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National Park Service Considering Civil Rights Sites in Stat

National Park Service Considering Civil Rights Sites in State
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Vicksburg National Military Park has NPS designation
Courtesy:Nat'l Park Service

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.

The Depot

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