A cemetery connects us to our past quite like no other place, and Mississippi’s cemeteries have special significance. They are the final resting places of ordinary people who quietly lived their lives yet left a legacy; of people whose actions changed the course of history; and of those who left a lasting influence on global cultural heritage. Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Eudora Welty was laid to rest in Greenwood Cemetery (established 1821) in her hometown of Jackson. The grave of Nobel winner William Faulkner can be found in Oxford’s St. Peter’s Cemetery and is easily identified by the whiskey bottles left behind by his fans. Visit the three gravesites that claim to contain Blues legend Robert Johnson, and see if you can identify where he is truly buried. Civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer was laid to rest in a park setting in her hometown of Ruleville. The gravesite of Rev. George Lee, widely considered the first martyr of the civil rights movement, can be found in the beautiful cemetery next to Green Grove Baptist Church in his hometown of Belzoni.
Throughout the state are the graves of thousands of soldiers who lost their lives in America’s bloodiest conflict. These Civil War graves can be found in virtually any 19th century cemetery and in the endless acres of national cemeteries at Corinth, Vicksburg and Natchez. They can be found at Jefferson Davis’s last home, Beauvoir, and at Brice’s Crossroads. They are in unexpected places, as in the graves of unknown Union soldiers found on a wooded knoll near Highway 41, just off of the Natchez Trace. Friendship Cemetery in Columbus gave rise to Memorial Day after the Civil War, when the ladies of Columbus laid flowers on the graves of soldiers both Confederate and Union. Biloxi National Cemetery is the final resting place of veterans from all American conflicts. Whether you seek the final resting place of a noted American, that of a soldier who gave his life for his country, that of everyday Mississippians, or simply tranquility, connect with your past and that of America’s in Mississippi.