Iconic Civil Rights Locations in Mississippi
Following the horrifying death of Emmett Till and the assassinations of numerous civil rights activists, Mississippi became central to the modern American civil rights movement. These events ignited activists in the state to end oppression and seek equality. Dedicated to helping vacationers get the most out of their trip, Visit Mississippi offers an overview of Mississippi civil rights locations so you can better understand how this movement, and Mississippi’s role in it, changed the country forever.
Mississippi Civil Rights Museum
The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum is an ideal starting point to learn how the movement began in the state. It features eight galleries that chronologically detail the experiences of African Americans and civil rights activists spanning from 1945 to 1976. Each gallery covers different aspects of the civil rights movement, including:
- 1st Gallery: This provides context for the movement that highlights quotations and images of abolitionist leaders who sought to end the inhumanity of the institution.
- 2nd Gallery: This highlights African American Mississippians during the end of the Civil War through Reconstruction who developed strong communities as free citizens.
- 3rd Gallery: A glowing “This Little Light of Mine” sculpture plays the defining music of civil rights.
- 4th Gallery: This depicts first-hand experiences of African American Mississippians who served in World War II and brought their fighting spirit to the movement.
- 5th Gallery: This tells the personal stories of 1961 Freedom Ride participants and displays artifacts that show the harsh retaliation activists faced from law enforcement.
- 6th Gallery: This provides information about local movements that formed into state-coordinated campaigns and how activists created a “Freedom Vote” to demand the Democratic National Convention pay attention to their cause.
- 7th Gallery: This covers the empowerment that followed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as African American Mississippi leaders initiated Head Start programs and gained seats in the state legislature.
- 8th Gallery: This presents the opportunity to reflect on your experience going through the museum and read the thoughts of Mississippians from all backgrounds on progress made and the challenges that lie ahead.
Mississippi Freedom Trail
Once you have more knowledge of the civil rights movement, head to the Mississippi Freedom Trail to see the historical civil rights locations in person. Created in 2011 to honor the people and places in the state that played a critical role in the civil rights movement, this trail was established during the Mississippi Freedom 50th Foundation’s reunion. Over the last decade, many more markers have been added to the trail. Here, we highlight three Mississippi civil rights sites to help you begin your journey.
Perhaps the most infamous and important location on the Mississippi Civil Rights Trail, Bryant’s Grocery is the location where Emmett Till allegedly flirted with the white shopkeeper. In response, he was tortured and killed. After Emmett’s body was discovered in the Tallahatchie River, the event gained national attention and stirred the civil rights movement.
Medgar Evers’ House
After becoming the NAACP’s first field officer in Mississippi, Medgar Evers and his family moved into this Jackson home in 1956. A vocal activist for social justice and voter registration, Evers greatly impacted the civil rights movement in Mississippi but was brutally assassinated in his driveway on June 12, 1963.
Hattiesburg 1964 Freedom Summer Trail
This trail focuses on the largest voter registration drive that occurred in Mississippi during the Freedom Summer of 1964. The event brought even more awareness to the rest of America, as people regularly watched what happened on TV or read about it in the newspaper.
Discover More Mississippi Civil Rights Attractions with Visit Mississippi
Whether you visit the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum or walk along the trail to see iconic locations in person, the history of the civil rights movement in Mississippi offers visitors many options to learn more about the people and places that helped achieve equal rights for African Americans and ended segregation. Visit Mississippi is here to get you started on your journey. Start planning your trip with us today.