A team from the National Park Service is headed to Mississippi to research Civil Rights sites that could potentially become park designations. MPB's Desare Frazier reports.
The home of Voting Rights Activist Medgar Evers and areas related to the murder of 14-year old Emmett Till in the Delta are two of four Civil Rights sites the National Park Service is considering for park designation. Last year, Congress directed the park service to study Civil Rights sites of national significance in Mississippi. A team will attend six open house forums to explain the process and hear Mississippians opinions on the initiative. Ben West is with the National Park Service.
"The part of the study we're in now is focused on civic engagement, engaging not only the public but interested stakeholders, landowners, people that have both a connection to the story or a connection to the resource or just have a passion for helping us understand the importance of these places," said West.
The other places are Philadelphia where civil right workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were murdered and the Biloxi office of Dr. Gilbert Mason who organized the "wade-ins" to desegregate public beaches. Some of the issues the park service considers are the cost, condition of the sites and what staffing would be needed to manage the areas. Jennifer Baughn with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History organized the forums.
"Any of these sites even if it's just one site brought in would really highlight the Civil Rights significance of a whole variety of sites in Mississippi and it would bring a new level scholarly research to the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi," said Baughn.
Ben West with the National Park Service says once they complete the research, which takes two years, Congress will determine if sites receive park designations. The forums will be held May 7-10. See the list below.
Monday, May 7, 2018, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area
Delta State University
Jacob Conference Center, Ewing Hall
Highway 8 West
Cleveland, Mississippi 38733
Monday, May 7, 2018, 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Tallahatchie County Courthouse
401 West Court Street
Sumner, Mississippi 38957
Tuesday, May 8, 2018, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Two Mississippi Museums Auditorium
222 North Street Jackson, Mississippi 39201
Tuesday, May 8, 2018, 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Medgar Evers Library
4215 Medgar Evers Boulevard Jackson, Mississippi 39213
Wednesday, May 9, 2018, 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
256 West Beacon Street
Philadelphia, Mississippi 39350
Thursday, May 10, 2018, 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Biloxi Visitor Center
1050 Beach Boulevard
Biloxi, Mississippi 39201