3 On The Road: Mississippi Civil Rights Museum - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

3 On The Road: Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

There's no denying what happened in Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement not only changed this state, it changed a nation.

The struggle for freedom and equality came at a high price that so many were willing to pay and now their blood, sweat, tears and sacrifice can never be forgotten.

The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum does more than give visual images of the oppression and suffering endured by those who stood up against the system, it is about more than the fight for equality.  It is a journey that brings almost every emotion. 

Anger, grief, but also pride and victory.

READ MORE: The Two Museums Project

"Mississippi was ground zero in the civil rights movement," said Pamela Junior, Director of the museum. "As Bob Moses said, 'Mississippi was like a Tremor in the Iceberg'. So in order to learn about civil rights, human rights, come to Mississippi. Learn about what we did, how it happened."

"Now Mississippi is telling their own story," Junior added. "Yes, it's dark. "As I tell people, you're going down a dark tunnel from the time that you walk in, but by the time you walk out you see a light and in every tunnel there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And what that light is, where do we go from here, how we worked, what do we do as Mississippians to make Mississippi the best place that it can be."

Since March, Junior says she has taken in every moment of the construction, but there is one place that takes her back to the movement, back to the time when a woman, a sharecropper, who against all odds took on the establishment, even with the risk of death.

"There's a church and when you walk in guess who's singing? Fannie Lou Hamer. To hear her sing," said Junior. "This is the woman who was the last of 20 children who didn't have the best of education, but was smart, was strong, was fearless. To hear her voice permeating throughout that church is phenomenal for me."

Junior also says the museum is a learning tool for old and young alike of every race and background.

"When you get to the lynching monolith in Gallery 8, when you see the names of all these people. I call them martyrs, I call them heroes and sheroes," explained Junior. "You go through that, you're gonna cry, it's gonna tug at your heart and then I think about, I'm a soldier, I can do it. We all can do it. We have to be brave. We may have some fear, but when it comes to causes, you have to be brave and what I want people to do is stand up. These folks did! Stand up!"

Former Governor Haley Barbour began working with the state legislature in 2011 for funding and to make the two museums here a reality. 

Other state leaders including former Governor William Winter and Reuben Anderson also pushed for support.

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