You know their names and stories. Now walk in their footsteps.

In Mississippi, the civil rights movement’s forefathers, heroes, martyrs and modern-day champions lived, walked, marched, and inspired a national movement for racial equality. From our world-class Mississippi Civil Rights Museum to the historic markers along our Freedom Trail, Mississippi offers an opportunity to reflect on the struggles of the past and be enlightened and inspired by the stories you discover along the way.

Discover More

Explore Mississippi's civil rights landmarks and points of interest

Click the markers below for additional information about each site.

Bryant's Grocery

Vine-covered ruins are all that remain of Bryant’s Grocery, where 14-year old Emmitt Till was accused of whistling at a white woman in 1955, leading to his abduction, torture and murder. After Till’s body was recovered from the Tallahatchie River, the open-casket funeral shocked the world and sparked the American civil rights movement.

305 Co Rd 18, Greenwood, MS 38930, USA

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Amzie Moore

Amzie Moore was a Cleveland, Mississippi, businessman and a veteran of World War II. In the 1950s, Moore became an active member of the NAACP and helped found the Regional Conference of Negro Leadership. A marker is located at the site of his home.

612 South Chrisman Street, Cleveland, MS, USA

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Black Power Speech

Stokely Carmichael’s famous “Black Power” speech was delivered here in Greenwood at the present-day location of Broad Street Historical Park. The speech marked the emergence of a new political slogan for the movement, which reflected both black pride and growing impatience with the slow pace of change.

600 Ave M, Greenwood, MS 38930, USA

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Beth Israel Congregation

In 1967, Jackson’s Beth Israel Congregation’s new synagogue was targeted and bombed by the Klan in response to Rabbi Perry Nussbaum’s outspoken opposition to racial discrimination and segregation. The synagogue remains at the same location and still works to support racial justice and reconciliation.

5315 Old Canton Rd, Jackson, MS, USA

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C. C. Bryant

C.C. Bryant established the Pike County NAACP branch, one of the nation’s first, and served as its president for 33 years. Bryant courageously fought for voting rights and equal employment opportunity despite violent opposition from the Klan and numerous arrests and imprisonments.

1521 C C Bryant Dr, McComb, MS 39648, USA

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Capitol Rally

A marker on the grounds of the State Capitol in Jackson commemorates the final stop on James Meredith’s 1966 March Against Fear. The rally featured speeches by Martin Luther King Jr., Stokely Carmichael and Floyd McKissick and was witnessed by a crowed of 15,000, the largest civil rights demonstration in Mississippi history.

400 High St, Jackson, MS, USA

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Carpenters for Christmas

The Antioch Missionary Baptist Church was one of almost forty churches bombed during a six-month period in 1964. Congregants were undeterred from continuing their voter registration and civil rights activities, and the church’s “Carpenters for Christmas” rebuilt the church in a matter of days in December as a stand against racial intimidation.

3651 Co Rd 700, Blue Mountain, MS 38610, USA

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Clyde Kennard

A marker at the University of Southern Mississippi recounts the story of Forrest County native Clyde Kennard, a black farmer and Army veteran who attempted to enroll at the university in the 1950s, only to be denied entry twice and then falsely accused, arrested and imprisoned by local authorities.

Kennard-Washington Hall, East Memorial Drive, Hattiesburg, MS 39406, USA

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COFO Central Offices

The Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) was a coalition of affiliated organizations working to advance civil rights, voting access and education in Mississippi. A marker on the John Roy Lynch Street Civil Rights Corridor recounts the organization’s work to coordinate and advance civil rights throughout the 1960s.

1017 John R. Lynch Street, Jackson, MS, USA

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Fannie Lou Hamer

Fannie Lou Hamer emerged as a central figure in the civil rights movement after being denied voter registration and then fired from her job. In addition to her advocacy and leadership, Hamer is known for her signature line “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired” and for popularizing “This Little Light of Mine” as an anthem of the movement. A bronze statue of Hamer, historical marker, memorial monument and grave are located at the Fannie Lou Hamer Memorial Garden.

Fannie Lou Hamer Monument, Byron Street, Ruleville, MS, USA

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The Reverend George Lee

A marker outside of Greengrove Baptist Church commemorates the life of Rev. George Lee, a minister, entrepreneur and civil rights leader. Lee’s success in securing voting rights for black residents of Humphreys County led to his murder on May 7, 1955. He is considered by many to be the first martyr of the modern civil rights movement.

