Our Day At Jackson, MS Civil Rights Heritage Tour
You can’t visit Jackson, Mississippi without joining a Civil Rights Heritage tour. This is a very popular tourist activity that will help educate people about the events, icons and places that have played an important role in the formation of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. Our stay in Jackson climaxed with a day’s tour of the most prominent Civil Rights locations.
Our tour began in the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum where you can discover vital turning points in the history of the city in relation to the Civil Rights Movement. We walked in the footsteps of those who braved the movement towards equality and freedom that changed the life of millions of lives in Jackson and in the rest of the country. The museum offers a closer look at the lives of people during the time with stories about the movement and promotion of the greater understanding of the impact of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement.
There are eight interactive galleries that show the oppression of black Mississippians as well as their fight for equality. “This Little Light of Mine” is a showcase in the middle of the galleries; this dramatic sculpture shines brighter while the music of the movement is heard. We had to make a reservation before we headed to this museum.
The next venue in our tour was the Medgar Evers House which is one of the first five designated sites on the Mississippi Freedom Trail. This is home to the Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers and his family. Evers was the first field secretary of the NAACP and was assassinated by a bullet at the back in this house on June 12, 1963. There was no admission fee to enter but our group made donations for the maintenance of the site.
Our next stop was Jackson State University in Lynch Street. JSU is a historically black university founded in 1877 in Natchez. It aimed to educate the newly-freed and underprivileged blacks in Mississippi during that time. The place is now officially designated as the Urban University of the State of Mississippi. We checked out the Margaret Walker Center for the Study of The African Experience at the Jackson State University, a museum open to the public inside the JSU. Here we found exhibits on display and brought books, shirts and other souvenirs.
The Mississippi Freedom Trail Marker is also found on campus at the Green Plaza in front of Alexander Hall. This is where violence started during a peaceful protest of the Vietnam War. This event involved hundreds of students and a large number of State Police who were heavily armed. After what happened, two black men were dead and 12 were heavily wounded. We paid tribute to the people who perished here by saying a short prayer.
Our tour concluded with a visit to the Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center at Bloom Street. This was the first public school for black students and was also known as the “Mother School.” This school was named after a former slave Smith Robertson who was a community leader and the first black city alderman in Jackson. We were lucky to check out the Civil Rights Exhibit and The Medgar Wiley Evers Retrospective Exhibition.
The tour took almost a day so we advise that you wear comfortable shoes and stay hydrated as you move from one venue to another. All-in-all, the Civil Rights Heritage Tour was truly worth the wait.