Explore the Galleries

Explore the movement that changed the nation. Discover stories of Mississippians like Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Vernon Dahmer, as well as those who traveled many miles to stand beside them, come what may, in the name of equal rights for all.

Explore the Galleries at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

Points of Light

The Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi is full of ordinary men and women who refused to sit silently while their brothers and sisters were denied their basic freedoms. A number of these heroes are featured throughout the museum as Points of Light, shining exemplars of dignity, strength, and perseverance in the face of oppression.

Margaret Walker Alexander

Margaret Walker

In words and deeds, Dr. Margaret Walker inspired Black people to learn their own history and determine their own future. An English professor at Jackson State College from 1949 to 1979, Walker’s breakthrough poem—For My People (1937)—portrayed the pain of Black daily life while celebrating strengths. In 1966, Walker published her signature novel, Jubilee, based on the life of her grandmother. Jubilee tells the African American story from slavery through the Civil War and Reconstruction. In 1968, Walker founded the Institute for Study of History, Life, and Culture of Black People (now the Margaret Walker Center) at Jackson State University, where she served as director. 

Jack Reed Sr. - Courtesy Mississippi Economic Council

Jack Reed Sr.

"I think we all have a responsibility that we do what we think is right, and I thought if I wasn’t going to say it, who was?" Tupelo businessman Jack Reed Sr. was president-elect of the Mississippi Economic Council in 1963. On January 22, he spoke before hundreds of business leaders and legislators in Jackson—only a few months after the integration of the University of Mississippi. Tensions ran high, with state leaders pledging to close all public schools. In the landmark speech, Reed condemned the violence and made the case for education and academic freedom. His audience walked out. Later, letters of support from White Mississippians poured in. Reed went on to become a leading moderate voice and lifelong supporter of public education.

Explore Mississippi

Many of the homes, colleges, and historic sites discussed in this gallery still exist today. Journey beyond the museum walls and explore the places where history happened.

The Piney Woods School

The Piney Woods SchoolFounded by Laurence C. Jones in 1909, it is the largest, independent African American boarding school in the United States.

5096 US Highway 49
Piney Woods, Mississippi

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Fannie Lou Hamer Memorial Garden

Fannie Lou Hamer Memorial GardenDedicated to the memory and legacy of famed civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer

929 Byron Street
Ruleville, Mississippi

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