603 Church Street, Belzoni, MS, USA

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Jackson Greyhound Bus Station

At this location, in 1961, a Greyhound bus with nine Freedom Riders arrived in Jackson to engage in a nonviolent protest to desegregate the bus station. That summer, 329 people, including black and white Freedom Riders from 39 U.S. states and ten countries, were arrested in Jackson for their participation in the protests. (Current site of Robert Parker Adams Architect.)

219 N Lamar St, Jackson, MS, USA

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Jackson Municipal Library

In 1961, nine black Tougaloo students participated in a sit-in at the Jackson Municipal Library (now Eudora Welty Library) to protest the segregation of public libraries. When the students refused to relocate to the “colored” Carver Library, they were arrested. The library sit-in inspired similar activity at public parks, swimming pools, stores and movie theaters.

300 N State St, Jackson, MS 39201, USA

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Jackson State Tragedy

A marker near the entrance of Jackson State University recalls the tragic shooting deaths of two students and the injury of many others during student protests in 1970. A confrontation ended with police and highway patrolmen firing toward the crowd and into a nearby dormitory, Alexander Hall. Bullet holes remain in the building to this day.

Alexander Residence Hall, Jackson, MS 39217, USA

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Madison County Movement

On the grounds of the Madison County Courthouse in Canton, a marker recognizes a local campaign to register black voters and integrate schools and businesses. Soon after the Madison County Movement office opened in 1963, it became one of the most active civil rights organizations in the state.

140 W Peace St, Canton, MS 39046, USA

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March Against Fear

A marker on Highway 51, just south of Hernando, commemorates James Meredith’s courageous March Against Fear during the summer of 1966. Near Hernando, Meredith was shot three times by a sniper hiding in nearby woods. Meredith recovered from his injuries and was able to end his march at a historic rally in Jackson. The marker is located next to a VFW post.

4243 Highway 51 South, Hernando, MS, USA

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Marks Mule Train and Poor People’s Campaign

During his visits to Marks, Mississippi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shocked by the status of the town’s impoverished black residents. King envisioned a second Poor People’s Campaign march and rally, which would depart from Marks and end in Atlanta, with mule-drawn wagons used for transportation. The marker is located outside a Citgo Station.

1098 M.L.K. Jr Dr, Marks, MS 38646, USA

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Rust College

Near the entrance of Rust College, a marker honors the work of Rust College students and  president E.A. Smith to promote voting rights, end segregation and advocate for equal rights during the 1960s. The students worked to integrate a local movie theater, establish a Rust NAACP chapter, and help launch the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.

1250 Rust Avenue, Holly Springs, MS 38635, USA

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Tougaloo College

Students at Tougaloo College were active within the civil rights movement, participating in sit-ins, protests and rallies and, often, enduring threats, intimidation and violence. The college’s “Tougaloo Nine” were arrested and tried for attempting to enter the then “whites only” main branch of the Jackson Public Library.

6550 Tougaloo Blvd, Tougaloo, MS 39174, USA

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TRM Howard

Theodore Roosevelt Mason Howard founded and led Mississippi’s preeminent civil rights organization, the Regional Council of Negro Leadership, where he worked to advance economic opportunity and voter registration. A marker is located in front of the Taborian Hospital, where Howard served as chief surgeon during the 1940s.

V7JC+7R Mound Bayou, Mississippi, USA

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Unita Blackwell

A marker in Mayersville recognizes the life and legacy of Unita Blackwell, the town’s first black mayor who contributed to the civil rights movement as an SNCC activist and Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party representative at the Democratic National Convention in 1964. Blackwell served as an adviser to Presidents Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton and was recognized as a MacArthur Fellow in 1993. This marker is located across the street from the Issaquena County Courthouse in Mayersville.

129 Court St, Mayersville, MS 39113, USA

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University of Mississippi

In 1962, James Meredith became the first African-American student to attend the University of Mississippi, overcoming opposition from Governor Ross Barnett and other state leaders. A marker commemorates the site where Meredith registered for classes, escorted by federal agents, with protection from Army and National Guard troops. A civil rights monument honoring Meredith is located nearby, behind the Lyceum building.

