The Farish Street Historic District is the only African American historic site listed on the national register that was built by former slabves, whose great-great grandchildren still work and live in the district. Farish Street takes it's name from Water Farish, a former slave who settled on the northeast corner of Davis and Farish Streets. Several other African American families moved to the area near Mr. Farish and his family. The 1869 Jackson directory listed 22 freed blacks as residents of the district. The Farish Street District has thrived and survived through Emancipation, Reconstruction, Segregation, Civil Rights and Urban Renewal.
Farish Street was the enocomic Mecca of the African American Community in its heyday. This street and community have so much history. The area had everything, to incluide, five and dime stores, dress shops, florists, medical care services (i.e., doctor offices, a hospital), legal services, nice restaurants, funeral homes, a movie theater, churches, a furniture store, community centers, beauty shops, and even once served as the home of Jackson State University. Thus, it was a self-contained community, a model by which current communities are striving to recreate.
Farish Street was once the hub education, social political, religious and entertinment activities for Jackson's African American community. In celebration of the neighborhood's rich and unique heritage, The Festival board of directors will continue to host this annual celebration in the Historic Farish Street community of downtown Jackson.
The Farish Street Heritage Festival of Jackson, Inc. ("The Festival"), is a non-profit African American art's organization consisting of an eleven-member board of directors. The members remain committed to honoring the rich legacy through a unique culture extravaganza known as the Farish Street Heritage Festival. The Festival features several stages of live entertainment presenting national, regional, and local artists and performers. Festival patrons also enjoy arts and crafts exhibits featuring vendors from around the world. Attendees cand delight their palette with some of the best "soul food" and ethnic delicacies this side of the Mason-Dixon! Children can play all day at the Kitty Kottage filled with face painting, arts and crafts, music and various cultural activities. The Farish Street Heritage Festiva provides entertainment for the entire family and offers a diverse array of cultural programming in Mississippi exposing festival participants to artists thy cannot frequently see. The Farish Street Heritage Festival of Jackson, Inc., board works hard to foster a membership with the community and to find sponsors to support this event.