Thursday, February 13, 2020

Rev. Sylvester Miller honored at Black History Exhibit Reception

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Rev. Sylvester Miller, III at Lee’s Restaurant
The Friends of Dean Park, Inc. is sponsoring a Black History Exhibit at the Winston County Library throughout the month starting February 5th. Rev. Sylvester Miller, owner of Lee’s Restaurant, will be honored. The Reception will be Saturday, February 22, 2020, 9:30 a.m. – 12 Noon. Rosa Sanders will be there signing her newly published book.

Rev. Miller of Louisville, Mississippi was chosen to be honored because he has a rich history in civil rights, especially regarding voters’ rights. He is a businessman who has returned to Louisville after migrating to Flint, Michigan for years. He returned to Louisville in 2018 with his wife Mary Lee Anderson Miller who passed shortly after they moved. He is the owner of Lee’s Restaurant which is named after his deceased wife.

Rev. Miller was born and raised in Louisville, attended public school here until he entered the United States Army and Marine Corps for 4 ½ years – 1954 - 1959. He served in South Korea and Heidelberg, West Germany. He returned to high school to complete the semester that he missed to graduate in 1959 from Louisville Negro High School. Prior to that he had dropped out of school, to attend the American Theological Seminary and became acquainted with some well known civil rights workers: Congressman John Lewis, James Belvel, Diane Nash, Bernard Lafayette, Jr., and Lloyd Barbee. His interest in civil rights started at that time. When asked why he became involved, he talked about several incidents after the military that made him angry enough to become involved. One incident stands out when he was discharged from the military while traveling to Georgia; he stopped at a gas station for air for his tire and was approached by a white man who said, “Nigger can you read? The sign said we serve whites only”. Another similar incident happened in Jackson, TN when a police stopped him as he entered a service station that had a sign ‘for whites only”. He found that to be true later in life when he and family moved to Flint, MI in the early 60s. They were looking for a home to purchase and were told by the realtor that he couldn’t show him the home because, “I am afraid that the neighbors might do me bodily harm.”

Rev. Miller completed school at the Methodist Theological Seminary in Delaware, OH in 1983. He was ordained in 1983, also. He also has a master’s degree in Special Education from Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI. Rev. Miller retired from the Flint School District after 35 years of teaching K – 12 as a specialist in Special Education and he taught Industrial Art. While teaching, he and wife, Mary Lee, ran several businesses: daycare for seniors, gas station, restaurant and a laundry mat at different times.

Rev. Miller has a variety of interests. He returned to Mississippi to Holmes County in 1983 and ran for mayor of Durant. However, he lost and later moved back to Flint to return to Louisville, MS in 2018 to stay. He became the sole owner of the building that once was the Palace, 13759 Highway 14 West, Louisville, MS. There were six other partners who either passed or were bought out. He changed the name after his wife, Mary Lee, (who is now deceased) to Lee’s Restaurant. It is becoming a popular place to have Sunday dinner or a Friday night ‘out on the town’ for music and dancing. It is available to rent for parties, reunions, meetings, etc. It is comfortable and the décor is beautiful. On Sundays, there is an ‘all you can eat’ buffet. The experienced cook is Mary Glenn and waitresses are Antonesha Robertson and Mae Carrol. Tanesha Hampton is the manager.

Presently, Rev. Miller is the pastor of Lindsey Chapel United Methodist Church, 1670 Old West Point Road, Starkville, MS and Plair United Methodist Church, 8142 MS HWY 389, Starkville, MS. He is the father of three daughter, two deceased son, and 3 step children. Presently, he is married to Tanesha Hampton-Miller.

Submitted By: Elmetra Patterson