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

3 On The Road: Modern Era Civil Rights Museum

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

Mississippi's history is often controversial when it comes to civil rights, so when you visit the new Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, you may want to bring a tissue because it will be a very emotional experience.   

You walk into the early history 1619 to 1865 for background.

As you move on to the modern civil rights history of the Magnolia State in this museum, you experience why Mississippi is often referred to as "ground zero" of America's reckoning with human dignity.

"So, the story in the second gallery is a really heavy, tough," said Stephanie Morrisey of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

Compelling and inspirational images of Fannie Lou Hamer and Bob Moses at the Democratic National Convention in 1964, rarely seen film of activists risking their lives to do things we take for granted today, like checking out a book and studying at Jackson's library, trying to attend the state fair or have a meal at the Woolworth's lunch counter - events that incurred the wrath of hateful people and police intervention.

And the darkness of the stories and images of homegrown terrorism by hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan, the Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner murders, the assassination of Medgar Evers and more.

"The history of the civil rights movement is a disturbing history, so what I tell people is that we go into this dark tunnel in Mississippi here history 1945 to 1975 and then we come out to see the light and the light was the many people who came here and made a difference for the state of Mississippi," said Museum Director Pamela Junior. "As Bob Moses said that the civil rights movement was like a tremor in the iceberg, so they came into Mississippi and they were able to break Mississippi and bring a change about to this state."

Junior told me the most compelling exhibit for her are the lynching monoliths - black towers filled with names and dates of people. Black and white murdered, often with justice denied.

"It reminds me of being at the war memorial," Junior. "We just can't just etch their, you know, shave their names, but this is amazing." 

You will be moved, often to tears, by the exhibits in this museum, but you will emerge with an education and comfort in the knowledge that Mississippi's history is preserved truthfully and accurately.

"And for a Mississippian to say they wanted to do it right, then I think it was the best thing to do is to have a state operated museum here where people can come and learn more about the history of what happened in the state of Mississippi," Junior added. "You know you can go everywhere else and they do this national time line of the history of the civil rights movement, but to be in a place, the state of Mississippi where it is authentic and truthful. I think it's a wonderful thing that has happened for us."

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