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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
 
 

Mississippi, Meridian Civil Rights Trail Historical Markers

"Although the dark days of this period continue to define Mississippians to the rest of the world, Freedom Summer workers remember Mississippi as a catalyst for change. The Meridian Civil Rights Trail acknowledges this painful past and celebrates those who fought for a brighter future.
 
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By Mark Hilton, December 3, 2017
African American Business District Marker
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 1 — African American Business District — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
The African-American Business District provided services that Meridian’s black community could not otherwise receive due to Jim Crow laws that kept the South segregated. It was the location of a hotel, restaurants, barber and beauty shops, a . . . — Map (db m111048) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 15 — Council of Organizations — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
The Council of Organizations is a nonprofit association that promotes social, cultural and educational interests of the African-American community. The building was formerly an IGA grocery that was picketed during the Civil Rights movement. — Map (db m111078) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 5 — Federal Courthouse — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
The Federal Courthouse in Meridian was the site of two of the most significant legal actions in Civil Rights history: the filing of James Meredith's lawsuit to integrate the University of Mississippi in 1961 and the infamous "Mississippi Burning" . . . — Map (db m111056) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 17 — First Union Missionary Baptist Church — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
Founded in 1891, First Union Missionary Baptist Church served as a meeting place for numerous Civil Rights activities. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke here during the Freedom Summer of 1964. Weeks later, First Union was the site of activist James . . . — Map (db m111084) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 7 — Freedom Riders — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
Freedom Riders traveled through the Meridian bus station without major incident, thanks to negotiation efforts by local Civil Rights activists and police. Their experience was unlike that in other cities, where they faced mob violence and arrests. — Map (db m111066) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 14 — Freedom School — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
In the summer of 1964, dozens of Freedom Schools opened across Mississippi. The largest was located at Meridian Baptist Seminary. It provided additional education opportunities to the African-American community and hosted the statewide Freedom . . . — Map (db m111077) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 8 — McLemore Cemetery — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
Meridian's oldest cemetery was founded by Richard McLemore, Meridian's first permanent white settler, in 1839. Buried here are many of the approximately 30 victims who died during the Meridian Race Riot of 1871. The riot signaled the end of the . . . — Map (db m111067) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 9 — Newell Chapel CME — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
Newell Chapel CME Church was involved in Civil Rights meetings and voter registration projects. It was one of three original locations of the Head Start program. The church parsonage was bombed by the Ku Klux Klan in 1968. — Map (db m111068) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 16 — Old Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
Folk singer and political activist Pete Seeger was performing for a large crowd of Freedom Summer volunteers when he received word that the bodies of Civil Rights workers James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman had been found. The crowd . . . — Map (db m111081) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 3 — Sit-Ins, Pickets & Boycotts — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
Sit-ins, pickets and boycotts were used to persuade white-owned businesses to hire black employees and integrate lunch counters. The Meridian Action Committee (MAC) was formed in part to carry out these tasks. Kress, Woolworth's and Newberry . . . — Map (db m111052) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 11 — St. John Baptist Church — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
St. John Baptist Church was one of two locations where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was scheduled to speak in 1964, as well as the site of Polly Heidelberg's memorable confrontation of a former Klan member. "Miss Polly" was a mother figure to local . . . — Map (db m111070) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 10 — St. Joseph Catholic Church — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
St. Joseph Catholic Church operated a coeducational school that served young black students from 1910 to 1970. The school also offered adult education classes. Former students include James Chaney and Polly Heidelberg. — Map (db m111069) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 12 — The Impact of Churches — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
Churches were the heart and soul of the Civil Rights movement. New Hope Missionary Baptist, founded in 1868, was Meridian's first black Baptist church. St. Paul United Methodist, founded in 1866, donated land for the Carnegie Branch Library, the . . . — Map (db m111071) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 4 — The Jewish Contribution — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
Jewish merchants contributed greatly to Meridian's growth. The Grand Opera House (MSU Riley Center) and the Threefoot Building stand as evidence of their business success. Although Jews were well accepted in Meridian, their support of Civil Rights . . . — Map (db m111054) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 2 — The Movement — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
The Civil Rights movement in Meridian has a tumultuous history strongly linked to this area of downtown. From the 1871 Race Riot beginning at Con Sheehan Hall to the Freedom Summer activities of workers at the Council of Federated Organizations . . . — Map (db m111051) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 6 — Voter Registration — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
Voter registration was one of the goals of the Civil Rights movement. In the South, poll taxes and literacy exams like the one given here at the Lauderdale County Courthouse were used to prevent African-Americans from registering. These practices . . . — Map (db m111058) HM
Mississippi (Lauderdale County), Meridian — 13 — Wechsler School — Meridian Civil Rights Trail
Built in 1894, Wechsler School was Mississippi's first brick public school building for black children to be constructed with public funds. It was named in honor of Rabbi Judah Weschler, who led the effort to provide public education for black . . . — Map (db m111074) HM

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