119 N Main Street
.14 acre Mini-Park
Located in the heart of downtown, this is a popular gathering space for the community. Oswalt Park is the hub for many community events such as Christmas in the Village, Chili Cook Off and Taste of Vicksburg.
Oswalt Park in downtown Vicksburg is named after Ferris H. Oswalt. Ferris was a Michigan State University graduate living in Vicksburg. He was described as a kind and thoughtful person and a family man. When the future of the world was seemingly at risk he answered the call and became an officer in the U.S. Army. Rising to the rank of Major he became the commander of a unit of all African American troops. Why he was selected for this duty has been lost to time, but those who knew him said it was because he saw the worth of a man in his intent and actions as opposed to the color of his skin. He and his men saw extensive duty in North Africa supporting British troops in fighting German General Erwin Rommel.
Major Ferris H. Oswalt was known as “Uncle Jim” in the Village of Vicksburg. His kindness is the first thing those who knew him will mention. So how does a man who goes through some of the most difficult battles of World War II retain his positive and kind outlook? This letter home to his wife, written on March 27, 1943, may offer a clue.
“My Darling Elizabeth,
Often times it seems impossible that we have to be separated and that this (supposedly civilized) world is in such a terrible mess. Millions of families broken up and homes destroyed- all because the different peoples of the world have yet to learn how to live with each other, how to give and take and let live, etc.
Recently I have had a lot to do with the British and my hat is off to them-every one. They sure have taken a terrible beating and never faltered for one second. They are fighters and just take everything in their stride.”