African-American History

African-American history in Mississippi is older than the state itself. The earliest African-Americans were brought here as slaves before statehood in 1817.

Less than a half-century after Mississippi was granted statehood, the nation erupted in Civil War. The war brought emancipation, and the slow road to civil rights began. In 1870, Hiram Revels of Natchez became the first African-American to serve in the United States Senate — even though African-Americans had not yet gained the right to vote and continued to live in a segregated society. Years later, Mississippians such as Ida B. Wells, Medgar Evers and James Meredith would help lead the charge to a more equal society.

Other African-Americans hailing from Mississippi would make major contributions to American culture. William Grant Still of Woodville, a prolific and respected classical composer, became the first African-American to conduct a major American symphony orchestra and the first to have a symphonic composition performed by a major orchestra. Richard Wright would become one of the leading writers of his generation, and later William Raspberry and Natasha Trethewey would win Pulitzer Prizes. The imprint that these and other African-American Mississippians have made on American history and culture continues to impact and enrich our lives today.

The new, interactive Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson explores the true stories of the Civil Rights movement, and shows how those events shaped a state and changed the world. Once you visit the museum, venture to some of the 25 sites on the Mississippi Freedom Trail to experience history at the source.

  • 21st Annual Art in the Pass

    April 7 @ 8:00 am - April 8 @ 5:00 pm

    This juried arts festival features more than 100 artists offering unique pieces in a variety of mediums.

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  • Juke Joint Festival

    April 12 @ 8:00 am - April 15 @ 5:00 pm

    Half blues festival, half small-town festival, and all about the Delta. This festival features 100 blues arts in Clarksdale.

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  • PEPSI POPS: Picnic in the Park

    May 11 @ 7:30 pm - May 11 @ 10:00 pm

    Mississippi Symphony Orchestra Pops Series Friday, May 11, 2018, 7:30pm-10:00pm Old Trace Park, Ridgeland Tickets $12&up ($5 student) at www.msorchestra.com or 601.960.1565 Details:  http://www.msorchestra.com/index.php/concerts-and-tickets/concert-info/PEPSI-POPS-Picnic-in-the-Park/ The Rez, picnics and pop tunes make this concert an annual family magnet to be enjoyed by blanket, lawn chair or boat. Our 37th annual Pepsi Pops promises a unique outdoor …

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  • Dave Matthews Band in Concert

    May 29 @ 6:30 pm - May 29 @ 10:00 pm

    DAVE MATTHEWS BAND Doors: 6:30 PM | Show: 8:00 PM

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  • Elvis Festival

    June 6 @ 8:00 am - June 10 @ 5:00 pm

    A musical celebration to honor Elvis Presley, Tupelo’s native son, and the impact of this music on the world.

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