Friday Film: Duncan Morgan, Brick-Layer of Natchez

During Mississippi’s bicentennial year, Blue Magnolia Films, working for the Mississippi Bicentennial Celebration Commission, traveled around the state holding community workshops called “Celebrating Storytellers.” What emerged from these workshops was a series of 100 short “photo essays” telling important Mississippi stories in the words of Mississippians. These videos have been released online, just in time for our 2018 Friday Film series to kick off with one of my absolute favorites, an interview with Natchez master brick mason, Duncan Morgan by M.J. Gaudet. Gaudet had this to say in the Blue Magnolia Facebook post about the film:

“Telling Duncan’s story helped me to see my hometown as the vibrant place that it is full of fascinating people and natural beauty. Often when we are familiar with someone or some place, we are not looking with fresh eyes and we miss what is right in front of us. Our workshop taught me how to see and appreciate the goodness right under my nose. It has made me delight in being a Mississippian! We have such warm expressive people living here who have such fondness for life!

Mr. Morgan is the man responsible for the beautiful brick work you can see all over Natchez, including the restoration work at Texada, which he notes was his most satisfying project. When it comes to his restoration work, I should say “the beautiful brick work you can’t see,” because the standard for good brick restoration is that it blends right in with the old sections. If you see some garish white mortar with wide joints in the middle of a nice 19th-century brick wall, that’s not Mr. Morgan’s work. Listen to a real historic preservationist, craftsman, and artist tell his story, starting with his first experience with bricklaying as a teenager.

Learn more about Blue Magnolia Films and its bicentennial project . . .

Categories: African American History, Historic Preservation, Natchez, Preservation People/Events, Renovation Projects


3 replies

  1. Thank you for introducing me to these short film essays. I’m sorry I had not discovered them sooner…but they have provided a great start to my day. Keep ’em coming.


  2. I loved this video. How wonderful it was to hear Mr. Morgan say how proud he is to be a Natchez craftsman. I am a quilter and love all the crafts. I also love Texada. My husband is Jim Moss who lived there.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We had the great privilege of having Mr. Morgan work on our 19th century home in Natchez, and the work was meticulous. I could never begin to thank him and his crew for the exceptional job they did. He is truly deserving of this recognition for his preservation efforts that span a lifetime. Natchez and Mississippi owe him a huge debt of gratitude.


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