Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

MDAH Museums & Library Schedule Beginning Tuesday, July 7

On Tuesday, July 7, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) will reopen the Eudora Welty House & Garden, Museum of Mississippi History, Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, and William F. Winter Archives and History Building in Jackson, and the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians in Natchez.

COVID safety precautions at each site will include requiring all visitors to wear masks and observe social distancing guidelines. Masks will be available on-site. All public spaces have been sanitized, and thorough cleaning will continue every day. Staff will be on-site to ensure that social distancing guidelines are maintained. 

A list of sites and their hours is below. 

Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum
222 North Street, Jackson

Hours are Tuesday–Saturday 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to purchase their tickets online at tickets.mdah.ms.gov. Due to safety precautions for COVID-19, the maximum number of people per group is twenty. Groups must follow social distancing guidelines and remain six feet apart from all guests, including each other. 


Eudora Welty House & Garden

Hours are Tuesday–Friday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m., with tours at 9 and 11 a.m., and 1 and 3 p.m. Tours will be by reservation only. Due to safety precautions for COVID-19 the maximum capacity is two guests per tour. To make a reservation, call 601-353-7762 or email tours@eudoraweltyhouse.com.


State Archives Library 

Hours are Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Appointments are recommended for research in the Archival and Media Reading Rooms. Available appointment times are 9–11 a.m., 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m., and 2–4 p.m. Call 601-576-6837 during working hours to schedule a time. Patrons without an appointment will be accommodated as space allows.


Grand Village of the Natchez Indians

Hours are Tuesday–Saturday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Due to safety precautions for COVID-19, the maximum capacity for the Visitor Center is fifteen visitors at one time. Admission is free.
 

Retirement of the Former Mississippi State Flag

On June 30, 2020, Governor Tate Reeves signed House Bill 1796, which establishes a commission to redesign the Mississippi state flag. According to the legislation, the removal of the former official state flag shall take place not later than fifteen days from the effective date of this act.

On Wednesday, July 1, Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann and House Speaker Philip Gunn presented MDAH with the last flags to fly over the state capitol. The flags will be added to the permanent collection.

The Mississippi Code does not provide guidelines for flag retirement ceremonies, but according to Mississippi Code Section 3-3-15, “The state flag shall receive all of the respect and ceremonious etiquette given the American flag.”

Organizations that receive flags for dignified and respectful removal include local fire departments, American Legion posts, Veterans of Foreign Wars posts, and the Boy Scouts of America. In some cases, local history museums may accept donations of flags.

MDAH To Reopen Museums & Library in July

On Tuesday, July 7, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) will reopen the Eudora Welty House & Garden, Museum of Mississippi History, Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, and William F. Winter Archives and History Building in Jackson, and the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians in Natchez.

“We are excited to reopen our museums and welcome the public at this historic moment. As our nation deals with COVID-19, economic hardship, and the legacy of racial injustice, MDAH has an ever more important role to play,” said Reuben Anderson, president of the MDAH Board of Trustees. “Our archives and museums document and teach about epidemics, recessions, and other crises in our past that we have overcome together. They also teach about the history of racial injustice in America from the days of slavery through the Civil Rights Movement.”

Anderson continued, “By helping build a shared understanding of our history, we are strengthening our resolve, uniting our people, and paving the way for a brighter future together.”

In a continuing effort to stem the spread of COVID-19, each site will limit the number of visitors inside. Visitors will be required to wear masks, and masks will be available on site. All the public spaces have been sanitized, and thorough cleaning will continue every day. Staff will be on site to ensure that social distancing guidelines are maintained. Visitors are encouraged to purchase their tickets online to the Eudora Welty House & Garden, Museum of Mississippi History, and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.

“We are especially eager to welcome visitors to our brand new exhibit at the Two Mississippi Museums—Mississippi Distilled—which explores our state’s tumultuous relationship with alcohol,” said MDAH director Katie Blount. “As soon as it is safe to gather in larger numbers, we will celebrate this exhibit with a series of public events.”

The popular Wednesday noon lecture series History Is Lunch continues online—viewers will find the programs on the MDAH Facebook page.

