The 15th marker on the Mississippi Freedom Trail was unveiled in McComb last week. This latest marker is in honor of C.C. Bryant, best known for his contributions to the Civil Rights and Voter Registration Movement, both in Mississippi and across the nation. In 1954, Bryant was elected president of the Pike County Chapter of the NAACP, followed by his election as vice president of Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP under the leadership of Aaron E. Henry and Field Secretary Medgar Evers. In 1965, Bryant testified before the Civil Rights Commission to eliminate discriminatory voting practices. His testimony, along with that of other civil rights leaders, helped pave the way for the passing and signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
But Bryant is only one of the courageous men and women that the state of Mississippi is recognizing for their dedication to the fight for justice and equality.
In commemoration of those heroes and Mississippi’s pivotal role in the American Civil Rights Movement, the Mississippi Freedom Trail was created in 2011. This unique cultural initiative offers a virtual tour of the state and an in-depth look at the people and places that played a pivotal role in the fight for justice and equality.
Both a visitor attraction and an educational tool, the Mississippi Freedom Trail recognizes the bravery and courage of the men and women who were a part of the movement in the 1950s, '60s and beyond. It serves as an acknowledgement of the state’s dark past, but most importantly, the trail is a reminder of Mississippi’s thriving present and bright future.
The first Freedom Trail markers were unveiled in conjunction with the Mississippi Freedom 50th Foundation’s 2011 reunion activities for the 1961 Freedom Riders. The trail will also be a welcome complement to the state’s forthcoming Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, slated to open in 2017.
To date, markers have been placed in honor of Fannie Lou Hamer, Medgar Evers, James Meredith and other pioneers. Markers are also in place around the state to recognize pivotal locations or events, like the one at the site of Bryant’s Grocery in Money, Miss. That site is where young Emmett Till was accused of whistling at a white woman, resulting in his murder), an event which is said to have sparked what we consider the modern Civil Rights Movement.
For more information about the state's Civil Rights heritage and the Mississippi Freedom Trail, go to www.visitmississippi.org/mississippi-freedom-trail.aspx