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.

Florence Mars - Photo courtesy Frank Noone

Florence Mars

Philadelphia resident Florence Mars was shunned for seeking justice. The daughter of a local judge, Mars had long questioned Mississippi customs governing race. At the University of Mississippi in the 1940s, she and classmate Betty Pearson had spoken out for Black laundry workers. In 1955, they were shocked by the Emmett Till trial, where Mars took numerous photographs. Mars ran a Neshoba County stockyard and taught Sunday school. In 1964, she initially found it hard to believe that local Klansmen had killed Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner. She described rumors about a COFO hoax, designed to make Mississippi look bad. But when her questions led Mars to the truth, she contacted FBI investigators. For her role, neighbors boycotted her business, and Mars was forced to sell.

John Roy Lynch - Thomas and Joan Gandy Photographic Collection, Mss. 3778, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collection, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, LA

Representative John Roy Lynch

The child of a slave mother and Irish plantation manager father in Vidalia, Louisiana, John R. Lynch and his mother were sold to a Natchez planter after his father’s death. A self-educated man, Lynch operated a photography studio and became active in the Republican Party after the Civil War. Governor Adelbert Ames appointed him justice of the peace in 1869. The same year, he won election to the state legislature, later serving as Speaker of the House. In 1873, he won election to the US House of Representatives. In Congress, Lynch argued for the Civil Rights Act of 1875, which banned discrimination in public accommodations. He served three terms, overcoming voter intimidation and vote tampering by his Democratic opponents. In 1913, he published Facts of Reconstruction to refute the Lost Cause narrative of the period.

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.

Tallahatchie County Courthouse

Tallahatchie County Courthouse in SumnerLocation of the 1955 Emmett Till murder trial

401 West Court Street
Sumner, Mississippi 

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Bryant's Grocery and Meat Market

Bryan Grocery and Meat MarketLocation where in 1955, Emmett Till allegedly whistled at a white shopkeeper

County Road 518 at County Road 24
Money, Mississippi 

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