Historic destinations in Mississippi showcase the civil rights movement
Mississippi played a prominent role in the civil rights movement. It’s where both major struggles and major victories were experienced during the quest for freedom, and that history can be traced throughout the Magnolia State thanks to significant historical spots still available to visit today.
Civil Rights Museum
Civil rights history comes alive at the Civil Rights Museum in Jackson. Through these walls, visitors learn more about the stories of incredible Mississippians such as Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer and Vernon Dahmer. Visitors can see what the movement’s struggles were like through numerous interactive galleries that illustrate the oppression of Black Mississippians and their fight for equality.
Medgar Evers Home
Medgar Evers, the first field secretary for the NAACP, was assassinated at his home in Jackson on June 12, 1963. Today, his home is a museum that shares the stories, struggles, and sacrifices of Evers and the entire civil rights movement.
Emmett Till Interpretive Center
The lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till is a case that was heard around the world and largely credited for the start of the civil rights movement. In Sumner, visitors can tour the Tallahatchie County Courthouse, where Till’s murderers were acquitted, and tour the Emmett Till Interpretive Center, which sits across the street and shares the story.
Ida B. Wells Museum
Ida B. Wells-Barnett was born into an enslaved family, but after emancipation, she went on to become a teacher, journalist, and public speaker. She was known as a crusader for justice for not only African Americans but also women, and she even was one of the two women who signed “the call” for the formation of the NAACP. She was born in the Spires Bolling House in Holly Springs, and today the landmark is home to the Ida B. Wells-Barnett Museum.
Mt. Zion United Methodist Church
Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Philadelphia is where members of the Ku Klux Klan harassed and beat congregants and then set fire to the church on June 16, 1964. When three civil rights workers traveled to the church site soon after to secure affidavits about the vicious crimes, they were murdered, as well. The church was eventually rebuilt, and today it houses plaques to pay tribute to not only its murdered congregants, but also to the brave civil rights workers.
Natchez is home to Longwood, a National Historic Landmark that was built by enslaved men and women. The largest octagonal house in the country, much of the mansion’s construction was stopped when the Civil War began in 1861, so the upper floors remain unfinished still today. The main living quarters on the first floor feature original furnishings and provide a glimpse into what life was like for the family who lived there.
Forks of the Road
Natchez is home to the site that was once the second largest domestic slave market in the South, Forks of the Road. Thousands of men, women, and children were brought through the site in chains to be bought and sold in the slave market. Now a National Historic Landmark, Forks in the Road shares the story about the domestic slave trade and the plight of many of its victims.