University Cir, Oxford, MS 38677, USA

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William Chapel Missionary Baptist Church

The historic William Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Ruleville served as a meeting place for activists and civil rights organizations during the early days of the movement. The church’s pastor, J.D. Story, encouraged these “mass meetings” at a time when other churches – and eventually the William Chapel itself – were being firebombed.

899 O B Avenue, Ruleville, MS, USA

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WLBT-TV

During the 1950s and ‘60s, Jackson-based TV station WLBT was closely allied with segregationist groups and actively suppressed coverage of racial justice issues and perspectives. A marker outside the station tells of WLBT’s transformation, beginning in the 1970s, following a series of FCC petitions, court battles and management changes.

715 S Jefferson St, Jackson, MS, USA

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Woolworth’s Sit-In (Jackson)

A marker in downtown Jackson, where the department store once stood, commemorates the site of the Woolworth’s Sit-In. During the 1963 sit-in, three black Tougaloo college students sat at the whites-only lunch counter and were refused service. The students were joined by an integrated group of supporters and attacked by an angry mob. The marker is located on Capitol Street in Jackson and is across the street from The Elite Restaurant.

100 E Capitol St, Jackson, MS 39201, USA

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Dr. Felix Henry Dunn

At the entrance of the Newton County Courthouse in Decatur, a marker commemorates Medgar Evers’ first attempt at registering to vote, joined by a group of black veterans. The group was met by angry, armed white men threatening violence. Evers ultimately turned away, but the experience strengthened his resolve to fight for change.

92 West Broad Street, Decatur, MS, USA

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Amzie Moore Home

The Amzie Moore Home marker is located at the site of the civil rights leader’s home, which served as a meeting place for local youth, community members, and leaders such as Bob Moses, Stokely Carmichael, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The home now serves as a museum and interpretive center, honoring Moore’s life and legacy.

614 South Chrisman Avenue, Cleveland, MS, USA

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Felix Henry Dunn Home Site

A historic marker dedicated to Dr. Felix Henry Dunn is located at the site of his home and office. The African-American physician helped register black voters, provoking death threats and the firebombing of his clinic. Dunn served as president of the Gulfport NAACP branch and treated injured protesters during Martin Luther King Jr.’s Selma to Montgomery marches.

1919 38th Ave, Gulfport, MS 39501, USA

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Emmitt Till Murder Trial

In 1955, the Tallahatchie County Courthouse served as the location of the trial against Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam, who had been accused of mutilating and murdering Emmit Till, a 14-year-old black youth from Chicago. The two men were acquitted of the murder by an all-white jury but later confessed to the killing in a Look Magazine interview.

401 W Court St, Sumner, MS 38957, USA

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Freedom Summer Murders

On June 16, 1964, Mount Zion Church officers were beaten by Klansmen and the church burned. When Freedom Summer voting rights activists James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner came to investigate, they were abducted and murdered. A marker outside the church commemorates the site and their story.

11191 Rd 747, Philadelphia, MS 39350, USA

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Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner Murder Site

Near this location, in 1964, Freedom Summer voting rights activists James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were shot and killed by members of the Ku Klux Klan and local law enforcement. Their murders sparked national outrage that helped spur support for the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Co Rd 515, Philadelphia, MS 39350, USA

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Old Neshoba County Jail

Next to the American Legion building in downtown Philadelphia, Mississippi, a marker indicates the old Neshoba County  Jail, which remained in use until 1978. Civil Rights volunteers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were held at the jail after being arrested in 1964.

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Oak Grove AME Church

A marker in front of Oak Grove AME Church commemorates a stop during a civil rights march from Yazoo City to Jackson. Marchers, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were provided food and water by church members and a neighbor to the church.

8866 MS-16, Benton, MS 39039, USA

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Vernon F. Dahmer Sr.

At this location, in 1966, Forrest County farmer and NAACP president Vernon F. Dahmer Sr. was killed while defending his home and family from a Klan gunfire and firebombing attack. Dahmer was known for his statement, “If you don’t vote, you don’t count.” The Klan had targeted Dahmer for his support of voting rights for black Americans. The Dahmers’ home, grocery store, and car were all destroyed in the fire. The marker is located in an open field between houses.

796 Monroe Road, Hattiesburg, MS, USA

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Mount Zion Baptist Church

Though the original church building was demolished in 1993 and later rebuilt, a historic marker tells the history of Hattiesburg’s “Civil Rights Church,” which hosted a Freedom School and many mass meetings during the civil rights era. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at Mount Zion two weeks before his assassination.

