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  • Burns-Belfry Interior
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The Burns-Belfry Story

Burns Methodist Episcopal Church was organized by freed African Americans who settled in the area known as “Freedmen Town” after the Civil War. The current church building was erected in 1910 and played a major role in the lives of many African Americans until 1974, when the Burns congregation moved to its new location.

"When Peace Come": The Continuing Significance of Juneteenth

Tuesday, May 19 at 6:00 p.m., Burns-Belfry Museum

In honor of the 150th Anniversary of Juneteenth, come learn more about the meaning and significance of this important festival of freedom. On June 19, 1865, slaves in Galveston, Texas, learned not only that the Civil War was over but also that they had been freed 2 1/2 years earlier by the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth has evolved into a cultural celebration commemorating peace, justice, and community that is celebrated by people of all races and creeds across the United States and around the world. Dr. Shennette Garrett-Scott, an Assistant Professor of U.S. History and African American Studies at the University of Mississippi, will provide a multimedia overview of Juneteenth from 1865 to the present day, with a special emphasis on Mississippi and Oxford-Lafayette County. Free and open to the public. All ages welcome.


DATE RESCHEDULED FOR FALL 2015 - Check later for more info

Centuries of music prepared and performed by Ricky Burkhead, Effie Burt, and Damein Wash.

Visit this page to view images from the 2014 performance at the Burns-Belfry.


By Darlene Copp
October 2013

Burns-Belfry’s Two-Stage Exhibit

Burkhead & Friends Perform at Burns-Belfry

Ricky Burkhead and Damein Wash

Oxford’s first Fringe Festival brought percussionist Ricky Burkhead to the Burns-Belfry Museum on Friday afternoon, August 1, 2014. Accomplished singers Effie Burt and Damein Wash on keyboard joined Mr. Burkhead to present a historical review of African American music. The setting motivated the trio to perform selections representing centuries of black life and creativity.

Concert highlights included Ricky Burkhead’s melodic steel drum solo of “Jamaica Farewell.” Later the audience participated in a demonstration of “call and response” as practiced by enslaved generations of black Americans. Samplings of gospel, blues, and jazz sung by Ms. Burt and Mr. Wash thrilled the “Fringe” audience of 20 festival goers. Ms. Burt’s rendition of a Billie Holiday classic was a standout.

Look for announcements of a repeat of this remarkable concert at the Burns-Belfry in 2015.

See Photos »

View the Burns-Belfry Museum Dedication Video

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OMS Students Learn African American History

OMS visit march 2014
Students checking out exhibit at Burns-Belfry Museum

On Tuesday, March 4, 2014, eight Oxford Middle School classes and their teachers walked to and from the Burns-Belfry Museum to learn some African American history. Volunteers Boyd Harris, Wanda Nelms, and Elsie Pugh greeted them and gave them an orientation to the museum. To plan a school outing, contact Darlene Copp at 513-9957 or via email

See more photos of their visit »


Looking for a special place for your wedding reception, anniversary celebration, birthday party, or other special event? Or do you need space close to the Square to hold luncheons, offer seminars, or conduct business meetings?

The Burns-Belfry provides a unique, conducive space for meetings or events that is an easy walk to the Square and convenient to the University of Mississippi. A catering kitchen is included, and a parking lot is on the property. Nonprofits are given special rates. For details, call Amy Wilkes, events coordinator, at 662/816-4995 or


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