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National Park Service meets with Mississippians as it examines key civil rights sites for possible designation

The National Park Service is meeting with Mississippians this week as it examines key civil rights sites for possible designation as a national park area. Source: WLBT The National Park Service is meeting with Mississippians this week as it examines key civil rights sites for possible designation as a national park area. Source: WLBT
The National Park Service is meeting with Mississippians this week as it examines key civil rights sites for possible designation as a national park area. Source: WLBT The National Park Service is meeting with Mississippians this week as it examines key civil rights sites for possible designation as a national park area. Source: WLBT
The National Park Service is meeting with Mississippians this week as it examines key civil rights sites for possible designation as a national park area. Source: WLBT The National Park Service is meeting with Mississippians this week as it examines key civil rights sites for possible designation as a national park area. Source: WLBT
The National Park Service is meeting with Mississippians this week as it examines key civil rights sites for possible designation as a national park area. Source: WLBT The National Park Service is meeting with Mississippians this week as it examines key civil rights sites for possible designation as a national park area. Source: WLBT
The National Park Service is meeting with Mississippians this week as it examines key civil rights sites for possible designation as a national park area. Source: WLBT The National Park Service is meeting with Mississippians this week as it examines key civil rights sites for possible designation as a national park area. Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The National Park Service is meeting with Mississippians this week as it examines key civil rights sites for possible designation as a national park area.       

“I am actually the daughter of Medgar and Myrlie Evers," said Reena Evers-Everette. "And you are right, this is personal.”

Reena Evers-Everette lived in the slain Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers’ landmark home in west Jackson as a child. Now the family home where her dad was assassinated in the driveway could soon get a new tag as a National Park unit.

“National Park Service, if you know nothing else, Mississippi is passionate about the people and we’re passionate about our history,” said Reena Evers-Everette.

But the civil rights leader’s daughter did have some concerns if that happens. Everything from parking and visitation in the neighborhood to staffing.

“How are you handling the staff?" questioned Evers-Everette. "The staff that is knowledgeable where they’re standing and knowledgeable about the area, so they can give correct information for educational purposes.”

Over in the Mississippi Delta, the store and courthouse related to the lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till is also on the list. 

“The Two Museums, it is great that it is being honored to Emmett, but it is not enough," said Till's cousin Priscilla Sterling. "I feel like all this is coming out because justice needs to be served now more than ever."

Currently, five state landmarks are on the list.

READ MORE: National Park Service Considers Mississippi Civil Rights Sites for Park Designation

Congress directed the National Park Service to conduct a study of those significant civil rights sites. Park officials have been hosting meetings to hear what the public has to say about the possible designation.

“The study itself is really focused on if these places made a specific criteria that then make them appropriate to be included or recommended to be included in the National Park system," said Ben West, southeast regional chief for planning. "The study will not designate the home or anything like that. It is only information to give to Congress or the president for later designation."

Several Mississippians at the meeting say this national tag could also mean more federal dollars, tourism and more attention to the sites that have helped shape history.

“Education will be the main benefit," said Deputy State Historic Preservation officer Ken P'Pool. "Of course, there are economic benefits as well. Heritage tourism is one of the largest industries of our state and in the nation. People travel to see sites where history happened and we have some amazing events of history that happened in Mississippi.”

National Park officials say the study could take up to two years.

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