When Emmett Till was murdered in 1955, the people of Mississippi found themselves at the forefront of one of the most pivotal periods of American history. This tragic event is widely considered the igniting spark of the modern Civil Rights movement. While the death of Emmett Till made national headlines, it was not the only event to set the scene for this great struggle. Only months before Till’s death, Reverend George Lee of Belzoni was assassinated after registering to vote. Other events in Mississippi, from the murder of Medgar Evers in 1963 to the killing of the three Civil Rights workers in Neshoba County the following year, rallied those involved with the Civil Rights movement and brought more people to the cause. Half a century later, Mississippi is the embodiment of changing times. Today, Mississippi has more elected African-American officials than any other state in the country, as the civil rights movement continues as a strong element of political, social and daily life.
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.