900 Spencer St, Hattiesburg, MS 39401

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Giles Penny Saver Store

A store located at this site was owned and operated by Oscar and Alice Giles, who were active in the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and the local civil rights movement. The store was firebombed in 1965. With the help of neighbors, the flames were extinguished. While the store no longer stands, a marker shows its former location.

626 Church Avenue, Indianola, MS, USA

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Freedom School Bombing

In 1964, a building at this site was donated to the Council of Federated Organizations by the Sunflower County Baptist Association to serve as a Freedom School and headquarters for civil rights workers. One year later, the building was firebombed and destroyed. A marker indicates where the building once stood.

623 Jefferson Street, Indianola, MS, USA

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Irene Magruder

Irene Magruder was the first African American in Indianola to open her home to civil rights workers during the Freedom Summer of 1964. Though her home was firebombed and destroyed the next year, Mrs. Magruder rebuilt and continued to serve as an influential figure in the Indianola civil rights movement for many years. The marker is located at the corner of Front Avenue Ext. and Byas Street.

212 Byas St, Indianola, Mississippi, USA

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Wayne and Minnie Cox Park

A marker and park honor the memory of Wayne and Minnie Cox, who lived on this site in the late 1800s. In 1888, Wayne Cox was elected alderman, the first African American to hold that position in Indianola. His wife, Minnie, was appointed by President Benjamin Harrison to serve as the nation’s first known African American female postmaster. The marker is located at the corner of Faisonia Avenue and Gresham Street West.

295-331 Faisonia Ave, Indianola, MS 38751, USA

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Dr. King Visits Batesville

A marker at this site commemorates a 1968 visit by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Batesville. He had come to the city to enlist support for a camp-in to be held in Washington, D.C. During his visit, Dr. King spoke at Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Chuch. King was assassinated in Memphis just two weeks later.

327 Panola Ave, Batesville, MS 38606, USA

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Dr. King Visits Laurel

In 1968, two weeks before his assassination in Memphis, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke here, at St. Paul United Methodist Church, to build support for his planned Poor People’s March on Washington. The Poor People’s March continued after King’s death, making it to Washington two months later on May 12.

517 Jefferson Street, Laurel, MS, USA

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M.W. Stringer Grand Lodge

A marker here on the John Roy Lynch Street Civil Rights Corridor recognizes the Masonic Grand Lodge where a crowd of 5,000 mourners gathered for the funeral of slain NAACP field secretary, Medgar Evers. The Thomas W. Stringer Grand Lodge was dedicated in 1955 with an address by future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

1072 John R. Lynch St, Jackson, MS 39203, USA

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Noel House

This site in downtown Jackson marks the location where Andrew J. and Susie Davis Noel once lived. The Noels were active in the NAACP and hosted Freedom Riders at their home in 1960. Their daughter, Gladys Noel Bates, filed the first lawsuit in Mississippi seeking equal pay for black public school teachers.

107 West Pearl Street, Jackson, MS, USA

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Herbert Lee

A marker at the old Westbrook Cotton Gin is located where 42-year-old dairy farmer Herbert Lee was shot and killed by a Mississippi state representative, E. H. Hurst. Lee was a charter member of the NAACP chapter in Amite County and a voting rights activist. Lee is considered to be one of the voting rights movement’s earliest victims of white violence.

395 Gillsburg Rd, Liberty, MS 39645, USA

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Belle Flower M.B. Church

Founded in the late 1860s, Belle Flower M.B. Church is one of the oldest black Baptist churches in Grenada. The church served as a headquarters and meeting place for a number of organizations during the civil rights movement and hosted such leaders as Andrew Young and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

505 W Pearl St, Grenada, MS 38901, USA

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Frank Crump Jr.

A marker in downtown Vicksburg honors the legacy of educator Frank Crump Jr. During the Freedom Summer of 1964, Crump registered black voters and served as a Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party delegate. An outspoken activist, he participated in the 1972 Vicksburg boycott to demand equal rights from city officials and downtown merchants. The marker is located at the corner of Washington St. and Veto St.

1514 Washington St, Vicksburg, MS 39180, USA

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March Against Fear

A marker in Itta Bena commemorates James Meredith’s March Against Fear. Some 100 marchers passed through the town in 1966 on their way from Memphis to Jackson. Despite KKK confrontations, intimidation, and an attempt on Meredith’s life, the march made it to Jackson, accumulating thousands of marchers on the way. The marker is located on Highway 7 South near Leflore County High School.

