Where You Can Honor Black History Month in Mississippi

There is no shortage of sites in the United States where visitors can relive pivotal moments in civil rights history. With the arrival of Black History Month, Americans are reflecting on the people and places that have played such a significant role in the nation’s journey toward civil justice.

Since the days of the Civil War, when decisive battles were fought in cities like Vicksburg and Corinth, the state of Mississippi has held a prominent place in the unfolding of black history in America.

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During the 20th century, Magnolia State witnessed the unprecedented large migration of African Americans out of the South and into other parts of the country; participated in the evolution of black culture and the founding musical genres to which it gave birth; and provided the scene for several incidents that instigated or proved pivotal to the civil rights movement of the 1950s–1960s.

Today, there are many well-preserved historic sites, museums, and cultural initiatives throughout the state of Mississippi dedicated to honoring individuals who have dedicated themselves to the struggle for social equality. If in February you want to get out and learn more about the important people and events that shaped Black American history, here are some of the key places where Mississippi commemorates his contributions.

Mississippi Freedom Trail

Part of the United States Civil Rights Trail, the Mississippi Freedom Trail is made up of 25 distinct sites that offer visitors an up-close perspective and deeper understanding of the people, places, and events that challenged the status quo and changed the world. ‘story.

A good place to start is the town of Jackson, where you’ll find markers at the Medgar Evers House, Greyhound Bus Station, Mississippi State Capitol, Council of Federated Organizations Civil Rights Education Center, Tougaloo College, Jackson State University, the site of the 1963 sit-in at Woolworth’s and others.

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The tour takes place at the Ida B. Wells-Barnett Museum in Holly Springs, part of the Mississippi Freedom Trail. (photo courtesy of Visit Mississippi)

Highlights of the trail include:

Bryant’s grocery store (Money) – This is where 14-year-old Emmett Till allegedly flirted with white shopkeeper Carolyn Bryant, which led to her brutal torture and murder by her husband and half-brother, who were acquitted of the crime, but later sold their confession to a magazine. The incident garnered national attention and is widely credited with stirring the civil rights movement.

Medgar Evers House Museum (Jackson) – This is the historic home where Medgar Evers, an outspoken social justice activist and supporter of voter registration, lived until he was brutally murdered in his own driveway on June 12, 1963 .

Hattiesburg Freedom Summer Trail 1964 (Hattiesburg) – This trail highlights and available audio tour commemorates the state’s largest “Freedom Summer” voter registration campaign. This helped raise national awareness, with Americans watching the events on the evening news or reading articles in the daily newspapers.

Mississippi Civil Rights Museum (Jackson) – Visitors to the museum gain a better understanding and insight into the Mississippi civil rights movement, and the strength and sacrifices of Mississippians who fought for equality. It features eight interactive exhibits that allow visitors to witness stories of systemic oppression and resistance efforts that ultimately transformed the state and the nation.

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Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. (photo courtesy of Visit Mississippi)

The Ida B. Wells-Barnett Museum (Holly Springs) – Located in the Spiers Bolling home, where the nationally and internationally recognized civil rights and women’s rights activist was born, this museum contains a collection of personal effects, awards and memorabilia from Wells-Barnett; as well as various artifacts of African-American historical value.

The Mississippi Blues Trail – This expansive trail, complete with 200 markers, represents an “unforgettable journey into the land that spawned the most important root source of modern popular music,” according to its website. The route takes visitors on an immersive exploration of the history of the blues through landmarks and places that influenced the men and women who shaped the genre, as well as museums dedicated to the art form. Highlights include:

— BB King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center (Indianola)

— Entrance gate of the Blues Museum and Visitors Center (Tunica Resorts)

— Delta Blues Museum (Clarksdale)

—Robert Johnson Heritage and Blues Museum (Crystal Springs)

— GRAMMY Mississippi Museum (Cleveland)

For more information, visit visitmississippi.org.