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Oakes African American Cultural Center

Historic Sites, Monuments, Landmarks, and Public Art (National Register of Historic Places)


The Oakes African American Culture celebrates the legacy of the Oakes family, a prominent and successful African American family in Yazoo City that lived in the house until 1989. It also honors and preserves the legacy of other African Americans who have contributed to the city's and region's cultural history. The Classical Revival home which was originally built around 1866 and then rebuilt by Oakes family descendants in the coming decades. The house features exhibits, both permanent and traveling, that showcase the accomplishments of African Americans in various areas such as music and literature. The house also contains furniture and belongings of the Oakes family, as well an archives containing family letters, business papers and other documents. Artwork and photographs are also on display. The center also offers lectures, classes and various other programs. The house itself was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1993.

This historic home is the location of the Oakes African American Cultural Center, which celebrates the contributions of the Oakes family other African Americans in Yazoo City and the surrounding region.


The original home, which was a simple structure, was built by John and Mary Oakes, free blacks who moved to Yazoo City in the 1850s. It is believed that John was a skilled carpenter and passed his skills to his son Augustus, who would become a prominent builder and educator. Augustus acquired the house in 1885, and rebuilt it a few times. He was dedicated to the education of African American children in the city and served as principal to three schools, one of which he founded in 1884 called Oakes Academy. He then left the education field to establish Oakes Lumber Yard in 1900. His was one of the few businesses to survive a devastating fire in 1904 that destroyed much of the city. His company helped the city rebuild. Augustus died in 1924, leaving a strong legacy that lasts today. 


Homepage. Visit Yazoo. Accessed September 5, 2017.

"The Oakes House." The Historical Marker Database. Accessed September 5, 2017.

Rodner B. Wright & Patrick A. Snadon. "Augustus J. Oakes House." National Parks Service - National Register of Historic Places. April 8, 1993.

Photo: Visit Yazoo - Oakes African American Culture

308 Monroe Street
Yazoo City, MS 39194
Phone Number
Open weekdays, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon and 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Open at other times and on weekends by appointment.
  • African American History
  • Architecture and Historical Buildings
  • Art and Art Museums
  • Business and Economic Development
  • Music and Entertainment History
This location was created on 2017-09-05 by Ben M. .   It was last updated on 2017-09-05 by Ben M. .

This entry has been viewed 172 times within the past year


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