MS-7, Itta Bena, Mississippi, USA

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“The Caboose”

At this site in 1963, more than 70 men, women and children were held at the Itta Bena jail, known locally as “the Caboose.” Those arrested had assembled for a meeting at Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church. Forty-five black citizens were charged with disorderly conduct, sent to the county farm for 58 days and fined. The marker is located in an alley between Front St. and Cleveland St. off Basket St. in downtown Itta Bena.

107 Basket St, Itta Bena, MS 38941, USA

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Wharlest Jackson Sr.

A marker is located in the vicinity of a car bombing attack that killed Natchez civil rights activist Wharlest Jackson Sr. Members of the KKK targeted Jackson because he was treasurer of the Natchez chapter of the NAACP and had received a job promotion at his workplace that would have otherwise gone to a white employee.

9 Minor Street, Natchez, MS, USA

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The Lynching of Elwood Higginbottom 

A historic marker is located near the site where Elwood Higginbottom was lynched by an angry mob in 1935 after fatally shooting a white landowner in self-defense. While Higginbottom was held in Jackson until his trial date, an angry mob broke into the jail then drove him back to Oxford where he was hanged to death. The marker can be found at the southwest corner of Molly Barr Road and North Lamar Boulevard.

1431 N Lamar Blvd, Oxford, MS 38655, USA

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Lynching in America

A marker at the Higginbottom lynching site documents the history of lynching in America, a practice that claimed the lives of thousands of black Americans between 1877 and 1950, including 650 victims in Mississippi and at least seven in Lafayette County.

1431 N Lamar Blvd, Oxford, MS 38655, USA

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First Voting Rights Case Filed in Mississippi.

Two markers at this location document the history of Hattiesburg’s Mobile Street, considered by many to be the birthplace of the voting rights movement in Mississippi. At various businesses on the street, 15 African American men met and pooled their money to retain a local white attorney to represent them in the first voting rights case filed in Mississippi.

598-500 Mobile St, Hattiesburg, MS 39401, USA

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Greenwood's First SNCC Office 

This two-story brick building was used as a photography studio that also provided office space for SNCC’s first Greenwood operative, Sam Block, in the summer of 1962. After several incidents of intimidation, violence and vandalism, the office was relocated to another site.

616 Avenue I, Greenwood, MS, USA

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Greenwood's Second SNCC Office 

SNCC workers set up their second office in a building that stood on this site. By 1963, local participation in civil rights activities was growing, and the SNCC worked with affiliated organizations to promote voter registration and literacy efforts. On the night of March 24, 1963, a fire destroyed much of the records and equipment in this office.

Ave G & E McLaurin St, Greenwood, MS 38930, USA

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Greenwood's Third SNCC Office 

From 1964 to 1968, the two-story building on this lot served as SNCC’s national headquarters. On the same block, directly across from Broad Street Park, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, NAACP and Congress of Racial Equality also had offices.

 

708 Avenue N, Greenwood, Mississippi, USA

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Union Grove M.B. Church

Union Grove was the first Baptist church in Greenwood to open its doors to civil rights activities when it participated in the 1963 Primary Election Freedom Vote. Comedian and activist Dick Gregory spoke here as part of his campaign to provide food and clothing to those left in need after county supervisors cut off federal commodities distribution.

 

615 Saint Charles Street, Greenwood, MS, USA

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St. Francis Center

This church building served as a hospital for blacks and a food distribution center in the years before the civil rights movement. The Center Light newspaper was published here over a fifteen-year period. Father Nathaniel Machesky, along with CMC minister William Wallace and AME pastor M.J. Black, coordinated a 1967 business boycott from this site.

 

709 Avenue I, Greenwood, MS, USA

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First Christian Church

In this church building (now East Percy Street Christian Church), Rev. Aaron Johnson allowed SNCC organizers to hold a meeting in his sanctuary after the Elks Lodge refused to host any more gatherings. Local black residents packed the room for preaching, testimonies and singing.


100 East Percy Street, Greenwood, MS, USA

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Elks Hart Lodge

Cleveland Jordan, a Greenwood farmer who had challenged the voter registration laws as early as 1951, used his influence in the black Elks Lodge to make it available for Sam Block’s SNCC meetings in 1962. This arrangement ended after just two events when lodge members bowed to pressure from the Citizens Council and closed their doors to SNCC.