For more information email info@mdah.ms.gov.

Mississippi Justice: Then and Now

At noon on Wednesday, June 10, as part of the department’s History Is Lunch series, Wilma Mosley Clopton will present “Mississippi Justice: Then and Now.” The streaming-only program will be shown live on the Mississippi Department of Archives and History’s Facebook page and uploaded to the MDAH YouTube channel afterwards.

The program will feature a screening of Clopton’s new film Mississippi Justice, which examines a 1951 murder in Pike County. “Hattie Lee Barnes was a twenty-year-old African American who shot and killed a white male from a prominent family,” said Clopton. The film draws on trial records and interviews to depict the case’s twists and turns.

In less than three weeks after the shooting Barnes was indicted, entered a not guilty plea, and was on trial for murder. Joe Pigott, PIke County’s newest and most inexperienced public defender, was appointed as Barnes’s attorney. “According to our research the courtroom was overflowing with onlookers, and the spite and anger for Ms. Barnes was obvious,” said Clopton. “That same spite and anger was equally as obvious for Mr. Pigott as he defended this black woman who killed a respected member of the white community.”

Following the screening Clopton will be joined in a panel discussion by Pauline Rogers, co-founder and president of Reaching and Educating for Community Hope, and Regina Quinn, a partner in the May Law Firm, PLLC.

Production of the film Mississippi Justice was made possible by contributions from the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Institute, Women for Progress of Mississippi, Inc., the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, One Voice, the Jackson Branch of the NAACP, and the Mississippi Humanities Council.

Wilma Mosley Clopton is a graduate of the University of Mississippi Filmmaking Workshop and the Barefoot Filmmakers Workshop. Her body of work to date includes twelve short films, four books, one play, and the Margaret Walker Alexander coloring book for children. Clopton is the recipient of the 2011 Mississippi Humanities Council Educator Award, the 2014 Mississippi Arts Commission Media Fellowship Award, the 2013 and 2015 Mississippi Film and Video Alliance’s “Emerging Filmmaker Award.” Her work has been recognized by the Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University, the Mississippi Historical Society, and Women for Progress of Mississippi, Inc.

History Is Lunch is broadcast from the Craig H. Neilsen Auditorium in the Two Mississippi Museums—the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum—in Jackson. For more information call 601-576-6998 or email cgoodwin@mdah.ms.gov.

Grand Army of the Republic in Mississippi

At noon on Wednesday, June 3, as part of the department’s History Is Lunch series, Jeff Giambrone will present “’Pledged to One Country and One Flag’: The Grand Army of the Republic in Mississippi.” The streaming-only program will be shown live on the Mississippi Department of Archives and History’s Facebook page and uploaded to the MDAH YouTube channel afterwards.

The Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) was the largest and most influential Civil War veterans organization in the United States. Membership peaked in 1890 with more than 400,000 men in 7,000 posts across the country.

“In Mississippi the organization was caught up in the tumultuous politics of the Reconstruction Era as African American veterans fought to establish their own posts,” Giambrone said. “All told there were 23 known Grand Army of the Republic camps in Mississippi, most of which were African American.”

The G.A.R. posts were active in their communities, perpetuating the memory of those who fought for the Union through parades, Memorial Day observances, and lectures. The group also used its influence to advocate with the government for pensions and soldiers homes to aid its members.

“The Grand Army of the Republic left a legacy of honorable service to the country, and many descendants of its members still live in Mississippi today,” said Giambrone.

Jeff T. Giambrone is a native of Bolton. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Mississippi State University and a master’s in history from Mississippi College. Giambrone works as a reference librarian in the state archives. He is the author of four books: Beneath Torn and Tattered Flags: A Regimental History of the 38th Mississippi Infantry, C.S.A.; An Illustrated Guide to the Vicksburg Campaign and National Military Park; Remembering Mississippi's Confederates; and Vicksburg and the War, co-authored with Gordon Cotton. His articles have appeared in North South Civil War Magazine, Military Images Magazine, Civil War Monitor, and North South Trader's Civil War Magazine.

For more information email cgoodwin@mdah.ms.gov or call 601-576-6998.

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