— Mississippi Freedom Trail —
William Chapel Missionary Baptist Church
This church, for decades a place where disenfranchised people gathered to affirm their worth through their faith, became a regular meeting place of civil rights organizers. Today it stands as a symbol of the freedom struggles of the Mississippi Delta. Fannie Lou Hamer attended what was known as a "mass meeting" here in August 1962 to hear workers from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). They had come to Ruleville in Sunflower County, one of the most intractable areas of segregation, to spread the news of voter registration
The Rev. J. D. Story, pastor of William Chapel during this turbulent time (1966-1979), was a courageous freedom fighter in his own right. Encouraging civil rights organizations to hold meetings there when other churches feared being firebombed, he was revered for always saying, "The doors of the church are open." Mass meetings were held every Friday at 7:30 p.m. for a number of years, and the church was in fact firebombed after a civil rights rally in June 1964. Mrs. Mary Tucker, a prominent figure in the Sunflower Freedom Movement, was one of the founding trustees.
Erected 2018 by Mississippi Development Authority Tourism Division. (Marker Number 26.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Churches & Religion • Civil Rights. In addition, it is included in the Mississippi Freedom Trail series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1922.
Location. 33° 43.998′ N, 90° 32.743′ W. Marker is in Ruleville, Mississippi, in Sunflower County. Marker is at the intersection of O B Avenue and Elisha and Everette Langdon Street, on the right when traveling north on O B Avenue. Located at William Chapel Missionary Baptist Church. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 915 Elisha and Everette Langdon St, Ruleville MS 38771, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Fannie Lou Hamer (approx. 0.3 miles away); a different marker also named Fannie Lou Hamer (approx. 0.3 miles away); Ruleville Depot (approx. 0.6 miles away); Jimmy Rogers (approx. 0.6 miles away); "Greasy Street" (approx. 0.6 miles away); Birthplace of the Blues? (approx. 4.1 miles away); Dockery Plantation (approx. 4.1 miles away); Drew, Mississippi (approx. 5.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Ruleville.
Credits. This page was last revised on May 30, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 29, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 289 times since then and 138 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on May 29, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.