106 East Scott Street, Greenwood, MS, USA

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Jennings Temple Methodist Church

This church served as a polling place for the 1963 Primary Election Freedom Vote, the first time many local blacks had enjoyed the opportunity to cast a ballot. In 1968, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at Jennings Temple, just a few weeks before heading to Memphis in support of striking sanitation workers. He would be assassinated in Memphis on April 4, 1968.

 

1003 Sycamore Ave, Greenwood, MS 38930, USA

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Friendship M.B. Church

After its offices burned in March 1963, the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) headquarters was moved to Friendship Baptist Church, whose congregation and minister had reluctantly joined the civil rights movement. When the church stepped up its participation, 31 ministers signed a pledge endorsing the growing efforts in Greenwood.


Avenue East & Noel Street, Greenwood, Mississippi, USA

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Reno Cafe

SNCC workers operated on a shoestring budget and were largely dependent on the kindness of friends and business owners to keep food on their tables and roofs over their heads. The Reno Cafe’s proprietors were known by movement organizers to be generous and quietly supportive of the activities going on in their neighborhood.

 

310 West McLaurin Street, Greenwood, MS, USA

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Turner Chapel AME Church

This African Methodist Episcopal Church served as a gathering place during the 1963 Primary Election Freedom Vote. Many blacks voted for the first time, although their ballots were rejected by the Leflore County Democratic Party. A few months later, during the November general election, thousands of blacks across Mississippi turned out to vote.

717 Walthall Street, Greenwood, MS, USA

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Wesley United Methodist Church

Wesley United Methodist distributed donated food and clothing through SNCC and COFO efforts during the winter of 1962-1963. From this location, SNCC Executive Secretary James Forman led a large group of protesters toward City Hall, where they were met by city officials and police, including one off-duty officer with a leashed German Shepherd.

13 Cypress Ave, Greenwood, MS 38930, USA

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Booker’s Place

Booker Wright owned a small restaurant and worked as a waiter at Lusco’s, a segregated restaurant for whites only. Wright lost his waiter’s job as a result of heartfelt remarks made about his daily struggles with racism during a 1965 interview for an NBC News documentary, Mississippi: A Self Portrait.

211 Walthall Street, Greenwood, MS, USA

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Greenwood City Hall

Greenwood’s 1930 Art Deco administration building housed the police department in the 1960s, leading to several notable confrontations as marchers were arrested and jailed. Frequent clashes between city officials and movement organizers occurred on the Greenwood City Hall lawn and in the hallways.

101 W Church St, Greenwood, MS, USA

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Leflore County Courthouse

This imposing building became the flashpoint for civil rights protests, with frequent marches and demonstrations. Newsmen and photographers from around the world set up on the corner of Fulton St. and Market St. to record the clashes between Greenwood’s authorities and the growing numbers of aspiring voters.

 

306 West Market Street, Greenwood, MS, USA

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F.W. Woolworth

During the 1960s, F.W. Woolworth operated a segregated lunch counter at this location (now Reed’s GumTree Bookstore). The site was the scene of peaceful sit-ins to protest the policy. In 1964, following the passage of the Civil Rights Act, the company announced that it would “now be able to serve all customers in all of its stores on a desegregated basis.”

131 W Main St, Tupelo, MS, USA

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Spring Hill Missionary Baptist Church

During the civil rights movement, Spring Hill Baptist Church became a place where political awareness and social progress were informed and encouraged. The church served as a gathering place for civil rights marches held in 1976 and 1979.

593 N Green St, Tupelo, MS, USA

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Green Street Business District

This area once served as an anchor of Tupelo’s African-American community. Restaurants, clubs, barbershops, convenience stores, and churches lined the business district on North Green, from Barnes Street to Spring Street. Following desegregation, residents branched outside of their neighborhoods to shop, leading the Business District to shut down.

1000 N Green St, Tupelo, MS, USA

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Carver School

Built in 1939, Carver School originally served as the primary education center for Tupelo’s African-American children. After desegregation, Carver became the school for all ninth-grade students in Tupelo, both black and white. Today, Carver serves an elementary school and continues to educate children in the Tupelo community.

