Discover the events, the icons, and the places that have played a vital role in shaping the history of our city, as well as its present and its future. Walk in the footsteps of those that blazed the trail to equality and freedom, and changed the face of Jackson, and America, forever.
Medgar Evers House – 2332 Margaret Walker Alexander Drive
Contact: Minnie Watson 601-977-7939 – Minnie.firstname.lastname@example.org
Open by appointment only, No admission fee, but donations gratefully accepted.
The house is one of the first five designated sites on the Mississippi Freedom Trail. Home to slain Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers and his family. Evers was assassinated by a sniper’s bullet in the back on the carport of the house on June 12, 1963.
Freedom Corner – A monument dedicated to Medgar Evers and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., this site is a favorite group photo shoot opportunity. It is located at the intersection of Medgar Evers Boulevard and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive on the way to the Medgar Evers House.
Jackson State University – 1400 John R. Lynch Street
Jackson State University (JSU) is a historically black university that was founded in 1877 in Natchez, as Natchez Seminary, a private school, under the auspices of the American Baptist Home Mission Society of New York, to educate Mississippi's newly freed and underprivileged blacks. Today, well over 100 years later, JSU is officially designated the Urban University of the State of Mississippi.
Campus tours can be arranged by calling 601-979-2911.
Margaret Walker Center for the Study of the African-American Experience at Jackson State University
601-979-3935 email: www.jsums.edu/margaretwalkercenter
Both an archive and museum open to the public, the Margaret Walker Center is dedicated to the preservation, interpretation, and dissemination of the African-American experience. Permanent and rotating exhibits are on display. Visit the Jubilee Gift Shop for books, t-shirts, coffee mugs and other subject related items. The Center is located in the oldest and most historic building on campus, Ayers Hall.
Mississippi Freedom Trail Marker – Gibbs – Green Plaza
The monument is located in front of Alexander Hall where violence erupted during what started as a peaceful sit-in, staged in protest of the Vietnam War, and involving several hundred students and a large number of heavily armed State Police. At the end of that bloody evening, two young black men were dead and 12 others wounded.
The COFO Civil Rights Education Center – 1017 John R Lynch Street
601-979-4348 –Tours by appointment for groups www.jsums.edu/cofo.center
Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) was founded in 1961. Created as an umbrella organization for all civil right groups functioning in the state of Mississippi during the freedom struggle. Voter registration and education were their top priorities. COFO organized the voter registration project during Freedom Summer (1964). Get familiar with all of the student freedom action groups at this center.
Gallery 1 – One University Place, Suite 4 1100 John R. Lynch St - 601-979-9250
Gallery 1 at Jackson State University is Mississippi’s premier art gallery for the African Diasporic experience from pre-slavery to the present day. The gallery emphasizes the educational and historical accomplishments of the University by showcasing its permanent art collection. Gallery 1 also serves as a venue for local and national artists to showcase and sell their artwork. Located at One University Place, on the historic Lynch Street Corridor, Gallery 1 brings heritage, culture, and creativity to the Jackson State University campus and its surrounding areas.
Greyhound Bus Station Freedom Trail Marker – 219 Lamar Street - Drive-by
Now the offices of Robert Parker Adams, noted preservation architect, this building (circa 1937) has a rich and sometimes frightening past. On May 24, 1961, the second bus of Freedom Riders arrived at this station and was met by State Police. Riders were loaded into paddy wagons and taken to a temporary holding site at the Mississippi State Fair Grounds. Mr. Adams, then a student at Millsaps College, and, like many other Millsaps students of the time, was involved with trying to help the Freedom Riders and other Civil Rights activists. Later he bought the building, restored it to original splendor and now his firm is located there.
The Farish Street Historical District / Entertainment District – Currently, restoration efforts are on hold.
This 125-acre district is in the heart of downtown Jackson, and contains over 690 structures / sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Historic District, once the second largest Black Empowerment district in the nation (the first was Harlem in New York) was home to the urban African Americans and their families. It was the cultural and social hub for many Mississippians. Many of the marches and boycotts of the Civil Rights Movement in Jackson were planned and executed on these streets. Jackson’s first public school for blacks, now the Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center, played an enormous role in the formation of the roots of this area, and continues to serve the community and all of our visitors today.
A local guide can make the whole area come to life and help recreate the sights, sounds and emotions of its daily life.
Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center – 528 Bloom Street
Contact: Charisse Bester 601-960-1457
For a special treat, ask for Director Pamela Junior to conduct the tour. She makes the museum come alive.
The museum is housed in the first public school for black students in the Capital City and was commonly known as the “Mother School”. It is named for a former slave, Smith Robertson, a respected community leader, and Jackson’s first black city alderman. The museum houses several new permanent exhibits including – From Africa to Mississippi and The Medgar Wiley Evers Retrospective Exhibition and the Civil Rights Exhibit.
Tour time: 1 hour • Advance reservations required for groups of 10 or more.
Tougaloo College - 500 West County Line Road – 601-977-7905 – 1-888-42GALOO – www.tougaloo.edu
Situated on what was once the Boddie Plantation, Tougaloo College, a historically black, private, liberal arts institution, was founded in 1869. Located on a beautiful site with centuries-old magnolias and oaks, the college played a vital role in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s. Students of history will appreciate the Lillian Pierce Benbow Room of Special Collections in the Coleman Library where thousands of documents, tapes, photographs, and artifacts tell the story of the civil rights struggle.
The Boddie Mansion (1848) originally the plantation home now houses the College Administration offices
Woodworth Chapel (1901) built mostly with student labor
Recently restored, the chapel remains a center of religious life and cultural activity for the College and the surrounding community.
The Tougaloo Art Collection – over 1,000 pieces, including paintings, sculptures, wood carvings, and artifacts from around world. The African-American collection is considered one of the most exhaustive in the southeastern United States. Visit the art gallery in the new Bennie Thompson Building on campus.
Admission: Free / Donations accepted • Reservations required for groups • Interpretative guide available upon request
Beth Israel Congregation – 5315 Old Canton Road, 601-956-6215
Contact: Rabbi Valerie Cohen
Established in 1861, and currently housed in its third location, Beth Israel Synagogue played a pivotal role in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement. In 1967, the synagogue was bombed by the Ku Klux Klan and the home of the rabbi at the time, Rabbi Perry Nussbaum, was also bombed. Rabbi Nussbaum’s
founding in 1964 of the Committee of Concern, an inter-racial group of ministers that sought to raise money to rebuild burned and bombed churches, and his involvement with the Freedom Riders, led up to these bombings. When his house was bombed, the white citizens of Jackson took a stand and said “that’s enough, this has gone too far”. It was time to change. Since that time, Beth Israel Congregation has played a vital role in building a new racially just society in Jackson.
Other sites to consider as time allows
Find detailed information on these sites in the City with Soul Tour Guide or on our website at www.visitjackson.com Reservations for groups of 10 or more required at all sites listed below.
Tour the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion – Available for tours Tuesday – Friday mornings - Free
Mississippi State Capitol – Tours: Mon – Fri - Free
601-359-3114 Reserve a tour time
Eudora Welty House and Gardens – Admission Fee
Tours: Tues – Fri and 2nd Saturday of the month
Old Capitol Museum – Tours: Tue – Sun Closed Mon