Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Mississippi Museum of Civil Rights


  In 1964 Mississippi was ground zero in the civil rights movement due to the Freedom Summer Project. At the time more than a third of Mississippians were black but only only 6.7% of eligible black voters were registered. The Freedom Summer Project recruited northern college students (mostly white) to work with black residents to organize voting drives, to establish a new political party that would represent the black population, and to form Freedom Schools to teach history and politics. The students and local participants were met with violence and intimidation. The beatings, jail time, bombings, cross burnings, and the horrific  kidnapping and murder of three young men, James Chaney, Mickey Schwerner and Andrew Goodman shocked the world and led to the passage of The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

IMG_0452 (2)IMG_0451

  This is a very good museum that covers all aspects of the civil rights movement. The exhibits start with a short history of slavery before moving onto the failure of reconstruction; the increasing restrictive Jim Crow laws; the enormous number of lynchings; the infiltration of the government and law enforcement by the Citizens Council and KKK; and the struggles to gain equal treatment and access to jobs, housing, recreation, schooling, transportation, and retail establishments.



  For an overview of Mississippi history visit the adjoining Museum of Mississippi History. We went to this museum first to have a better understanding of the early history of the state.

  The museum is accessible.

   RVs can be parked along North Street. The sidewalk of the museum block is in good condition. We had to park a block north in front of a church and the curb cuts in that section are in bad shape. Wheelchair users who do not have assistance will probably have to wheel down the street.  Museum   32.3013, -90.1789



  1. Mississippi has such a poor reputation for so many things I was surprised with the quality of the rest areas on I-10 when we passed through the last time.
    The nice rest areas really surprised me, I guess I let the state's reputation prejudice my outlook.

    1. Yes, the rest areas are really nice. Can;t say the same thing for a lot of the roads though! :-D

      Mississippi isn't exactly a tourist wonderland but we have enjoyed visiting Jackson. Both of the museums are very good but it's kind of strange that Mississippi did not have a state history museum until funding was approved for the Civil Rights museum. I guess they decided that they had to tell the stories of their state whether people wanted to admit what had happened in the past or not.

  2. The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis opened in 1991, the year I moved to Arkansas...but my kids were too young back then (oldest was 5), so we waited until they were older and made a day of it over in Memphis...what an impact it has on people. As for Jackson, I have traveled through it many times, but never stopped to see the sights.

    1. We visited the museum in Memphis years ago and found it very moving.

      I didn't realize that it had been so long ago! I don't even have a post about it or most of the other sites. Looks like we have to stop in Memphis on our way north.

  3. I shudder when I think of all the horror and heartache black Mississippians went through -- but in order for it to be accurate, it has to tell it like it was! The museum would be a hard one for me to go through. Maybe someday we'll stop by Jackson again.

    1. I'm glad that the history is not being ignored but you are right - some parts of the museum are very hard to view. I skipped a few sections.