 

910 N Green St, Tupelo, MS, USA

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Robins Field

Before the desegregation of public schools, the state champion all-black Carver High School team would play here on Saturday nights, while the white Tupelo High School team played on Friday. On game days, black and white crowds alike came to see the award-winning G.W. Carver Band parade down the streets.

 

Noble Stadium, Tupelo, MS, USA

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R.C. Cola Plant

The Royal Crown Cola bottling plant marked the spot of the “March of Discontent.” The Tupelo Civic Improvement Club, an organization of African-American citizens lobbying for social equality, marched from the Green Street Business District until they met a police barricade at the R.C. Cola Plant. The building is now occupied by a law firm.

106 W Franklin St, Tupelo, MS, USA

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Dixie Belle Theater

The Dixie Belle Theater operated exclusively for African-Americans from 1950 to 1955, during a time when theaters, restaurants, schools, hotels, restrooms, parks and libraries served black and white patrons separately. The 300-seat theater showed movies and offered live blues, jazz, and R&B performances. The theater building is currently used as a church.

403 McNeece St, Tupelo, MS 38804, USA

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Shake Rag

Said to have inspired a young Elvis, Tupelo’s Shake Rag community was known for their musical spirit and tendency to dance into the early hours of the morning. The poverty-stricken community was eventually burned down and relocated in 1962 as part of a federal mandate to improve living conditions for the poor. A marker is located at the west side of the BancorpSouth Arena.

714 S Church St, Tupelo, MS 38804, USA

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Meridian African-American Business District

Meridian’s African-American Business District provided services that the city’s black community could not otherwise receive in the segregated South. Major businesses of the time included the E. F. Young Hotel, Fielder and Brooks Drug Store, the headquarters of the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO), and the Holbrook Benevolent Association.

25th Avenue & 5th Street, Meridian, MS, USA

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Con Sheehan Hall

Con Sheehan Hall served as the courthouse and center of county government in the 1870s. The Meridian Race Riot of 1871 began at this building, marking a violent end to the Reconstruction era with the murders of a white Republican judge and nearly thirty blacks at the hands of a mob led by members of the Ku Klux Klan. A marker is located in an empty lot at the intersection of 25th Avenue and Fifth Street.

25th Avenue & 5th Street, Meridian, MS, USA

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Woolworth's Sit-In (Meridian)

One of Meridian’s first sit-ins took place at Woolworth’s (which occupied part of the ground floor of the Rosenbaum Building) to protest its segregated lunch counters. Thirteen protesters were arrested. The Meridian Action Committee (MAC) continued protests, successfully getting African-Americans hired at numerous local businesses.

730 Oak Grove Dr, Meridian, MS 39301, USA

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The Jewish Contribution

Meridian’s Grand Opera House and Marks-Rothenberg building (together now known as the MSU Riley Center), Threefoot Building, and Rosenbaum Building are evidence of the role Jewish merchants played in the city’s regrowth after the Civil War. During the civil rights era, Jewish leaders spoke out in support of black churches that had been bombed or burned, and they saw their own Temple Beth Israel building bombed in 1968.

4122 South St, Meridian, MS 39307, USA

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Meridian Federal Courthouse

In 1961, at this location, James Meredith filed his initial lawsuit, seeking to integrate the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). In 1967, eighteen Ku Klux Klan members were tried for violating the Civil Rights of James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman, in a federal investigation referred to by federal agents as MIBURN or “Mississippi Burning.”

2100 9th Street, Meridian, MS, USA

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Lauderdale County Courthouse

Prior to the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, African-Americans were discouraged from voting by poll taxes and literacy exams. The literacy exam, given at this courthouse and many others throughout the South, required applicants to read and interpret sections of the Mississippi Constitution.

2100 9th Street, Meridian, MS, USA

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Freedom Riders / Old Bus Station

The Freedom Riders were groups of black and white civil rights activists who rode throughout the South, challenging segregated bus practices. In Meridian, local civil rights activists met with police prior to the Freedom Riders’ arrival, and they agreed that it would be in the best interest of the city to make the riders’ stop here peaceful. Although there were minor confrontations, no one was injured or arrested.

212 Constitution Avenue, Meridian, MS, USA

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McLemore Cemetery

McLemore Cemetery is considered Meridian’s oldest cemetery and its oldest surviving historic site. The city’s earliest permanent white settler, Richard McLemore, founded the cemetery and is buried here. Several victims of Meridian’s race riot of 1871 are believed to be buried here, as well.

