Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

Mississippi Unbound: Race Against Time

Renowned investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell will join us for a live discussion featuring his new book, Race Against Time, the undercover story behind the reopenings of four notorious civil rights cases: the assassination of Medgar Evers in Jackson, the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, the murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner in Neshoba County, and the fatal firebombing of Vernon Dahmer Sr. in Hattiesburg.

The Two Mississippi Museums Celebrate Life of Fannie Lou Hamer, Offer Free Admission

Civil rights icon Fannie Lou Hamer was born October 6, 1917. In honor of Hamer’s birthday, admission to the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum will be free on Tuesday, October 6. Museum staff will highlight Hamer’s life and legacy through guided tours at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

“We honor Fannie Lou Hamer’s legacy daily at the Two Mississippi Museums,” said Pamela D.C. Junior, director of the Two Mississippi Museums. “We are offering free admission to the museums so people can learn more about this humble woman who gave of herself to uplift and strengthen her people.”

Born in 1917 in Montgomery County, Hamer worked for most of her life as a sharecropper. In 1962, she joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and encouraged African Americans to register to vote. Hamer was a founding member of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), which challenged the seating of the regular party’s all-white delegation.

Hamer’s powerful testimony to the credentials committee during the 1964 Democratic National Convention is featured in the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. The MFDP challenge forced the Democratic Party to eventually embrace diversity and forever changed American politics.

Visitors are required to wear masks and observe social distancing guidelines. Masks are available on-site. All public spaces are sanitized and thoroughly cleaned throughout the day. Hand sanitizing stations are provided and staff are on-site to ensure that social distancing guidelines are maintained.

Regular museum hours are Tuesday-Saturday 9 a.m.–4 p.m. The museums are open free of charge on Sundays, noon–4 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to purchase their tickets online at tickets.mdah.ms.gov.

The museums are located at 222 North Street in Jackson. For more information email info@mdah.ms.gov.


#UndertheLight: Chinese in Jim Crow Mississippi

The 2020 #UndertheLight series continues with an online discussion of the discrimination against the Chinese during Jim Crow in Mississippi featuring guest lecturer Adrienne Berard, research communications specialist at the College of William & Mary in Virginia and author of Water Tossing Boulders: How a Family of Chinese Immigrants Led the First Fight to Desegregate Schools in the Jim Crow South. The presentation will also include a virtual tour through the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum's A Closed Society gallery.

History Is Lunch July 22 to feature Felder Rushing “Over and Under the Fence: Historic Passalong Plants as Social Glue”

Felder Rushing Passalong Plants

At noon on Wednesday, July 22, as part of the History Is Lunch series, Felder Rushing will present “Over and Under the Fence: Historic Passalong Plants as Social Glue.”

For centuries, flowers, vegetables, and herbs that survive on little care and are easily propagated have been shared across social lines—both in the open and underground.

“Those plants conjure historic events and places,” Rushing said. “The stories of some are more astounding than anything Welty or Faulkner could have imagined.”

Rushing, a garden journalist with an international reputation, is this summer quarantined in his beloved Mississippi cottage rather than at his usual summer home in England. His presentation will explore plants and garden habits that mark otherwise diverse Mississippians as part of a unique cultural whole.

“Plants don't care how your mama’n’them are,” Rushing said. “More than anything else—even more than food, music, sports, and religion—plants connect people both in the present and to their past.”

Felder Rushing, a retired horticulture professor whose ancestors have been bringing plants into Mississippi since in the 1770s, has written more than two dozen garden books, thousands of newspaper columns, and numerous articles in national magazines. The prolific garden lecturer is the longtime host of Mississippi Public Broadcasting's weekly Gestalt Gardener program.

This program is made possible by the Mississippi Humanities Council through their Speakers Bureau. Learn more about the group at mshumanities.org.


Nissan Offers Free Admission to State History, Civil Rights Museums July 18

Nissan is supporting free admission to the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum Saturday, July 18. Admission will also include the special exhibit Mississippi Distilled: Prohibition, Piety, and Politics.

“We are thankful to Nissan for their continued generosity and support,” said Katie Blount, director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. “We will provide a safe experience for all visitors that take advantage of this opportunity to explore the museums.”

In a continuing effort to stem the spread of COVID-19, visitors will be required to wear masks, which 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. A limited number of visitors will be allowed inside at one time. Visitors are encouraged to purchase their tickets online at tickets.mdah.ms.gov.

“Nissan believes that education promotes conversations, conversations enable understanding, and understanding builds community. Building respect and greater civic spirit within our communities is needed now more than ever, “said Parul Bajaj, senior manager, Philanthropy, Nissan North America, Inc. “We are honored to welcome our neighbors across Mississippi to the museums on July 18.”

Since opening its doors in 2003, Nissan’s assembly plant in Canton, Mississippi has donated more than $15 million and worked more than 8,000 volunteer hours to support 200 nonprofit organizations in the Great Jackson area. The facility employs nearly 6,000 employees who build the Nissan Altima, Murano, Frontier, TITAN and TITAN XD, NV Cargo and NV Passenger vehicles.

The museums will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 18. They are located at 222 North Street in Jackson. For more information email info@mdah.ms.gov.

History is Lunch July 15 to feature Scott Barretta's "Music on the Gold Coast during Prohibition"

At noon on Wednesday, July 15, as part of the History Is Lunch series Scott Barretta will present “Music on the Gold Coast during Prohibition.” The presentation is in conjunction with the opening of the new Mississippi Distilled exhibit at the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.

Located in Rankin County just across the Pearl River from downtown Jackson, the Gold Coast was infamous for bootlegging from the 1930s through the 1960s.

“The strip of nightclubs along Fannin Road run by and catering to African Americans, who referred to the district as ‘across the river,’ is lesser known,” said Barretta. “That area was particularly active from the late '40s to the mid '50s, when the chitlin’ circuit—the national network of African American clubs—was taking off, and alongside the venues catering to larger acts were dozens of local clubs and bootlegers.”

Eventually much of the nightclub activity in the region moved to Highway 49 north of the city limits, where enforcement of alcohol laws was likewise lax.

A resident of Greenwood, Barretta is a writer and researcher for the Mississippi Blues Trail, the host of Highway 61 on Mississippi Public Broadcasting, and a sociology instructor at the University of Mississippi. He was a recipient of a Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2016.

This program is made possible by the Mississippi Historical Society. Learn more about the group at mississippihistory.org.

The streaming-only program will take place at noon on Wednesday, July 15. It will be shown live on the Mississippi Department of Archives and History’s Facebook page— https://www.facebook.com/MDAHOfficial —and uploaded afterwards to the MDAH YouTube channel— https://www.youtube.com/MDAHVideo, as well as being available here.


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