Jackson in Hinds County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
Jackson Municipal Library Sit-In
—Mississippi Freedom Trail —
On March 27, 1961, nine African American Tougaloo students quietly sat in at the Jackson Municipal Library, which served only white patrons. Police ordered them to Carver Library, the "colored" library, and when they refused, arrested them. Large public protests were held at Jackson State University and in front of the city jail, and violence erupted on the day of their trial. The library sit-in inspired activity by black youth across the state to integrate public parks, swimming pools, stores, and movie theaters.
The Jackson Municipal Library Nine members of the Tougaloo Southern Christian College NAACP youth council-Meredith Anding, Jr., James "Sammy" Bradford, Alfred Cook, Geraldine Edwards, Janice Jackson, Joseph Jackson, Jr., Albert Lassiter, Evelyn Pierce, and Ethel Sawyer—carefully planned their March 27, 1961, sit-in at the Jackson Public Library. They held training sessions in nonviolent resistance and alerted the press about the time, place, and purpose of their action. They knew that the public library, supported by taxes of both black and white citizens, had no legal right to refuse them service.
After stopping by Carver Library, the small and inadequate "colored branch" to ask for books they knew were not available there, they moved
Support for the students spread quickly, and Jackson State University students Dorie and Joyce Ladner, working with NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers, organized a sympathy prayer meeting in front of the library at 7 p.m. Nearly 700 people were gathered there when president Jacob Reddix arrived, anxious about future funding for his state-supported school, and ordered the students back to the campus. The next day JSU students boycotted classes and staged a rally, then began a march towards the city jail, where the nine Tougaloo students were meeting with their supportive president, Dr. Daniel Beittel, who was white. A line of police greeted them, with clubs, tear gas, and police dogs. The next day the New York Times featured coverage of the sit-in and violence prominently.
On March 28, as crowds gathered outside during the trial, violence continued. Medgar Evers was among many assaulted during a police riot and later described the beating of men and women by police with clubs and pistols. The Tougaloo students were quickly convicted, fined $100 each,
The Tougaloo Nine's activism inspired African American protests, especially among young people, around the state. They organized protests against segregated public parks, swimming pools, stores, and movie theaters. Myrlie Evers later wrote that a "change of tide in Mississippi" began with the Jackson Library sit-in.
Erected 2017 by the Mississippi Development Authority Tourism Division. (Marker Number 25.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Freedom Trail marker series.
Location. 32° 18.096′ N, 90° 10.804′ W. Marker is in Jackson, Mississippi, in Hinds County. Marker is on North State Street south of Mississippi Street, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 301 North State Street, Jackson MS 39201, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. First Presbyterian Church (a few steps from this marker); The Eagle and Bowman Hotels (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Galloway Memorial United Methodist Church (about 800 feet away); Galloway Memorial Smith Park (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Mississippi Liberty Bell (approx. 0.2 miles away); Monument to Women of the Confederacy (approx. 0.2 miles away); Mississippi's Old Capitol (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Jackson.
Also see . . .
1. Mississippi Development Authority article on dedication of marker. (Submitted on October 27, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
2. Wikipedia article on the Tougaloo Nine. (Submitted on October 27, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
Categories. • African Americans • Arts, Letters, Music • Civil Rights •
Credits. This page was last revised on March 24, 2018. This page originally submitted on October 27, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 87 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on October 27, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.