1211 39th Ave, Meridian, MS 39307, USA

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Newell Chapel CME

Newell Chapel CME was among the African-American churches in Meridian whose members became active in the civil rights movement. The church was one of three original locations of the Head Start program in Meridian in 1966, which made it a Ku Klux Klan target. On February 23, 1968, the church parsonage was burned by a gasoline bomb.

1400 13th Avenue, Meridian, MS, USA

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St. Joseph Catholic Church

From 1910 to 1970, St. Joseph Catholic Church served as a coeducational school for young black students. One well-known student was James Chaney, the civil rights worker who was killed in 1964. St. Joseph School also worked to combat the problem of illiteracy in the black community through adult reading programs.

3410 8th St, Meridian, MS 39301, USA

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St. John Baptist Church

St. John played an active role in the civil rights movement. The church is one of two locations where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was scheduled to make a speech, following the 1964 “Mississippi Burning” disappearance of Chaney, Schwerner, and Goodman. It was the home church of Polly Heidelberg, a maternal figure within the movement.

2000 18th Avenue, Meridian, MS, USA

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New Hope Missionary Baptist / St. Paul United Methodist

New Hope, Meridian’s oldest black Baptist church, and St. Paul led in educating African-Americans. The Black Carnegie Branch Library was built on land donated by St. Paul and is believed to have been the only black library built with an original Andrew Carnegie grant. After years of disuse and deterioration, the library building was demolished.

13th Street & 27th Avenue, Meridian, MS, USA

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Wechsler School

Wechsler School was the first brick public school for black students in Mississippi to be built using public funding. It was named for Rabbi Judah Wechsler of Congregation Beth Israel, who led local efforts to provide public education for black children. The school attracted students from all over Mississippi as well as Alabama and Tennessee.

4008 Railroad St, Meridian, MS 39307, USA

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Freedom School

At Freedom Schools across the South, volunteers from across the country helped register voters and improve education opportunity for the African-American community. Meridian’s Freedom School was housed in Meridian Baptist Seminary. It was the largest Freedom School in the state and served as the host of the statewide Freedom School Convention. The seminary closed in 1972, and the building was destroyed by fire in 2007. A trail marker is located in the lot where the building once stood.

16th St & Martin Luther King Jr Dr, Meridian, MS, USA

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Council of Organizations

The Council of Organizations, Inc., is a nonprofit association formed to promote the social, cultural, and educational interests of the African-American community in Meridian. It was founded in 1972, with representatives from local civic, social, business, professional, fraternal, and educational clubs. The building is named in honor of C. E. Oatis Jr., who served as president from the council’s inception through 2010.

814 45th Ave, Meridian, MS 39307, USA

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Old Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church

Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church was located in the building now occupied by New Covenant Church of God in Christ. One of Mt. Olive’s members, Lou Emma Whitlock, was a powerful figure in voter registration activities. In 1964, the church hosted a Pete Seeger concert, in which news was announced that the bodies of James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman had just been found. Three days later, a crowd assembled at Mt. Olive and marched to First Union Missionary Baptist Church for Chaney’s funeral.

829 47th Avenue, Meridian, MS, USA

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First Union Missionary Baptist Church

First Union has been called the headquarters of civil rights activities among Meridian churches. The church’s pastors, Reverend R.S. Porter, and a church member, Obie Clarke, served as presidents of the local NAACP. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at First Union a month after the disappearance of James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman. Chaney’s funeral was held at the church weeks later.

610 38th Avenue, Meridian, MS, USA

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James Chaney Memorial Site

In 1964, James Chaney was slain along with Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman while helping aid in the registration of African-American voters as part of the Freedom Summer Movement. He is buried at a small cemetery next to the Okatibbee Missionary Baptist Church.

5085 Valley Rd, Meridian, MS 39307, USA

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Emmett Till Interpretive Center

The courthouse where Emmett Till’s murder trial took place is preserved as a museum and interpretive center, with the mission of telling the story of the tragedy and pointing a way toward racial healing. Visitors can book tours of the Tallahatchie County Courthouse and the interpretive center for $5. The center also hosts multiple initiatives in Till’s memory, including the Emmett Till Seed Project and the Day of Forgiveness.

158 North Court Street, Sumner, Mississippi 38957, USA

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