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.

  • RAMCAT RHYTHM & BREWS

    August 5, 2017 - August 5, 2017

    The Delta’s craft beer event, featuring a selection of craft beers, a homebrew competition and live music in downtown’s most historic alley. 662.453.7625

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  • Jackson Rhythm and Blues Festival

    August 18, 2017 - August 19, 2017

    On August 18-19 the Fifth Annual Jackson Rhythm and Blues Festival, takes place in Downtown Jackson inside the Jackson Convention Complex.  This Boomin’ festival presents a great mix of Rhythm and Blues artists to celebrate Jackson’s rich contribution to the fabric of music. Festivalgoers will experience 30 performances on 5 stages satisfying your senses with a Boomin’ …

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  • PRAIRIE ARTS FESTIVAL

    September 2, 2017 - September 2, 2017

    Held Labor Day Saturday every year in downtown West Point, this family-friendly event has more than 300 vendors of the best handmade crafts and juried fine arts in the South.

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  • 25TH ANNUAL MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST BLUES & HERITAGE FESTIVAL

    September 9, 2017 - September 9, 2017

    Blues festival featuring top blues entertainers. Enjoy music and food.

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  • 33RD ANNUAL DIAMONDHEAD ARTS & CRAFTS FAIR

    September 16, 2017 - September 17, 2017

    Check out one of the best fairs of its kind on the coast! More than 150 art, crafts, and unique gifts vendors and food stands under the trees at the Diamondhead Country Club. Prize raffle. Come inside for lunch specials in the club. Free shuttle from the Diamondhead Shopping Center both days.

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