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.
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