To commemorate Black History Month, agricultural students from the Kosciusko Attala Career Tech visited the newly constructed Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.
It accompanies the Museum of Mississippi History and they are collectively called the Two Mississippi Museums. As they entered, Instructor Mr. Kenneth Georgia, reminded his students that they should expect an educational, emotional, and inspirational journey that would stage our state as “ground zero” for the Civil Rights Movement.
The museum began its story on the coast where slaves arrive via ship to Mississippi. As students examined a set of shackles and read actual quotes from those enslaved, pupils better understood how this oppression ultimately destroyed the lives of millions.
Students later visited the heart of the museum called “This Little Light of Mine.” In this gallery, students realized the courageous sacrifice of civil rights activists who stood up against bigotry to ignite change. Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer, and James Meredith are just a few of the Mississippi icons recognized for their efforts that have forever altered the atmosphere in our state.
Later, students visited gallery six titled,” Question America.” Here pupils filled the pews in a small country church and watched a film about the murders of Freedom Summer volunteers James Cheney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner. It depicted how people assembled in churches, Masonic Halls, and community centers to turn a grassroots movement in to a national Civil Rights campaign. Charred glass from bombed churches and pieces of burned crosses were on display to illustrate how some in Mississippi resisted change and used harassment, intimidation, and even murder to deter it.
Students concluded their tour at gallery eight titled, “Where Do We Go from Here.” After considering all that was seen and heard, pupils were challenged to plot the future of the Civil Rights Movement. Then they left in writing these thoughts mixed with fears, motivation, and aspiration for all ensuing museum goers.
The Civil Rights Museum is a place everyone, especially all Mississippians, should visit. Along with thousands of artifacts, the museum also utilizes motion activated theaters and audio recordings to tell the story of this very dark time in America’s history. The bondage, oppression, struggle, rising, and empowerment of a people in pursuit of racial equality will never be forgotten. Now Mississippians, from all walks of life, can discuss the progress our state has made since the Civil Rights era, and then devise ways to meet the challenges ahead.
Pictured: Jayla Gibson, Alexis Fleming, T’Caivan Bolton, Indozia Brown, Norbrieya Fleming, Santisja Rockett, Kristin Roby, Ty’Derrius Davis, Hunter Hood, Kendrioun Boatman, Conner Winters, Jakeria Williams, McCarvin Carter, Alyssa Wade, Trey Johnson, Bryanna Keith, Conner Toten, Tytianna Perteet, Shabrea Riley, Jatera Patrick, Katie Wilkerson, Ke’nija Rimmer, Marquisha Winters, Avainna Hutchens, Takeira Clayton, Alexis Powell, D’mechriea Landfair, and Mr. Georgia.