2001, to be well-preserved. Our tour guide was knowledgeable and pointed out the updates to the home, which is a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
We learned that Welty's Pulitzer Prize, which she won in 1973 for her novel The Optimist's Daughter, was found in an upstairs closet after her death. The house has a sleeping porch, an item that was new to me. The house had thousands of books in it at the time of Welty's death.
I really enjoyed the tour of the garden and learned a lot about the flowers therein. We took pictures near the trestle, which had been replaced and received the approval of a neighbor's cat who startled me by rubbing against my right leg.
I had hoped to go to Jackson State University to view information about author Margaret Walker Alexander, but time did not permit it. I recall reading her book Jubilee in high school and found it to be marvelous. I want to learn as much as I can about her life and that of author Richard Wright, perhaps on my next visit to the Magnolia State.
All three writers are featured on the Southern Literary Trail, which a brochure states is the "country's first tri-state Trail to connect mythic places that influenced great American literature." Joining Mississippi are Georgia and Alabama.
Video: Learning about Eudora Welty's Legacy, 1.2011
About the Author:
Regina L. Burns, M.A., Project+, is an award-winning multimedia editor and journalist, specializing in Black history and African American stories at Harvest Reapers Communications. Her work has been published in Texas Highways magazine, WFAA-TV, The Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as well as The Commercial Appeal, the Tri-State Defender and The Flyer, among others.