Mississippi in Black and White, 1865–1941

The road to Reconstruction for the South remained clouded by wounds of war and competing plans for the future. The federal policy called Reconstruction intended to rebuild the Southern states and bring them back into the Union. Black Mississippians emerged from slavery with their first hopeful glimpses of freedom. They eagerly built communities with businesses, schools, and churches. They voted and won election to office. But freedom was fragile. By the turn of the century, Jim Crow laws disenfranchised African Americans, eliminated equality under the law, and ushered in segregation.

From the Gallery

Explore artifacts, photos, and documents featured in the Mississippi in Black and White gallery.

Timeline: 1865–1910

Remember Their Names

From 1882 to 1970 more than 500 men and women were lynched in Mississippi. Five monoliths in this gallery are inscribed with 445 names and alleged "crimes" to bear witness to the violence White people employed to maintain White supremacy at the start of the Jim Crow Era. 

Samuel Gillespie

Male, De Soto, Interfering With An Arrest

Lynched in Clarke County in 1891 for “race prejudice.”

Video Tour

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.

Richard Wright - Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division, LC-USW3-030283-D

Richard Wright

Richard Wright spent a lifetime writing against racism. The son of a Natchez sharecropper and a high school teacher, Wright grew up in Adams County and Jackson, before moving to Chicago in the 1920s. In Uncle Tom’s Children (1938) and Native Son (1940), he gave voice to the experience of American racism. In Black Boy (1945), he wrote about his personal encounters with racism. Wright joined the Communist Party in Chicago, but, finding no answers, discontinued his associated after 10 years. In 1958, his last novel—The Long Dream—returned to the theme of racism. 

Julius Rosenwald - Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division, LC-DIG-ggbain-26613

Julius Rosenwald

When the state refused to adequately fund Black education, the Julius Rosenwald Fund stepped in to offer grants for community-built schools for Black children. The fund stemmed from a collaboration between Tuskegee Institute founder Booker T. Washington and Julius Rosenwald. The fund provided a third of the cost to be matched by state and local sources. Parents donated labor and materials to build schools and helped with maintenance. After 1890, nearly all public funds spent on Black education in Mississippi were spent to match Rosenwald grants. When the Great Depression ended the program in the 1930s, Mississippi ranked second in the country with 632 Rosenwald schools. 

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.

Jacqueline House African American Museum

Celebrates the rich legacy of African Americans in Warren County, Mississippi

1325 Main Street
Vicksburg, Mississipp 

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Alcorn State University

Alcorn State UniversityAlcorn State University is the oldest public historically black land-grant institution in the United States and the second-oldest state-supported institution of higher learning in Mississippi. It was founded in 1871 to educate the descendants of formerly enslaved Mississippians.

1000 Alcorn Avenue
Lorman, Mississippi

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