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Dr. William Ferris was honored to receive the Key to the City of Vicksburg during Friday’s Board of Mayor and Alderman meeting.

“We’re recognizing a most distinguished person,” stated Mayor George Flaggs, Jr. at the opening of the meeting “A hometown hero.”

BOMA 3-25-22

BOMA 3-25-22, Robert M. Walker presides over the presentation to honor Dr. William Ferris. (Screengrab from VTV broadcast)

Flaggs was joined by Previous Mayor Robert M. Walker who presided over the presentation. Flaggs explained, “I just think, because of this occasion, and because of these two phenomenal men, both of them are historians and both of them are great men and they know each other well, I just thought that I would relinquish my chair …”

Flaggs then turned the ceremony over to former Vicksburg Mayor Robert M. Walker.

“He comes from a long line of humble, yet distinguished, contributors to the making of this city and state. His records of achievements is far too extensive to site on this occasion,” stated Walker.

 Dr. William Ferris

Dr. William Ferris approaches to board to receive honors. (Screengrab from VTV broadcast)

Dr. Ferris is a Vicksburg native and distinguished American author and scholar who formerly served as the chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities being appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1997 and concluded his tenancy as chairman in 2001. Dr. Ferris was also the founding director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi and is the co-editor of The Encyclopedia of Southern Culture.

Ferris joined Walker, a long-time friend, at the podium and exchanged a friendly hug and gave complements to his character before being officially presented with the key.

Walker welcomes Ferris to the podium and gave complements to his character. (Screengrab from VTV broadcast)

After reading the resolution honoring Ferris, Walker graciously presented the Key to the City.

 Dr. William Ferris

Dr. William Ferris accepts the Key to the City from former Mayor Robert M. Walker. (Screengrab from VTV broadcast)

“There is no greater honor than being recognized at home where people truly know you,” Said Ferris. “I cannot tell you how deeply moved and proud I am to receive this recognition and I want to thank, in particular, Alderman [Alex] Monsour and Alderman Michael Mayfield for your contributions, Mayor George Flaggs and former Mayor Robert Walker.”

Ferris addressed the room, speaking fondly of those who have made a difference and was a part of his life and success.

“I love Vicksburg and it’s so powerful. I haven’t been back for two years because of COVID, but as Marcy and I were walking here, just looking at the buildings, the history that these buildings represent and to walk into the Robert Walker building, it tells me everything about Vicksburg,” stated Ferris. “You are embracing the best of our history and defining the best future we could imagine, and you can be sure I will be at your side at every step of the way. I’m proud of Vicksburg and I’m proud to have these awards and recognitions and you can be sure I’ll share them…”

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Dr. Ferris will also be honored for his work in documenting Mississippi’s culture, history and folklore by the Mississippi Humanities Council where he will receive the Cora Norman Award to recognize his distinguished career as a scholar and national leader in the humanities.

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