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.

  • Dixie National Rodeo

    February 6 - February 12

    Champion cowboys from all over the world compete for big jackpots at the annual Dixie National Rodeo at the Mississippi Coliseum. The best of the best of bull fighters, ropers, rodeo clowns, barrel racers and bull-doggers come out in droves and keep crowds entertained with fast-paced action and antics. Rodeo Events include: Bareback Bronc Riding, …

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  • Downtown Laurel Chili Cook-Off

    February 8 @ 10:00 am - February 8 @ 8:00 pm

    Laurel Main Street kicks off each new year with the annual Magnolia State Bank Chili Cook Off! The event takes place the second Saturday in February and is held on the 500 block of Central Avenue, downtown with music, beverages (coke products & beer), and teams competing to be the winner. All entries are cooked …

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  • Mississippi Blues Marathon

    February 29 @ 7:00 am - February 29 @ 7:00 pm

    The 13th Annual Mississippi Blues Marathon will take place on February 29, 2020, in downtown Jackson, Mississippi’s capital city. With live music before, after, and throughout the course, the Mississippi Blues Marathon proves to be one-of-a-kind. Challenge yourself with the marathon or half-marathon, or take things a little easier with our 10, or 5k. You …

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