Mississippi's Freedom Struggle: 1865–1910

The Mississippi Civil Rights Movement represents a heroic chapter in the centuries-long African American freedom struggle. Local people mounted a courageous campaign to win their civil rights. Mississippians have fought for their rights for generations—each one struggling to form “a more perfect union.” 

From the Gallery

Explore artifacts, photos, and documents featured in the Mississippi Freedom Struggle gallery.  

TIMELINE: 1619-1865

In 1619, the first enslaved Africans arrived in Virginia. Colonists grew wealthy using slave labor to harvest timber, work mines, and grow tobacco, sugarcane, cotton, and other crops. By the start of the Civil War, the US had 4 million enslaved people concentrated in the South, including more than half of Mississippi’s population. The Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in 1865 but did not end oppression.

In Their Own Words

“I was seventeen years old when I was first sold. They put me and my brother up on the auction block at the same time. He brought $1,400 but I don’t remember exactly what they paid for me. Wasn’t that much. . . big strong mens brought more.”

Clara G. Young, Monroe County, WPA Slave Narratives, oral history transcription 

“And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man—when I could get it—and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?”

Sojourner Truth 

Video Tour

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.

Corinth Contraband Camp

Corinth Contraband CampEstablished to accommodate enslaved people who fled to safety during the Civil War

800 North Parkway Street
Corinth, Mississippi 

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Forks of the Road Slave Market

The Forks of the Road Slave Market at NatchezLocation of the second-largest slave market in the Deep South

232 St. Catherine Street
Natchez, Mississippi

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