The City of Jackson still requires facial coverings as part of the "Mayor's Safe Recovery Jackson Order," now in effect.
CIVIL RIGHTS HERITAGE TOUR
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. Use the Civil Rights Google Map to find notable sites listed below.
Civil Rights Itinerary
- Mississippi Civil Rights Museum - 222 North Street
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. The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum shares the stories of a Mississippi movement that changed the nation. The museum promotes a greater understanding of the Mississippi Civil Rights movement and its impact by highlighting the strength and sacrifices of its peoples. Visitors will witness the freedom struggle in eight interactive galleries that show the systematic oppression of black Mississippians and their fight for equality that transformed the state and nation. Seven of the galleries encircle a central space called “This Little Light of Mine.” There, a dramatic sculpture glows brighter and the music of the Movement swells as visitors gather. The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum welcomes groups of up to 200 people. Reservations are encouraged. email@example.com • 601-576-6800
- Medgar Evers House – 2332 Margaret Walker Alexander Drive
Not currently open to tours, public or private, the house is one of the first five designated sites on the Mississippi Freedom Trail. Designated a National Monument by the National Park Service, the house belonged to slain Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers and his family. He served as the state’s first field secretary of the NAACP. Evers was assassinated by a sniper’s bullet in the back in 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 photoshoot 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 late, JSU is officially designated the Urban University of the State of Mississippi. Campus tours can be arranged by calling 601-979-2911.
Other sites of interest on the campus:
- Margaret Walker Center for The Study of The African-American Experience at Jackson State University
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. 601-979-3935 • jsums.edu/margaretwalkercenter
- 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
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. 601-979-4348 • Tours by appointment for groups - jsums.edu/cofo
- Gallery 1 – One University Place, Suite 4
Gallery 1 at Jackson State University is Mississippi’s premier art gallery for the African Diasporic experience from pre-slavery to 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. 1100 John R. Lynch St • 601-979-9250
- 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 Historic 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
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. Advance reservations required for groups of 10 or more. 601-960-1457 • jacksonms.gov
Tougaloo College - 500 West County Line Road
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 1960s. 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. 601-977-7905 or 1-888-42GALOO • tougaloo.edu
Other sites of interest on the campus:
- The Boddie Mansion (1848) originally the plantation home now houses the College Administration offices
- Woodworth Chapel (1901) built mostly with student labor and 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.
Other sites to consider as time allows.
Reservations for groups of 10 or more required at all sites listed below.
- Beth Israel Congregation – 5315 Old Canton Road
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. 601-956-6215 • Rabbi Valerie Cohen
- Mississippi Governor’s Mansion – Tours: Tuesday – Friday mornings – (Free) 601-359-6421
- Mississippi State Capitol – Tours: Mon – Fri (Free) 601-359-3114 to reserve a tour time
- Eudora Welty House and Gardens (Admission Fee) Tours Tues – Fri and 2nd Saturday of the month 601-353-7762
- Old Capitol Museum – Tours: Tue-Sun (Closed Monday) 601-576-6920