May 05, 2011 01:16 PM CDT
MDA TOURISM ANNOUNCES
MISSISSIPPI FREEDOM TRAIL
New initiative will commemorate and educate the public about state’s Civil Rights legacy
Today, the Mississippi Development Authority’s Tourism
Division announced the creation of the Mississippi Freedom Trail, a major
cultural initiative designed to commemorate the state’s Civil Rights heritage.
The trail will offer a virtual tour of the state and those sites that played a
pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement.
“The Mississippi Freedom Trail will be an outstanding
educational attraction that will honor those from around the country who
contributed to the Civil Rights Movement here,” Gov. Haley Barbour said. “The
trail will complement the Civil Rights Museum to be located in Jackson. Many
people travel to Mississippi
hoping to learn more about our history. This trail will be a great resource for
visitors touring our state.”
The Mississippi Freedom Trail has been a work-in-progress
over the last year. Along with a task force of scholars, historians and
veterans of the Civil Rights Movement, MDA Tourism coordinated the important
work of selecting 25 initial sites for the trail from over 300 submissions from
communities around the state.
“The Mississippi Freedom Trail is an enormous opportunity
for our state to commemorate the bravery and courage of the men and women who
fought for freedom and justice and to educate the public about Mississippi’s
Civil Rights heritage,” said Leland Speed, executive director of the
Mississippi Development Authority. “With this year’s reunion activities of the
1961 Freedom Riders, now is the ideal time to unveil this important cultural
In addition to the 25 sites, another five sites were pre-selected
in association with the Mississippi Freedom 50th Foundation in
anticipation of the Mississippi Freedom Riders Reunion activities scheduled
this month. Those five markers will be unveiled throughout the month of May.
On Wednesday, May 18 at 3 p.m., the first of the five
pre-selected markers will be officially unveiled in memory of Emmett Till near
Bryant’s Store in Money, Miss. Wheeler Parker and other members of the Till
family will be in attendance.
The additional markers will be unveiled as follows:
- Monday, May 23 3
p.m. - Medgar Evers’ House in Jackson
- Tuesday, May 24 11
a.m. - Greyhound Bus Station in Jackson
- Wednesday, May 25, 2
p.m. - Fannie Lou Hamer in Ruleville
- TBD - Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman
These first five markers are funded with donations from
Tougaloo College, MDA and local private and public contributions. The
subsequent 25 markers will be funded through community funds and the 2010 Civil
Rights Historic Sites Grant Program passed by the Mississippi Legislature (HB
1701) and administered by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.
“This project has definitely been a collaborative effort.
That spirit of cooperation and teamwork embodies what we hope to represent by
commemorating the state’s Civil Rights heritage and raising the national
consciousness,” noted Mary Beth Wilkerson, director of MDA Tourism.
For more information about the Mississippi Freedom Trail,
contact MDA Tourism at 601.359.3297 or go to the state’s official tourism
. Members of the Mississippi Freedom Trail Task Force with Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson, Jr.