Welcome Jews and Gentiles to Margaret’s Grocery

 Margaret’s Grocery

Rev. Hermon Dennis— March 25, 1916 — September 6, 2011
Margaret Dennis— February 8, 1916 — October 7, 2009
4535 North Washington St
Vicksburg, MS
Folk art environment

Margaret and her late husband ran a rural grocery outside Vicksburg on old Highway 61, until he was fatally shot by a neighborhood kid during a robbery. Margaret met Reverend Dennis through the ladies at church. They married in 1979 and began to fix up the place to attract attention, so the preacher could share the word of God.

Rev. Dennis began to paint the building red, white, and some blue, but Margaret added the crowning touches of pink and yellow. During WWII, he was trained as a bricklayer, and he says the pinks, yellows and reds he’s painted this place with should remind people that “you can’t have a bouquet of flowers without different colors. We’re all God’s children.”

Brick towers and signs abound, welcoming “Jews and Gentiles” with various symbols of the double-headed eagle of the Prince Hall Masonic Lodge, of which he was a member. The interior of the store is elaborately decorated with beads and bold paint, and as well is the church bus, which also had pews and a pulpit for preaching.

Along with the distinctive towers that flank the complex, and the scriptures that adorn the walls, Reverend Dennis had outfitted an old school bus with an altar, and decorated it like no other.

(Photos © Copyright 2006-2013 Kelly Ludwig, all rights reserved)

Bibliography & Links:

“Detour Art—Outsider, Folk Art, and Visionary Folk Art Environments Coast to Coast, Art and Photographs from the Collection of Kelly Ludwig” by Kelly Ludwig, Kansas City Star Books, 2007.

“Rare Visions & Roadside Revelations” (the book), by Randy Mason, Michael Murphy and Don Mayberger, Kansas City Star Publishing, 2002.

“Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations Coast to Coast Travel-o-Pedia” by Randy Mason, et. al., Kansas City Star Books, 2009.

On DVD – Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations, “Southern Flavor”, KCPT, Kansas City Public Television, 1999-2001.

“Self-Made Worlds: Visionary Environments” by Roger Manley and Mark Sloan, Aperture, New York, 1997.

“Self Taught, Outsider, and Folk Art—A guide to American Artists, Locations and Resources” by Betty-Carol Sellen with Cynthia J. Johnson, McFarland & Company, 2000.

“Souls Grown Deep: African American Vernacular Art of the South”, Vol 2, Arnett, et al, 2001.

NarrowLarry: “Margaret’s Grocery And Market”

Interesting Ideas: “Photos”

The Daily Mississippian: “Living in the Deep South: Elderly preacher offers a different look at God”

Detour Art flickr site